The EAN-13 barcode (originally named European Article Number but now called International Article Number although the abbreviation has not changed) is a 13-digit (12 digits + check digit) barcoding standard. This standard is a superset of the original 12-digit Universal Product Code (UPC) system developed by the United States. The EAN-13 barcode is defined by the GS1 standards organization.
EAN-13 barcodes are used worldwide for marking products that are generally sold at retail. Numbers barcoded with EAN-13 enable product identification, these barcodes are also called Japanese Article Number (JAN) in Japan. All numbers encoded with UPC and EAN are also known as Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). These numbers can also be encoded with other GS1 barcodes. Less common EAN-8 barcodes are also used to mark retail products; but generally these barcodes are reserved for smaller items such as confectionery.
2-digit (EAN 2) and 5-digit (EAN 5) complementary barcodes can also be used to generate barcodes with a total of 14 or 17 data digits. They are often used in periodicals to indicate the individual serial number, or in books to indicate the selling price and food products that are charged by weight. European Article Number EAN
European Article Number EAN Components
There are four components to the GTIN-13 barcode encoding
The GS1 prefix is the first two or three digits and usually indicates which national GS1 Member Organization the manufacturer is registered with (it doesn’t matter where the product is actually manufactured). The EAN-13 symbol encodes a 10-digit ISBN number, while the GS1 prefix will be 978 or 979, 977 for ISSNs.
The company number is four, five, or six digits, depending on the GTIN-13 number needed by the manufacturer to identify the different production lines (in ISBN and ISSN it indicates the language in which the publication is published and is administered by an international organization covering many countries).