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A bar code verification term. The determination of whether any element width, or inter-character gap width, differs from its nominal width by more than the printing tolerance.

The character set described in the American National Standard Code for Information Interchange. ASCII is used for information interchange between data processing systems, communications systems, and associated equipment.

A bar code verification term. In a bar code symbol, the ratio of bar code symbol height to symbol length.

Also referred to as start/stop transmission. Every character transmitted has special bits attached, telling the receiving device when the data begins and ends. Data is transmitted independently with no associated clock. See also Synchronous communication.

The ability of bar code scanning and decoding equipment to recognize more than one symbology.

A bar code verification term. Expressed as a percent. See Reflectance.

A technology that uses white spaces and black bars to represent encoded information. This encoded information can then be read with an optical device that converts the bars and spaces into an electrical signal, which is then decoded into the original characters.

A single group of bars and spaces that represents a specific individual number, letter, punctuation mark, or other symbol. This is the smallest subset of a bar code symbol that contains data.

A device (light pen, laser gun, fixed scanner, etc.) used to read a bar code field.
Bar The darker element of a printed bar code field.

The thickness of an individual bar measured from edge to edge of the same bar.
Bi-directional A bar code symbol capable of being read successfully if scanned in either direction.

Sensor mark usually printed on the reverse (non-printing) side of tag stock, or on the liner (backing paper) of label stock.

Charge Coupled Device. Type of bar code scanner that uses LEDs (not lasers) to flood the bar code with light.

A numeric-only bar code type, in which each character is composed of seven elements: four bars and three spaces. CODABAR is currently used in a variety of applications such as libraries, medicine, and overnight package delivery. Also known as USD-4 code, NW-7, and 2 of 7 code, it was originally developed for retail price-labeling use.

A full alphanumeric bar code type composed of five bars, four spaces, and an inter-character gap for each character. Code 39 is the standard for many industries, including adoption by the U.S. Department of Defense for its LOGMARS specification. Also known as USD-3 code and 3 of 9 code, it is one of three symbologies identified in the ANSI standard MH10.8M-1983.

An extremely compact, multi-row, continuous variable bar code type capable of encoding the full 128 ASCII character set. It is ideally suited to applications where large amounts of data are required in a small space. The code consists of 2 to 8 rows. A row consists of a leading quiet zone, 4 symbol characters encoding 8 code characters, a stop pattern, and a trailing quiet zone. Rows are separated by a one module high separator bar. Each symbol character encodes two characters.

A high density, variable length, full alphanumeric bar code type capable of encoding all 128 ASCII characters. It was designed for complex encoded product identification and is the basis of the UCC-128 marking specification. Code 128 has three subsets of characters. There are 106 printing characters in each set. Therefore, each character can have three different meanings, depending on the character subset used. Each Code 128 character consists of six elements — three bars and three spaces.

Characters Per Inch. A common measurement for bar code density.

As part of a bar code reading system, the electronics that process the signals from the scanner, interpret the signals into meaningful data, and control the interface to other devices.
Depth of Field The distance between the maximum and minimum surface in which a scanner is capable of reading bar codes of a specified X dimension.

The distance between the maximum and minimum surface in which a scanner is capable of reading bar codes of a specified X dimension.

A bar code verification term. The component of reflected light that emanates in all directions from the reflecting surface (as opposed to the focused light of the scanner laser reflected back to the scanner).

Dots Per Inch. Used in comparing relative printing resolution of thermal print heads and laser print engines.

European Article Numbering system. The international standard bar code for retail food packages. The EAN-13 bar code type has 12 data characters, one more data character than the UPC-A code. An EAN-13 symbol contains the same number of bars as the UPC-A but encodes a 13th digit into a parity pattern of the left-hand six digits. This 13th digit, in combination with the 12th digit, represents a country code. The JAN-13 (Japanese Article Numbering system) is a special application of EAN-13.

A single bar or space in a bar code.

Because of the large number of groups that have been independently developing bar code standards, FACT was formed to foster interindustry communications and coordination. An “association of associations,” FACT maintains a database of specifications and data identifiers.

A bar code verification term. The ratio of the number of successful reads to the number of attempts. Commonly expressed as a percentage. Abbreviated as FRR.

A visible light or laser scanner that requires a more exact positioning of a bar code than a moving beam scanner.

Function (FNC) codes define instructions for a bar code reader decoding Code 128 bar codes. FNC 1, for example, is a required component of the UCC-128 specification. FNC 2 tells the reader to store the data read and transmit it with the next symbol. FNC 3 is reserved for code reader initializing and other reader functions. FNC 4 is reserved for future use.

The bars that are at both ends and center of a UPC and EAN bar code type. They provide reference points for reading, serving a function similar to start/stop codes.

A helium neon laser commonly used in bar code scanners.

A bar code type presented in such a manner that its overall length dimension is parallel to the horizon. The bars are presented in an array which looks like a picket fence.

Used in some hand laser scanners to project a light beam.

The band of light wavelengths too long to be seen by the human eye. Used in access control and security applications where bar code fields must not be visible by human eye — only to an infrared scanner.

A high density, self-checking, continuous numeric bar code type in which each character is composed of five elements: five bars or five spaces. Of the five elements, two are wide and three are narrow. The bar code is formed by interleaving characters formed with all spaces into characters formed with all bars. Total number of digits must be even.

A bar code field printed in a rotation perpendicular to the horizon so that the individual bars appear as rungs on a ladder. Also referred to as a vertical bar code.

Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A focused light source (as opposed to LEDs used in wands and CCD readers) used in fixed, moving beam, and handheld scanners.

Light-emitting diode. The light source often used in light pens.

Also known as a wand. A scanning device which is used as a hand held bar code reader. Requires direct contact with the printed bar code field.

Logistics of Marking and Reading symbols. A Department of Defense marking specification.
mil One one-thousandth of an inch (0.001″). Unit of measurement used in bar code specifications.

A condition which occurs when the data output of a reader/decoder does not agree with the data encoded in the bar code field.

The width of the narrow bars in a bar code.

A device where scanning is achieved by mechanically moving a light beam through the bars of a bar code field.

Unit of measure used to define the wavelength of light.

A bar code verification term. The net data density of a linear bar code symbol is determined by dividing the number of characters in the symbol by the overall symbol length, measured from the leading edge of the start code to the trailing edge.

The exact (or ideal) intended value for a specified parameter. Tolerances are specified as positive and negative deviations from this value.

Optical Character Recognition. Technology for machine reading of human readable text.

The minimum distance a bar code can be away from a scanner and still be read.

Two possible bar code field orientations are horizontal with vertical bars and spaces (picket fence) and vertical with horizontal bars and spaces (ladder).

The bars and spaces representing the start, stop, function codes and check characters required by some symbologies. These increase the length of the bar code but do not affect the message content.

A bar code verification term. Print contrast signal. A measurement of the ratio of the reflectivity between the bars and spaces of a bar code field, commonly expressed in percent.

A bar code type whose length is printed horizontally so that the bars are presented in an array which looks like a picket fence.

Price Look-Up. In a retail POS (Point Of Sale) system, the UPC bar code field is a key field in a price file that when scanned, retrieves a price for the encoded item.

A bar code symbology used primarily by the U.S. Postal Service for mail sorting. All bars and spaces are the same width. ZIP Code information is encoded into the particular arrangement of tall and short bars.

A bar code verification term. The measure of compliance of a bar code symbol to the requirements of dimensional tolerance, edge roughness, spots, voids, reflectance, PCS, quiet zone, and encoding.

A clear space, containing no machine readable marks, which precedes the start character of a bar code field and follows the stop characters. Sometimes called the “clear area.”

A bar code verification term. The ratio of the number of successful reads to the total number of attempts.

A bar code verification term. The ratio of the amount of light which is reflected back from the white spaces of a bar code during scanning to the amount of light reflected under similar illumination conditions.

The narrowest element dimension which can be recognized by a particular scanning device or printed with a particular device or method.

A plastic tape with several layers of material, one of which is thermal wax, that when melted, produces the visible marks on the labels installed on a thermal transfer printer.

An electro/optical device that converts the bars and spaces of a bar code field into electrical signals.

The rate of occurrence of incorrect characters.

Stock Keeping Units. In a distribution/retail environment, a generic term for item number.

The thickness of a space measured from the edge closest to the symbol start character to the trailing edge of the same space.

A bar code verification term. The variation in sensitivity of a test surface to light of different wavelengths.

Maxicode, 16K and Code 49 are examples where a long bar code field is broken into sections and “stacked” one upon the other, resulting in codes that are extremely compact.

A special bar code character that provides the scanner with start and stop reading instructions as well as scanning direction indicator.

The distance between the outside edges of the quiet zones on the two ends of a bar code field.

Bar code type.

A printing method where dots are selectively heated and cooled and dragged upon heat-sensitive paper. The paper turns dark in the heated areas.

A printing method like thermal direct except a onetime ribbon is used and common paper is used as a supply. This eliminates the problems of fading or changing color inherent in thermal direct printing.

Universal Product Code. The standard bar code type for retail products in the United States.

A fixed length, numeric, continuous bar code type used primarily in the retail industry for labeling packages. The UPC-A symbol encodes a number system character, 10 digits of data, and a Mod 10 check digit for error correction.

A UPC symbol encoding six digits of data in an arrangement that occupies less area than a UPC-A symbol. The UPC-E bar code type is a shortened version of the UPC-A bar code type in which zeroes are suppressed, resulting in codes that require less printing space. Used for labeling small items.

Uniform Product Carton Code, a standard administered by the UCC.

A device that makes measurements of the bars, spaces, quiet zones and optical characteristics of a bar code field to determine if the code meets the requirements of a specification or standard.

A bar code field printed in a rotation perpendicular to the horizon so that the individual bars appear as rungs on a ladder.

Used in some hand laser scanners to project a beam of light visible to the human eye, simplifying the scanning process.

A bar code verification term. An undesirable absence of ink in a bar.

A device that plugs in between a keyboard and a terminal or PC. Allows data to be entered either by the keyboard or an attached scanner.

The width of the narrow bars and spaces in a bar code type; usually measured in mils.

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