Frequently Asked Questions

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Database Layout for GTIN12 (U.P.C.) Numbers
Question: Should I treat the GTIN12 (U.P.C.) number as a 12 digit
number including the check digit or not?
Answer: There are many different ways to lay out a database.
The treatment of the number is based on database design and application
software. Those people using the GTIN12 (U.P.C.) numbers should be aware that
earlier explanations of the fields of information contained in the U.P.C. number
may convey some misconceptions. According to the latest Industrial/Commercial
Guidelines published by GS1 (formerly the Uniform Code Council  UCC), some new
terminology has emerged that is helpful in understanding database layout and the
use of the numbers.
The base U.P.C. number in the United States is viewed as an 11
digit number, not including the calculated check digit. The number contained in
a GTIN12 (U.P.C.) symbol contains all 12 digits including the calculated check
digit. Throughout the rest of the world, the base GTIN13 (formerly UPC/EAN) is
looked at as a 12 digit number without the calculated check digit and a 13 digit
number is represented in the UPC/EAN symbol. The base shipping container code
(GTIN14) is a 13 digit number and when represented in the Interleaved 2 of 5
Symbol, contains 14 digits including the calculated check digit. See
illustration below.
GTIN12 (U.P.C. Symbol)
Base Number=65432112345 (11 digits);
symbol=654321123452 (12 digits)
GTIN13 (UPC/EAN Symbol)
Base Number=065432112345 (12 digits);
symbol=0654321123452 (13 digits)
GTIN14 (Shipping Container Code  Interleaved 2 of 5)
Base Number=2065432112345 (13 digits);
symbol=20654321123456 (14 digits)
In summation, data files should be laid out to accommodate all
14 characters. The simplest way to use the numbers is to right fill the fields
and fill with zeros in the most significant positions. If this is done, then any
parsing technique can be used to key for the item number, the manufacturers
number, or the package level indicator. Further database considerations are
contained in the Introduction to the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) which can
be downloaded here.
Be sure to go
to
2005 Sunrise for further details about GTIN and the
future implication of expanding the size of EAN/U.P.C.
numbers up to 14 digits.
