What is International Article Number (EAN)?
An EAN-13 barcode (originally European Article Number, but now renamed International Article Number even though the abbreviation EAN has been retained) is a 13 digit (12 + check digit) barcoding standard which is a superset of the original 12-digit Universal Product Code (UPC) system developed in the United States. The EAN-13 barcode is defined by the standards organization GS1.
The EAN-13 barcodes are used worldwide for marking products often sold at retail point of sale. The numbers encoded in EAN-13 bar codes are product identification numbers, which are also called Japanese Article Number (JAN) in Japan. All the numbers encoded in UPC and EAN barcodes are known as Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN), and they can be encoded in other GS1 barcodes.
GTIN-13 number encoded in EAN-13 barcode. First digit is always placed outside the symbol; additionally a right quiet zone indicator (>) is used to indicate Quiet Zones that are necessary for barcode scanners to work properly.
Structure of an EAN number
An EAN-13 number consists of four areas: (1) The number System; (2)The manufacturer code; (3) the product code; (4)The check digit. Normally the number system digit is printed to the left of the barcode, and the check digit to the right. The manufacturer and product codes are printed just below the barcode, separated by the guard bar.