Each software package has its own "rules and regulations" governing the bar codes that will work with it. Each package may
require a specific symbology, a special designator (numeric or alpha character) for patron or item label, a fixed or flexible total
number of characters, as well as a required Check Digit.
There are three basic symbologies that most software packages support: Codabar, Code 39 (Code 3 of 9), and Interleaved 2 of 5.
Your software determines which symbology you need.
Most software packages use a pre-designated numerical or alpha character to verify that an item (book, periodical, video, etc.)
doesn’t get accidentally used as a patron or student number.
Always request a bar code sample to verify the quality. Different types of production of bar codes will vary in quality, and quality is
essential to a good "read." A bar code is read when a beam or spot of light from a scanner is passed over the bars. The black bars
absorb the light and the spaces reflect the light back to the scanner. The mathematical differences in reflection are translated into
electrical signals. These signals are then converted into binary ones and zeros, which form various combinations equaling letters
and numbers. Some lower line production methods may produce voids in the inked area (bars) that may be misinterpreted as a
space by the scanner, or the ink may "overspray" into the space area between the bars and may also cause a misread.
NEVER apply hand lotion before applying bar codes. Depending on the print quality of the bar code and the substrate material of
the label, hand lotion may cause ink to smear. Lotion may also cause the protector (if used) not to adhere properly to the label or
even make grease spots on the label that can interfere with readability.
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