Global Trade Item Number GTIN

Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is an identifier intended for trade items. These identifiers are used to look up item or merchandise information within a data source, repository or databases, most often by entering the number through scanning a barcode. The individuality and universality of the GTIN identifier is useful in determining which product in one database corresponds to another product in another database, especially across inter-organizational boundaries.

All books and magazine publications sold internationally have GTIN-13 barcodes. The book barcodes are either constructed by prefixing the old ISBN 10 digit number with 978, and then recalculating the last check digit, or more recently using a GTIN issued as a full thirteen digits starting with 978.

Each sort of trade item is given its own GTIN – using this, products or services may be priced, ordered, sold or invoiced at any point in the manufacturing and supply chain. This includes individual trade items as well as all of their different packaging configurations.

The term Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) defines a family of GS1 / EAN / UCC international data arrangements that employ 14 digits and can be encrypted into various types of data carriers or barcodes. At the moment, GTINs are used only within bar codes, but they could also easily be used in other many data carriers including radio frequency identification.

The GTIN is only a convenient term and does not impact any existing international standards, nor does it place any additional requirements on scanning software or hardware. For North American companies, the UPC is an existing form of the GTIN. For the rest of the world, EAN8 and EAN13 barcode numbers are a form of GTIN.

Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) may be used by a business to uniquely identify all of their trade items – ie products or services that are priced, ordered or invoiced at any point in the supply chain.

GTINs are used to unequivocally identify trade items online – for example in collections, in electronic messages such as purchase orders and invoices, and implanted in web pages to augment use by search engines and other information for consumers.

There are four GTIN formats, suited for use with ITF14 barcodes, as well as EAN13, EAN8 and UPC-A barcodes. To generate the uniform 14-digit format, leading zeroes need to be added to make them 14 digits.


Example of a GTIN-14 (in ITF-14 Format)