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GS1 Barcode Via Digital Link Initiative

The GS1 system was originally designed in the early 1970s and has evolved to serve the needs of supply chains and is most relevant from manufacturer to checkout. In today’s connected world, where consumers and business partners’ expectations are informed by everyday experiences online, GS1 needs to make a step change into the future. As a result of this standard, it is possible to represent GS1 identification keys consistently within Web addresses as well as within barcodes containing Web addresses, such that a single identification approach can support both product identification for supply chain applications and a link to online material for consumer and business partner interactions.

There are several elements that make up the GS1 Digital Link ecosystem, for example:

  • World Wide Web addresses that follow a precisely-defined structure to include GS1 element strings.
  • Scanners that are programmed to extract those GS1 element strings and pass them on in exactly the same way as they do now so that no changes to existing backend software are needed.
  • Applications that can directly extract those Web addresses when included in a data carrier.
  • Web servers programmed to redirect requests to relevant sources of information wherever they may be (these are known as resolvers as they ‘resolve’ GS1 identifiers).
  • Web servers programmed such that when processing a URL, irrespective of its structure, the response conforms to the GS1 Digital Link standard.

The scope of the work accommodates all Class 1 and Class 2 GS1 Keys and Key qualifiers (e.g., serial number, batch number, consumer product variant) and other relevant attributes as the same technologies are equally applicable to SSCCs, GLNs, GIAIs, GRAIs, GSRNs etc. While the syntax can support Class 2 Keys, it is up to the Class 2 Issuing Agencies to determine whether it’s fit for their use. For Class 3 GS1 Keys, GS1 welcomes bilateral discussions with Issuing Agencies to see where alignment is possible. This GS1 standard references a number of third-party standards from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

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