Global Trade Item Number GTIN

Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is an identifier intended for trade items. They are identifiers. Retailers use them to look up item or merchandise information within a database. This is done quickly by scanning the barcode on the product. The barcode brings up that unique GTIN. 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. Book barcodes issued as a full thirteen digits starting with 978. Some old ISBN numbers are just 10 digits. In those case,  978 is added at the start. Then the last check digit is recalculated. Magazine barcodes are based on the 8 digit ISSN number allocated and then have 977 added at the start.

Each item sold (SKU) item is given its own GTIN. This helps retailers identify the product.  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.

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.

What is a GTIN?

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

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)