A barcode is an automatic identification technology which encodes information into an array of varying width parallel bars and spaces. This is also called the Universal Product Code or UPC. It is a series of short black lines of varied thickness usually accompanied by alphanumeric digits. A laser reader or scanner can translate the barcodes into the corresponding alphanumeric digits which are used to uniquely identify a piece of property. This Property Identification Number (PIN) is used as the basis for the inventory. When an item is acquired, a label with a unique barcode must be affixed. Until the item is sold, donated, or excessed, the label must remain attached.
The Barcode (concentric rings) was pattened in 1949 by Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver.
The first item to be sold with a barcode was a packet of Wringley's chewing gum, On June 26, 1974 at the Marsh Supermarket, Troy, Ohio, USA.