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This volume is part of the monograph series of the New Liberal Arts Program (1980-1992), a project of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The NLA Program had the goal of assisting in the introduction of quantitative reasoning and concepts of modern technology within liberal education. The Program was based on the conviction that college graduates should have been introduced to both areas if they are to live in the social mainstream and participate in the resolution of policy issues. The Center for Mathematics and Quantitative Education is delighted to make these monographs available.



Marian Visich, Jr.
SUNY at Stony Brook

In 1970, a grocery industry committee was formed to develop a standard code that could be used to identify retail items. The objective was to develop a symbol that could be read in either direction by an optical scanner to automate check out transactions and inventory control. The effort concluded with the selection of the Universal Product Code (UPC) symbol as the industrY standard in April 1973.

Once the UPC proved to be a success in the grocery industry, bar codes were introduced in many other industries as a fast and accurate method of collecting information about products, documents or people. Today bar codes are used in manufacturing plants, on shipping cartons, in hospitals and libraries and on mail to automate the United States Postal System.

When bar codes were being introduced in the 1970's, over 50 different bar codes were developed to satisfy the requirements of various industries, In this monograph, the six most popular bar code symbologies are presented.

Bar code scanning systems are described and various bar code applications are presented. Automation of supermarkets and the United States Postal System is described in detail followed by a discussion of a wide range of other applications—from manufacturing to the feeding of cows.

The math in this volume includes modular arithmetic and a simple error correcting code.