A barcode scanner goes *beep*

Monday, September 12th, 2005 at 7:54 pm

The barcode scanner that I was inspired to purchase almost two weeks ago arrived today. I spent a bit more that I needed to in order to get one that was laser based (instead of ccd) and one that came with a USB cable to make plugging it into my laptop a lot easier and neater.

In my playing around with it for the past hour I have realised that my assumption that the ISBN of a book was completely included in the barcode is actually incorrect. I found an excellent page that explains that there is actually something called a Bookland EAN barcode. This is an EAN-13 barcode that contains the digits 978, the ISBN excluding the check digit (ie nine digits instead of ten), and finally an EAN-13 check digit.

Looking through the configuration manual that I received with the barcode scanner I found that there is actually an option to have the scanner automatically convert from Bookland EAN to ISBN. However I will not turn that option on as books are only a part of what I plan to catalogue and I will build the conversion into my application…

(Just one of the functions of the perl module Business::ISBN is to do this conversion and there is another module called WWW::Scraper::ISBN that attempts to look up ISBN’s and I should be able to write a new driver for that that searches the Dymocks online catalogue)

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