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Existing UPC

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Return to **BarcodeProcedures**:<br>
One of the most common questions I receive has to do with the existing UPC or
EAN barcodes that are on some bottles. You can indeed
[ scan a UPC/EAN onto this screen]
to find/add a wine without touching the keyboard. When it works this is a nice
time saver. However, as of September, 2011, January, 2012, the CellarTracker
database has 1,120,000 1,208,184 wines, the largest wine database in the world.
For most users ~99% of their wine is already represented. Of these 1.1 1.2
million wines, users have entered ~95,000 ~103,000 UPC/EAN codes. So while
scanning a UPC may save you a few keystrokes, it is almost always the case that
typing one or two keywords from the label will find you your wine. My advice is
to put down the scanner and pick up the keyboard...
Alas, UPC/EAN is not a panacea (there are other products which pretend that it 
is), as there are significant issues with their application in the wine 
  * **Many wines do not have UPC/EAN codes:** Many older releases do not have 
codes, and many newer releases from smaller wineries do not have codes.
  * **The same wine can have many barcodes:** For foreign wines, each importer 
can set their own code. Also, different sizes, different releases of 
non-vintage wines, all can have different codes. These are all valid reasons.
  * **The same UPC/EAN can be used for many wines:** In some cases the 
producers and importers are sloppy (unintentionally or otherwise) about 
ensuring that each new wine gets its own code. Unfortunately this means that a 
Cabernet and a Merlot from the same producer, despite being separate wines, may 
bear the same code. More likely, vintage variations are often glossed over.
All this to say that UPC/EAN is not living up to its potential when it comes to 
By the way, the recommended CipherLab scanners do have one configuration issue 
that is easily addressed. By default the Cipherlab scanners are set to convert 
12-digit UPC (US-only) to 13-digit EAN codes by appending a leading 0. However 
this can cause mis-recognition on CellarTracker. The Cipherlab website has the 
configuration manual for all of their handheld scanners.  Print out the pages 
and do the following:
  1. Scan <Enter Setup>
  1. Locate the UPC-A settings in your manual, under Convert to EAN-13 Scan 
  1. Scan <Update>
This will remove your leading 0 when dealing with UPC barcodes.  As for the 
Cipherlab manuals, they are a bit technical because CipherLab is actually an 
OEM manufacturer.<br>

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Edited January 19, 2012 (hide diff)