The technology of bar coding is based on the recognition of patterns encoded in bars and spaces of defined dimensions. There are numerous methods of encoding information in bar code form, known as symbologies. Code 39 is one such symbology. The rules defining the translation of characters into bar and space patterns and other essential features are known as the symbology specification.
In the past, symbology specifications were developed and published by a number of organizations, resulting in certain instances in conflicting requirements for certain symbologies.
Manufacturers of bar code equipment and users of bar code technology require publicly available standard symbology specifications to which they can refer when developing equipment and application standards.
ISO/IEC 16388:2007 specifies the requirements for the bar code symbology known as Code 39; it specifies Code 39 symbology characteristics, data character encodation, dimensions, tolerances, decoding algorithms and parameters to be defined by applications. It specifies the Symbology Identifier prefix strings for Code 39 symbols.