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Barcode Education » Datastrip Code
Datastrip Code was originally called Softstrip and was developed by Softstrip Systems. It is the oldest of the two dimensional symbologies. This proprietary code is now owned by Datastrip Inc. It is a patented encoding and scanning system that allows, data, graphics and even digitized sound to be printed on plain paper in a highly condensed format and read error-free into a computer.

Datastrip's main components are printed graphic patterns (the Datastrip) and electro-optical readers. A Datastrip Code consists of a matrix pattern, comprising very small, rectangular black and white areas (or DiBits). Markers down the side and across the top of the strip (start line, checkerboard and rack) contain alignment information for the Datastrip Code readers and ensure data integrity. Header information contains details about the data stored on the strip: file name, number of bytes, density of the data strip, etc. The Datastrip encoding method, which includes parity bits on each encoded line, offers excellent reliability and error correction capabilities.

Data strips are typically up to 5/8 inch wide and up to 9 inches long. Data density can vary from 150 to 1,000 bytes per square inch, depending upon the printing technology used to produce the strips. Datastrip Code can be successfully produced by most types of dot matrix, laser (including very high speed centralized laser printers), ink jet or thermal printers. Datastrip Code can be reproduced on most types of paper (including newsprint) and plastic, using conventional printing processes, ranging from office photocopiers (for lower density strips) to high speed web presses. Low density strips (up to 1,100 bytes per 9-inch strip) may be produced on most dot matrix printers. Strips containing up to 3,500 bytes can be produced using laser printing technologies. Very high density strips (up to 4,800 bytes) require more sophisticated production methods using photographic techniques.

Datastrip Code must be read by special readers from Datastrip, Inc. and the reader must be in contact with the code. Originally this code was promoted as a way to publish software in books and magazines in a machine-readable form. The code is now of most interest for printing information on ID cards.

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