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GS1 Digital Link

GS1 Digital Link is the standardised method for encoding identifiers like GS1 GTINs, GLNs and SSCCs, in a way that achieves two goals. These GS1 Identifiers can then be:

  • encoded in a barcode and scanned.
  • connected to online information.

The standard can be used in different ways depending on the business requirements arising from different use cases.

For example, in healthcare, GS1 identifiers are usually encoded in a GS1 DataMatrix and converted into a GS1 Digital Link URI within the scanning software, usually a mobile phone app. In other cases the app connects to a resolver which returns the link types associated with the specific GTIN. The Digital Link URI is not encoded in a 2D barcode in healthcare applications.

In retail, GS1 Digital Link is an important part of industry’s global migration to 2D barcodes where the vision is that each product will have a single multipurpose 2D barcode that can be used at the retail point-of-sale, and to access digital content such as certifications, instructions for use, product information, traceability information and more.

Use of the GS1 Digital Link standard means that identifiers such as the GTIN are now a gateway to information that strengthens brand loyalty, improves supply chain traceability information, and enables business partner APIs, patient safety information and more.

Using the GS1 standard means you’re not only providing a URL for people to scan, you’re also providing GS1 identifiers – the same identifiers relied upon throughout industry today – and leveraging open global standards. The brand owner can link from the GS1 Digital Link URI to any number of digital information sources, all from one barcode symbol, saving space and improving efficiency. Digital content can be continually updated by a brand owner, without the need to change the QR Code with GS1 Digital Link URI on-pack, meaning packaging or artwork does not need to be changed for access to things like new promotions or usage ideas. Meanwhile, retailers, supply chain partners, and third-party applications, like diet and health apps, can still make use of the barcode as an entry point to look up their own information in their IT systems, exactly as they do today.

In Healthcare, scanning the existing barcode already on the product or pack used for compliance with regulatory requirements with a mobile device app that creates the GS1 Digital Link URI or one that connects to a GS1 Conformant Resolver which returns the link types helps reinforce the One-Product One-barcode goal.

Meaning that manufacturers, distributors and hospitals use the linear GS1 barcode or GS1 DataMatrix already on the product or pack yet, now with a GS1 Conformant resolver or GS1 Digital Link standard they can access digital information online about the product. The Digital Link URI is not encoded in a 2D barcode in healthcare applications.

Current Version

GS1 Digital Link Standard:

URI syntax 1.5.0 (Jun 2024)

See also GS1-Conformant resolver 1.0.0 (Feb 2024)

See version 1.1.3 for anything not covered in the published URI syntax or GS1-Conformant resolver standards.

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