Barcode Scanning Tips

If you ever have trouble scanning your comics into ComicBase, here’s a couple of tips which get you back and bleeping in no time:

1.Get in close. Chances are, you’re not using the $2,500 laser scanner from the Home Depot checkout line which can be used to scan plywood from six feet away. Get the scanner in close to what you’re scanning—on contact scanners like the Manhattan scanner we sell, you should actually put the scanner right on top of the book you’re scanning.

2. Make sure you’re getting the whole barcode—particularly the supplemental. The “supplemental” is the two or five shorter bars at the right of most comics’ barcodes which designate critical information like the issue number or printing. Unfortunately, as far the barcode standard is concerned, it’s still a valid barcode even without this supplemental, so unless you told it otherwise, your barcode scanner will happily grab the first thing it sees—whether it “saw” the supplemental or not.

The quick setup guide we include with our Manhattan scanner instructs your scanner to keep trying until it gets the full code, plus supplemental. If you’re using this scanner, make sure you set it up by scanning this five-step sheet.

I should note that while requiring the supplemental prevents misscans due to missing supplementals (which otherwise can run as high as 30%), it does prevent the rare barcode that lacks a supplemental from scanning. In these cases, it’s usually easiest to just punch in the code by hand, although you can certainly reconfigure your scanner to “autodiscriminate supplementals” if you ever find yourself faced with a large stack of such comics.

3. Test your scanner with Notepad. If you ever doubt that you’re getting the code scanned in correctly, open up Notepad or a word processor and try scanning a comic. Make sure you see every one of the human-readable digits that appear, and no extra digits anywhere in the code. If you’re not getting the whole code transmitted properly, reset your scanner to its default configuration, then re-configure it using either the quick setup sheet (if you’re using the Manhattan scanner we sell) or your scanner’s configuration guide if you’re using a different scanner.

4. See if the code in question is in ComicBase. If your scanner’s set up properly, but ComicBase doesn’t recognize it, it’s possible we don’t have that code yet. If so, you can do both us and your fellow ComicBase users a favor by entering the code in yourself, then right-clicking on that issue and choosing “Submit New or Corrected Data” to send us that information so we can include it in the next update.