EAN is a standardised, machine-readable form of barcode (8, 13, or 14 digits) that is used to identify articles and other items throughout Europe. In Germany, the first two symbols of the most commonly used 13-digit code show the country of origin. The next five digits are the federal operational registration number (bbn). The following five digits encode the individual article number of the manufacturer. The last digit is a check digit. Barcode scanner technology is based on the use of the EAN code, while the latter also facilitates electronic communication.