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ID Related Glossary Terms

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A.N.S.I.
American National Standards Institute. An organization whose mission is to develop and provide acceptable industry-wide product standards for the USA.
Access Control
Allowing only selected persons to enter a building or area, or have access to information in computers or other devices. Photo identification cards provide a simple, secure form of access control, allowing one to verify that the person presenting an identification card is the true owner. Access control can be automated by incorporating magnetic stripes, barcodes or other features that permit access control devices to read cards without human assistance.
Accuracy
A barcode verification term. The determination of whether any element width, or inter character gap width, differs from its nominal width by more than the printing tolerance.
Active Tag
An RFID tag with a transmitter that sends data to a reader, rather than reflecting back a signal. Most active tags have their own power source, normally a battery.
Adhesive-Back Cards
A 10 to 30 mil card with an adhesive back used to adhere a photo ID or barcode to an existing access control card. These removable cards allow for the re-use of technology cards to which they may be attached. AKA Sticky-Back Cards.
Air Interface Protocol
The rules that control how RFID readers and tags communicate.
All-photo ID Card
A photo identification card with portrait and data together on a single piece of film.
Antenna
A conductive element in an RFID reader or tag that enables the sending and receiving of data.
Anti-collision
Term for methods to prevent radio waves from multiple devices interfering with each other. Anti-collision methods provide for a reader to read multiple RFID tags nearly simultaneously.
ASCII
The character set described in the American National Standard Code for Information Interchange. ASCII is used for information interchange between data processing systems, communications systems, and associated equipment.
Aspect Ratio
A barcode verification term. In a barcode symbol, the ratio of barcode symbol height to symbol length.
Auto-ID (Automatic Identification)
Various methods that allow machines to identify objects independent of human intervention. Auto-ID technologies include barcodes, voice recognition, retinal scans and RFID.
Bar Seal
Narrow welded area near one edge of laminate designed to temporarily hold the top and bottom layers of the laminate together prior to the laminating process.
Bar Width
The thickness of an individual bar measured from edge to edge of the same bar.
Barcode
An array of machine-readable rectangular bars and spaces arranged in a specific way to represent letters, numbers and other human-readable symbols. Common barcode types: Codabar, Interleaved 2 of 5, Code 128, Code 39, DataMatrix and PDF417.
Barcode Character
A single group of bars and spaces that represents a specific individual number, letter, punctuation mark, or other symbol. This is the smallest subset of a barcode symbol that contains data.
Barcode Reader
A device (light pen, laser gun, fixed scanner, etc.) used to read a barcode field.
Battery-assisted Passive Tag
"Semi-passive" RFID tags with an onboard power source to run the circuitry, but which communicate with a reader using the same backscatter technique as passive tags.
Bi-directional
A barcode symbol capable of being read successfully if scanned in either direction.
Biometrics
Technology that allows identification through something about you, such as; retinal or iris pattern, face recognition, fingerprint, hand geometry, signature dynamics, voice authentication - to guard against theft.
Butterfly Laminate or Pouch
A laminating pouch cut from one piece of plastic and scored so it can be folded to form the pouch. Used with teslin inserts to make an edge-to-edge card.
BYOD (bring your own device) Term to describe the policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned mobile devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smart phones, to their place of work and utilize those devices to access privileged company information and applications. Term is used to describe the same practice applied to students using their devices in educational settings, primarily higher education.
Carrier
A reusable, folded piece of heavy paper often with a waxed coating. Used to protect ID cards during lamination. Several carriers are provided with each lot of laminates purchased.
Codabar
Numeric only type of linear barcode often used in library systems or blood banks.
Code 128
Alpha-numeric type of linear barcode with excellent density, high reliability and is in world-wide use.
Code 39
Alpha-numeric type of linear barcode and is utilized in a wide array of applications.
Coercivity
Characteristic of a magnetic stripe indicating the power of the magnetic field required to encode the card. Cards are available in low and high coercivity versions.
Collision
Interference between more than one tag or reader.
Color Coding
Changing the color of a portrait background, border, or laminate material to differentiate groups of identification card holders. For example, cards for employees allowed in a high-security area may have blue borders or backgrounds, while all other employee cards have red borders or backgrounds.
Combi Card
Also known as a dual-interface card, this card offers one chip that is both contact and contactless.
Composite ID
Identification card made up of a separate portrait and data area, which are combined in the laminating process (also called "cut-and-paste").
Contact Cards
Type of smart card that has a gold chip embedded in the card. This kind of card requires insertion into a smart card reader and a direct connection with the physical contact points on the card to transmit data. Contact cards are used frequently in banking, communications and health care.
Contactless Cards
Have an antenna coil and a chip embedded in the card. This type of card must pass within range of a smart card reader.
Covert
Level two of card security. This second line of defense is easily verifiable with simple, inexpensive tests such as viewing an ID badge under a black light or with a magnifying glass. Common level two or covert security features are: Watermark Technology, Ultraviolet Ink and Microtext.
CPI
Characters Per Inch. A common measurement for barcode density.
CR100
A standard identification card size of 3.88 x 2.63 inches (98.5 mm x 67 mm). Also knows as military size.
CR79
A standard identification card size of 3.303 x 2.051 inches (83.9 mm x 51 mm). Also know as sub-credit card size.
CR80
A standard identification card size of 3.375 x 2.125 inches (85.6 mm x 54 mm). Also know as credit card size.
CR90
A standard identification card size of 3.63 x 2.37 inches (92 mm x 60 mm). Also known as drivers license size.
Data Card
The portion of the identification card containing the company name, cardholder's name and other printed or graphic information. In the ID-4 System, the data card is inserted in the camera and photographically reproduced on the same sheet of film with the cardholder's portrait for added security.
DataMatrix
Two-Dimensional barcode that can hold large amounts of data, especially suited for making very small codes.
Datastrip's 2D Barcode
The only two-dimensional barcode technology capable of storing two biometric templates, a digitized photo and encrypted biographical information in a small footprint, roughly the size of a magnetic stripe.
dBase
A popular database management system produced by Ashton Tate Corporation. The dBase format for storing data has become a de facto standard and is supported by nearly all database management and spreadsheet systems.
Debit Card
A card with value encoded on the magnetic stripe, which is re-encoded with a lower value after use.
Die Cutter
A component of an identification system that trims the photograph to a predetermined size. May be manually or electrically operated.
Digital Imaging
Scanning or otherwise capturing images which may be subsequently edited, filed, displayed or printed on a plastic card.
Direct-to-Card (DTC) Printing
The Direct-to-Card printing process prints digital images directly onto any plastic card with a smooth, clean, glossy PVC surface.
Dumb Reader
An RFID reader that passes data on to other systems or smart readers but cannot itself filter data, execute commands and perform other functions. Compare with an intelligent reader.
Dye Sublimation
An imaging method for transferring measured quantities of printer ribbon dye onto a plastic card. Because of the high resolution of the print head (300 dpi), near-photographic quality results.
E-Card
Any card that incorporates advanced technology - smart cards, proximity cards, laser cards and magnetic stripe cards.
Edge-to-Edge
Refers to the maximum printable area on a card. Printers with edge-to-edge printing capability can print just to the edge of a card resulting in printed cards with virtually no border.
EMI (Electromagnetic Interference)
Interference caused by radiation emitted by electrical circuits during normal operation. Can be caused by cell phones, laptop computers or other transmitters that emit signals which can interfere with other circuits.
Emboss
To produce raised letters and numbers on a PVC card, e.g., the account number and name of the person, by mechanical pressure from the backside of the card.
Encoding
The act of "writing" information on magnetic stripes or smart card chips.
Environmental Factors
External conditions that can affect or interfere with UHF products. e.g. the relative proximity of metal, liquids, significant reader activity, other RF “noise,” etc. These factors require process controls in terms of tag and reader placement. Readers also need proper adjustment for a given environment.
EPC (Electronic Product Code)
A serial number containing information that identifies the manufacturer, product category and item.
Ethernet Network Connectivity
USB allows a printer to be connected and used by a single PC. Ethernet is a local area network (LAN) connection allowing a single printer to be used by multiple PCs on the same network.
FACT (Federation of Automated Coding Technologies)
Because of the large number of groups that have been independently developing barcode standards, FACT was formed to foster inter-industry communications and coordination. An "association of associations," FACT maintains a database of specifications and data identifiers.
Firmware
Computer programming instructions stored permanently in read-only memory. Most Barcode and RFID readers can be updated to accommodate new protocols by changing the firmware.
First Read Rate
A barcode verification term. The ratio of the number of successful reads to the number of attempts. Commonly expressed as a percentage. Abbreviated as FRR.
Fixed Beam Scanner
A visible light or laser scanner that requires a more exact positioning of a barcode than a moving beam scanner.
Flap
Top layer of a laminate material, which is lifted to insert the photograph prior to laminating.
Forensic
The most secure security feature available. Kept secret, the only way for this type of card to be verified is with a specialized optical scanning device.
Form Factor
Essentially the material, format and shape of the RFID tag. Form factors include adhesive labels, plastic cards and key fobs.
Frictionless Term used to describe security solutions that do not restrict users, but rather streamline the solutions making them more user friendly. For instance, rather than users carrying separate cards, keys and fobs that all perform different functions, a frictionless solution will embed the various functionality into one device, such as an NFC (near field communication) enabled smart phone or other mobile device.
GPS (Global Positioning System)
Satellite navigation system used for determining the user's precise location and providing an accurate time reference worldwide.
Graphics Quality Cards
These cards have a polished surface designed to work in PVC card printers and are made to allow inks to adhere to the card surface. They go through a cleaning process, are visually inspected and are typically shrink-wrapped for protection.
Guilloche Pattern
Tiny complex design of finely printed curved and interwoven lines that cannot be duplicated or reproduced on desktop printers, with thermo or dye-sub methods, can be printed on the card before personalization or be part of the overlaminate.
HF (High Frequency)
Radio waves, from 3 MHz to 30 MHz. RFID tags designed for the HF range typically operate at 13.56MHz.
Hologram
A unique photographic preprint and overlay that provides a three-dimensional effect on a flat surface. Used for security and aesthetic purposes on cards.
Holographic Destructible Sticker
Holographic destructible sticker which would be applied to your ID card after the personalization process. The permanent adhesive used makes it quite evident when the ID badge has been tampered with.
Holographic Foil
A foil that refracts light and can be embedded into PVC card stock or applied on the surface.
Hybrid (semi-active) RFID Tag
Tag that has a small internal power supply that is triggered by a reader. After interrogation, the tag goes back to being passive.
Hybrid/Twin Cards
Type of smart card that has two chips embedded in it, a contactless chip and a contact chip. The two chips are not connected to each other. Instead, one chip serves the consumer needs and the other the card issuer needs.
Infrared
The band of light wavelengths too long to be seen by the human eye. Used in access control and security applications where barcode fields must not be visible to the human eye -- only to an infrared scanner.
Intelligent Reader
RFID reader with some processing, filtering and command execution ability, similar to that of a PC.
Interleaved 2 of 5
Numeric only barcode type that is compact and widely used.
Internal Print Server
An Ethernet device that manages print requests from multiple PCs to a printer.

International Organization for Standardization/ISO

An organization whose mission is to develop and provide acceptable industry-wide product standards for international use.
Interrogator
Another name for a reader because it "interrogates" the tag for data.
ISO/IEC
International Organization for Standardization. International organization of 146 countries setting individual national standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies.
Kill Command
A code within the RFID tag that gets activated once and then permanently disables the tag. Limits tracking of purchased items for privacy protection.
Laminate
Using adhesive to join two or more layers. Refers to the process used for encapsulating the identification photograph and data in a protective outer sheath. The term laminate also refers to the material used for laminating.
Laser
Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A focused light source (as opposed to LEDs used in wands and CCD readers) used in fixed, moving beam, and handheld scanners.
LCD Display
Liquid Crystal Display. Shows the current mode of operation of the printer, and communicates an error using text.
Lead Time
The period of time allowed between placing a special order for identification supplies and their shipment. Special orders often require the design and procurement of specialized dies and equipment; therefore the time required to fill the order is generally longer than for stock items.
LED
Light-emitting diode. The light source often used in light pens.
LF (Low Frequency)
RFID tags designed for the LF range generally operate at 125 kHz or 134 kHz.
Light Pen
Also known as a wand. A scanning device which is used as a hand held barcode reader. Requires direct contact with the printed barcode field.
Logo
The individualized graphic symbol used by companies and other organizations to help establish their identity on packaging, signs, products, etc. Logos can be incorporated into virtually all identification cards.
Magnetic (Mag) Stripe
Mag stripe refers to the black or brown magnetic stripe on a card. The stripe is made of magnetic particles of resin. The resin particle material determines the coercivity of the stripe; the higher the coercivity, the harder it is to encode - and erase - information from the stripe. Magnetic stripes are often used in applications for access control, time and attendance, lunch programs, library cards, and more.
Memory Cards
A memory chip is similar to a small floppy disk. This type of chip primarily stores information, access control, or a value that can be "spent".
Microprocessor Cards
A microprocessor chip can add, delete, change, and update information. It is a miniature computer with an input/output port, operating system and hard disk.
Microtext
With the human eye, microtext appears as a solid straight or curved line, but under magnification the text becomes apparent. Since it can not be reproduced utilizing a direct-to-card printer, it is a great way to incorporate a security level into any badge design.
Microwave
High frequency wave. Microwave RFID tags typically operate at a frequency of 2.45GHz.
Middleware
Software that sits between the reader and enterprise applications. Generally resides on a server. Middleware performs operations like filtering and smoothing of the raw RFID data. It can also manage networked readers.
Mil
One one-thousandth of an inch (0.001”). Used to describe plastic card thickness (30 mil card /.030").
Misread
A condition which occurs when the data output of a reader/decoder does not agree with the data encoded in the barcode field.
Mobility Solutions
Mobile tools – laptops, handheld computers, smart phones, and scanners - configured to allow necessary duties to be identified and/or tracked freely and easily outside the normal working environment of four walls.
OCR
Optical Character Recognition. Technology for machine reading of human readable text.
ODBC
Open Database Connectivity. Microsoft's strategic interface for accessing data in relational and non-relational database management systems.
Opacity
A barcode verification term. 1).The optical property of a substrate material that measures the show-through from the back side or the next sheet. 2).The ratio of the reflectance with a black backing to the reflectance with a white backing. 3).Ink opacity is the property of an ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.
Overlaminate
A protective clear or holographic material for added security and durability.
Overlay Panel/Varnish
The clear overlay panel (O) is provided on dye-sublimation print ribbons. This panel is automatically applied to printed cards and helps prevent images from premature wear or UV fading. All dye-sublimation printed images must have either this overlay panel or an overlaminate applied to protect them.
Overt
Level one of card security. This first line of defense is a validation feature that can be seen without the use of a special device. Common level one or overt security features are: Holographic Foil, Secure Overlaminate, Holographic Destructible Sticker and Guilloche Pattern.
Over-the-Edge
Printers with this capability can print past the edge of a card resulting in a no-border card.
Passive Tags
An RFID that does not have its own transmitter and power source. The energy required to run the tag's circuitry is obtained from the radio waves emanated by the reader.
PDF 417
Two-Dimensional barcode that is excellent for encoding large amounts of data.
Pixel
The smallest definable element of a digitized graphic image (300 dpi).
PKI
A method of scrambling information called public key cryptography and is the foundation for PKI which enables secure identification of users within a network.
PMS - Pantone Matching System
Pantone® Color Formula Guide. A worldwide industrial and consumer reference guide for the selection and specification of colors, hues and tints.
Poly/PVC Composite Card
Combination of PVC and polyester, offers increased durability, may be used with overlamination (heat applied) and will not crack or break.
Portal
A door or other point in a facility surrounded by fixed RFID readers to identify and track the flow of product. Dock doors are a typical example.
Proximity Card
Proximity (Prox) cards use contactless technology, (generally through a built-in antenna).
PVC
Polyvinyl Chloride. The material makeup of a typical plastic card.
Quite Zone
A clear space, containing no machine readable marks, which precedes the start character of a barcode field and follows the stop characters. Sometimes called the "clear area".

Radio-Frequency Identification/RFID

A technology that uses communication via radio waves to exchange data between a reader and an electronic tag attached to an object, for the purpose of identification and tracking. Some tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader. The application of bulk reading enables an almost parallel reading of tags. Radio-frequency identification involves interrogators (also known as readers), and tags (also known as labels).
Read Range
Distance from which a reader can communicate with a tag. Factors that affect the read range of a passive tag include frequency, reader power and antenna design.
Read Rate (RFID)
Indicates the number of tags that can be read within a given length of time. Read rate is also used as the maximum rate at which data can be read from a tag.
Reader
Hardware that communicates with RFID tags. A reader has one or more antennas attached to it which emit radio waves and receive signals back from the tags. Many readers have the ability to write data as well as read data. See Interrogator.
Read-only
Data stored in read-only RFID tags cannot be changed by a reader.
Read-write
Tags that can store and use new information. Can be changed many times by a reader.
Resin
Resin card printer ribbons use monochrome color resin to deposit images to the surface of PVC plastic cards using high-intensity heat.
Resin Thermal Transfer
Resin thermal transfer is the process used to print sharp black text and crisp barcodes that can be read by both infra-red and visible-light barcode scanners. It is also the process used to print ultra-fast, economical one-color cards. Like dye-sublimation, this process uses a thermal printhead to transfer color from the ribbon roll to the card. The difference, however, is that solid dots of color are transferred in the form of a resin-based ink which fuses to the surface of the card when heated. This produces very durable, single-color images.
Resolution
The narrowest element dimension which can be recognized by a particular scanning device or printed with a particular device or method.
Retransfer Printing
Processes of printing which use a printhead that prints through a ribbon directly onto a transparent film which is then thermally bonded to the card. This process produces higher image quality and allows true edge-to-edge printing even on uneven surfaces such as smart cards. It also eliminates the white border left by even the best dye-sublimation printers.
RF (Radio Frequency) Network
A technology that connects devices using electromagnetic waves instead of physical cabling.
RFID
Radio Frequency Identification. A method of uniquely identifying items by transmitting and receiving electromagnetic (radio) waves.
RFID Pilot
Test for new RFID solutions. Pilots might be run by companies to help meet mandate requirements or to test new applications of RFID technologies.
Rollout
Pilots that indicate a good return on investment (ROI) are then put into expanded deployment. This benefits the testing company and the RFID industry as a whole.
RS-232
A common communication interface standard that permits DTEs and DCEs to connect successfully. (DTE is sometimes referred to as data circuit terminating equipment or DCTE; DCEs data communications equipment)
RTLS (Real Time Location System)
RTLS tracks and identifies the location of objects in real time using badges or tags attached to or embedded in objects. Readers receive the signals from these tags to determine their locations.
RuBee
Two way wireless protocol that uses Long Wave (LW) magnetic signals to send and receive data packets in a local regional network. Similar to WiFi and Bluetooth, but RuBee uses a lower frequency and has a slower read rate. RuBee, however offers low power consumption and operates around and through metals and water, making it practical for sensors, controls, or actuators and indicators.
Scanner
An electro/optical device that converts the bars and spaces of a barcode field into electrical signals.
Secure Overlaminate
Security feature that can be applied to your ID card utilizing a direct-to-card/reverse transfer printer with lamination station, or after the fact with a hand applied overlaminate.
Self-Expiring Badge
A temporary ID badge that expires after a specific time period has elapsed such has half-day, full-day, one-week, or one-month.
Semi-Active Tag
Another name for a battery-assisted tag.
Semi-Passive Tag
Another name for a battery-assisted tag. Uses battery to run circuitry but does not broadcast its own signal.
Signature Strip
A specially treated strip on the card, which the cardholder can sign with a ball-point pen or other writing instrument. It allows verification of the cardholder's signature during transactions. Attempts to alter or erase the signature can be easily detected.
Slot Punch
Tool that punches an elongated hole in identification cards to prepare them for use with a spring clip and strap. This allows the cards to be worn as badges.
Smart Card
These cards have an embedded computer circuit that contains either a memory or microprocessor chip. Several types are available; Memory, Contact, Contactless, Hybrid (Twin), Combination (Dual Interface), and Proximity.
Sticky-Back Cards
A 10 to 30 mil card with an adhesive back used to adhere a photo ID or barcode to an existing access control card. These removable cards allow for the re-use of technology cards to which they may be attached. AKA Adhesive-Backed Cards.
Student Accountability System
Mobile solution providing instant access to student information from anywhere on campus. Configured with logic from your current school polices, it empowers administrators and faculty to enforce discipline or reward students on the spot.
Substrate
The surface on which a barcode field is printed. Can be a label, tag, or paper supply.
Symbology
Barcode type.
T&A
Time and Attendance. An application using barcode employee badges and barcode slot reading terminals to enter employee start/stop data.
Tag
Microchip attached to an antenna, enclosed in a label or other "package" so it can be applied to an object.
Teslin
A unique synthetic core material that handles and feels like paper, but has the durability of plastic. This material must be used in conjunction with a butterfly laminate.
Thermal Direct
A printing method where dots are selectively heated and cooled and dragged upon heat-sensitive paper. The paper turns dark in the heated areas.
Thermal Printing
The process of creating an image on a plastic card using a heated printhead.
Time Dependent Badge
A temporary ID badge that expires after a specific time period has elapsed such has half-day, full-day, one-week, or one-month.
Topcoat
Clear film applied after the card personalization processes, in a select group of direct-to-card printers, that protects the printed image against abrasion from everyday wear and tear.
Trust Framework In digital identity systems, a trust framework is a pre-negotiated set of business, legal, and technical agreements that bind all stakeholders with mutual assurance that online transactions are reliable and repeatable.
TWAIN
Interface industry standard protocol for exchanging information between application software and image capture devices such as digital cameras or scanners.
UHF (Ultra High Frequency)
Transmitting between 300 MHz and 3 GHz. Typically UHF RFID tags operate in a region between 860 MHz to 960MHz. At present, there is no universally approved global frequency for UHF RFID use.
UID
Unique Item Identifier, a value in the Unique Item Identification system used by the US Department of Defense for the identification of accountable equipment as per DoD Instruction 5000.64.
Ultraviolet/UV Ink
A logo, signature or other graphic symbol printed in ink visible only under ultraviolet light. Used as a counterfeiting deterrent.
UPC
Universal Product Code. The standard barcode type for retail products in the United States.
Verifier
A device that makes measurements of the bars, spaces, quiet zones and optical characteristics of a barcode field to determine if the code meets the requirements of a specification or standard.
Vertical Badge
An identification card with the portrait and data rotated 90 degrees so that the long edge of the card is vertical. A common format when the card is designed to be worn as a badge.
Visitor Management System
A method used to identify and authorize an individual such as a visitor, contractor, temporary, volunteer, etc. that accesses your facility. A visitor management system provides valuable information such as who, what, when and where that specific individual entered your site, plus produces a visitor badge.
Wand
See Light Pen.
Watermark
Similar to watermarks on currency, it can consist of your logo, seal or any artwork you choose, placed into a card and is only visible when held up to a light source.
Wedge
A device that plugs in between a keyboard and a terminal or PC. Allows data to be entered either by the keyboard or an attached scanner.
WIA
Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) is a Microsoft driver model and application programming interface that enables graphics software to communicate with imaging hardware such as digital cameras and digital video equipment.
WORM
Write Once Read Many. A tag that a user can write to just once.
YMC
Yellow, Magenta, and Cyan are the primary print colors for cards. The three colors combine in varying degrees to make a full spectrum of colors.
YMCFKO
Same as YMC plus a fluorescing (F) panel which is visible under ultraviolet light, a black panel (K) and the overcoat (O) panel to protect the finished ID card.
YMCKK
Same as YMC plus two Black panels (K, K). Does not include a protective overcoat and generally utilized in a direct-to-card printer that also applies a .6 or 1.0 mil overlaminate to protect the printed image.
YMCKO
Same as YMC plus Black (K) and clear protective overcoat (O).
YMCKOK
Same as YMC plus two Black panels (K, K) and clear protective overcoat (O).
ZigBee
A wireless network used for home, building and industrial control. Designed for low power drain, it is slower than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

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