LTO bar code label

Each LTO data, cleaning, and diagnostic cartridge that is processed by the TS3500 tape library must bear a bar code label.

The bar code label contains:
  • A volume serial (VOLSER) number that you can read
  • A bar code that the library can read
When read by the library's bar code reader, the bar code identifies the cartridge's VOLSER to the tape library. The bar code also tells the library whether the cartridge is a data, cleaning, or diagnostic cartridge. In addition, the bar code includes the two-character media-type identifier Lx (where x equals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, T, U, V, W, X, or Y) or M8.
  • L or M identifies the cartridge as an LTO cartridge.
  • 1 indicates that the cartridge is the first generation of its type. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 indicates that the cartridge is the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth generation of its type.
  • T indicates that the cartridge is a generation 3 WORM cartridge, U indicates that the cartridge is a generation 4 WORM cartridge, V indicates that the cartridge is a generation 5 WORM cartridge, W indicates that the cartridge is a generation 6 WORM cartridge, X indicates that the cartridge is a generation 7 WORM cartridge, and Y indicates that the cartridge is a generation 8 WORM cartridge.

Figure 1 shows a sample bar code label for the LTO 7 tape cartridge.

You can order tape cartridges with the labels included, or you can order custom labels. The bar code must meet predefined specifications. They include (but are not limited to):
  • Eight uppercase alphanumeric characters, where the last two characters must be L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, L6, L7, L8, LT, LU, LV, LW, LX, or LY, or M8.
  • Label and printing to be non-glossy
  • Nominal narrow line or space width of 0.423 mm (0.017 in.)
  • Wide to narrow ratio of 2.75:1
  • Minimum bar length of 11.1 mm (0.44 in.)

To determine the complete specifications of the bar code and the bar code label, go to to download the IBM LTO Ultrium Cartridge Label Specification. You can also contact your IBM® Sales Representative for this specification.

When attaching a bar code label to a tape cartridge, place the label only in the recessed bar code label area. A label that extends outside of the recessed area can cause loading problems in the drive or the library.

Attention: Do not place any type of mark on the white space at either end of the bar code. A mark in this area may prevent the TS3500 tape library from reading the label.

You can use the Tape Library Specialist web interface to configure the library so that it reports to the server all eight characters of the VOLSER on the bar code label or only the first six characters.

Note: If you suspect that the library is having problems reading the bar code labels, you can slow the scanner speed as part of problem determination. You may choose to slow the scanner speed rather than replace all labels, or you might want to slow the scanner speed while you wait for an opportunity to re-label the media. Depending on the severity of the problem, the error recovery procedure (ERP) for poor labels might greatly exceed the time lost by slowing the scanner. If you have cartridge bar code labels that meet the LTO bar code label specification, there is no need to slow the scanner speed.
Figure 1. Sample bar code label on the LTO 7 tape cartridge. The volume serial number (LTO123) and bar code are printed on the label.
sample barcode label