What is GDSN Data Pool?

GDSN stands for Global Data Synchronization Network. The Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) is the world’s largest product data network. It is a system of connected firms that share product information in a standardized format.  The GDSN enables manufacturers and sellers of goods to harmonize information about their products with their customers.  Retailers and other buyers of goods subscribe to vendor catalogues and receive updates on them.

GS1_GDSN_Schema - Commport Communications

These updates are triggered when new items are added, existing items change, or items are discontinued.  All kinds of data points can be synchronized, from identifiers such as UPC codes and vendor part numbers, to descriptions and dimensions, and images.   ‘Data Pools’ facilitate the sharing of data by ensuring that the product information is formatted correctly and managing the subscriptions and publication of data.

Manufacturers and sellers benefit by having only one catalogue to maintain and update.  Buyers benefit from having item information continuously updated to ensure it is correct and current. 

Unlike a closed data pool or product registry, the GDSN is a global network where buyers and sellers are free to choose any of the approximately 50 certified data pools as their provider, independent of who their trading partner has chosen.  And the standards are global, enabling the sharing of product data in multiple languages and across national boundaries.

GDSN Terminology 


GS1 Global Registry

  • The GS1 Global Registry is the GDSN's "yellow pages directory" that provides information for subscription sharing
  • Enables data pool interoperability
  • Guarantees uniqueness of the registered items and parties
  • Ensures all data pools in the network are complying with a common set of validation rules that support GDSN data integrity
  • Holds information on who subscribed to trade items or party data using Global Location Numbers (GLN), Global Trade Identification Numbers (GTIN), Global Product Classifications (GPC) and Target Market (TM) as identifiers.

Global Location Number (GLN) 

A GLN is unique entity identification for use in the GS1 system based on an company’s EAN.UCC company prefix.

  • It is a 13 digit number.
  • All data sources and data recipients must have a GLN to operate in the GDSN

Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)

  • A GTIN is a unique product ID based on an EAN.UCC number that identifies a specific product at a specific level of packaging, examples: Each, Carton, Pallet:
  • The GTIN facilitates separate item records for each level of packaging for the same product IF the packaging is the supplier’s standard packaging and IF each level of packaging contains a separate standard EAN.UCC bar code label.

Global Product Classification (GPC)

  • GPC is a product category / class system used by GS1 to ensure each product is classified uniformly everywhere in the GDSN network.
  • The GPC provides trading partners with a common way to classify and group their products using a multi-level hierarchy.

Trading Partner Agreement (TPA)

  • The TPA ensures protection for the Data Source (supplier) data throughout the GDSN
  • It acknowledges that the Data Source owns the data
  • It provides legal protection and remedies to the Data source if the data is passed to any other entity other than the Data Source’s authorized and designated Data Recipient(s)
  • Every entity in the GDSN has to sign the TPA

Target Market (TM) 

  • TM is a country identifier indicating where the item will be sold
  • This is required because some products sold in different countries use the same bar codes but have unique product differences for the specific TM(s).

How Does the GDSN Work?

GDSN 101

Benefits of GDSN


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Share real-time product content with all trading partners simultaneously

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Decrease data management time and costs

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Eliminate manual processes and reduce errors, generating quality

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Bring new products to market quickly and easily

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Enable brand transparency to consumers and patients

Using Synchronized Data 

Synchronized data is used anywhere product information is displayed or used.  This includes business systems such as ERP, accounting, and warehouse management applications.  GDSN data is also used on consumer facing websites.  Anywhere that product information needs to be reliable and current is a good target for synchronized product data.

Certified Data Pools

Organizations that want to provide GDSN services must be certified.  To be certified a GDSN data pool must prove they are able to connect with the other data pools and meet the global standards.  Buyers and sellers of goods around the world rely on the Certification to ensure the Network remains viable.

Global Standards

The use of global standards within the GDSN ensure that a manufacturer or seller of goods can easily populate their GDSN catalogue once and share that information with customers around the world.  This eliminates the need for 'local' attributes based on one country or region.  For buyers, the global standards mean that they will receive the same data points from suppliers anywhere in the world.  Committees from all industries and countries with representatives from both supplier and buyer organizations met to develop these standards.


Read more or download Commport’s GDSN 101.

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Author: Deanna Fiedler

Marketing Coordinator | Commport