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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Check Digits for Detecting Recording Errors in Horticultural Research: Theory and Examples

Authors
item Okie, William
item Okie, E - RADFORD UNIV.

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 12, 2005
Publication Date: November 28, 2005
Citation: Okie, W.R., Okie, E.G. 2005. Check digits for detecting recording errors in horticultural research: theory and examples. HortScience. 40(7):1956-1962.

Interpretive Summary: Check digit technology is commonly used in commercial applications such as UPS shipping labels, UPC bar codes and credit cards to flag errors in numbers as they are used. Most systems use a version of modulus arithmetic to calculate a check digit from the digits in the identification number. The USDA-ARS stone fruit breeding program at Byron, Ga. plants thousands of trees annually, which are identified using a two-digit year followed by a sequential number that identifies the tree location in the rows. Various records are taken over the life of the tree including bloom and fruit characteristics. Selected trees are propagated and tested further. To improve the accuracy of our records we have implemented a system which uses a check number which is calculated from the identification number and then converted to a letter that is added onto the end of the identification number. The check letter is calculated by summing the products of each of the digits in the number multiplied by sequential integers, dividing this sum by 23, and converting the remainder into a letter. Adding a single letter suffix is a small change and does not add much complexity to existing data collection. The types of errors caught by this system are discussed, along with those caught by other common check digit systems

Technical Abstract: Check digit technology is frequently used in commercial applications such as shipping labels and credit cards to flag errors in numbers as they are used. Most systems use a version of modulus arithmetic to calculate a check digit from the digits in the identification number. The USDA-ARS stone fruit breeding program at Byron, Ga. plants thousands of trees annually, which are identified using a two-digit year prefix followed by a sequential number that identifies the tree location in the rows. Various records are taken over the life of the tree including bloom and fruit characteristics. Selected trees are propagated and tested further. To improve the accuracy of our records we have implemented a system which uses a check number which is calculated from the identification number and then converted to a letter that is added onto the end of the identification number. The check letter is calculated by summing the products of each of the digits in the number multiplied by sequential integers, dividing this sum by 23, and converting the remainder into a letter. Adding a single letter suffix is a small change and does not add much complexity to existing data collection. The types of errors caught by this system are discussed, along with those caught by other common check digit systems. Check digit terminology and theory is also discussed.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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