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There are many different numbering schemes for assigning nominal numbers to entities. These generally require an agreed set of rules, or a central coordinator. The schemes can be considered to be examples of a primary key of a database management system table, whose table definitions require a database design.

In computability theory, the simplest numbering scheme is the assignment of natural numbers to a set of objects such as functions, rational numbers, graphs, or words in some language. A numbering can be used to transfer the idea of computability and related concepts, which are originally defined on the natural numbers using computable functions, to these different types of objects.

A simple extension is to assign cardinal numbers to physical objects according to the choice of some base of reference and of measurement units for counting or measuring these objects within a given precision. In such case, numbering is a kind of classification, i.e. assigning a numeric property to each object of the set to subdivide this set into related subsets forming a partition of the initial set, possibly infinite and not enumeratable using a single natural number for each class of the partition.

In some cases (such as computing, time-telling, and in some countries the numbering of floors in buildings) zero-based numbering is used, where the first entity is assigned "zero" instead of "one".

Other numbering schemes are listed by field below.




  • The GS1 numbering scheme, including
    • GTIN for products, which includes the UPC and EAN-13 barcodes
    • ISBN codes for books
    • ISSN codes for periodicals
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Stock keeping unit (SKU)


Identification numbers[edit]

  • National identification numbers
    • Personal Numeric Code (Romania)
    • Personal identification number (Denmark)
    • Social Security number (United States)
    • Social Insurance Number (Canada)
    • INSEE number (France)
    • National Insurance number (United Kingdom)
    • Aadhaar (India)
  • Personal Public Service Number (Republic of Ireland)
  • Tax file number (Australia)
  • Unique Master Citizen Number (former Yugoslavia)
  • Det Centrale Personregister (Denmark)

Ordinals for names[edit]

  • Regnal numbers
    • Princes of Reuss
    • Popes' ordinals
  • Generational ordinal suffix to names


  • Dewey Decimal Classification and Universal Decimal Classification for books
  • West American Digest System legal topic numbering scheme

Geography and transport[edit]

  • Postal codes
    • ZIP codes
  • Geocodes (used also as fine-grained postal codes):
    • Geohash
    • Open Location Code
  • Global Location Numbers by GS1
  • FIPS place codes
  • House numbering schemes
  • Floor numbering
  • Room number
  • Line number
  • See also: Country code; Address (geography).


  • Vehicle registration plates
  • British Carriage and Wagon Numbering and Classification
  • British Rail locomotive and multiple unit numbering and classification
  • UIC classification of goods wagons


Road numbering schemes

  • Arlington County, Virginia, street-naming system
  • China road numbering
  • Great Britain road numbering scheme
  • European route by UNECE
  • Interstate highway
  • Edmonton, Alberta#Street layout
  • Montreal
  • Highways in Australia#Route numbering systems


  • API well numbers for numbering oil and gas wells in the United States
  • Bank card number
  • International Bank Account Number
  • International Geo Sample Number (IGSN)
  • International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems for diseases
  • The MAC address allocation scheme for hardware addresses of certain networking products
  • National Animal Identification System
  • National Pokédex
  • The NSAP allocation scheme
  • Post office box
  • Production code number
  • Stamp numbering system
  • Wikipedia markup syntax for numbered lists

See also[edit]

  • naming scheme
  • Digital Object Identifier
  • Pagination
    • Stephanus pagination for works of Plato
    • Bekker numbers for the works of Aristotle
  • Persistent identifier
  • Unique identifier
  • UUID