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Find Standards: Start Here

What are standards?

  • Standards are published documents that establish provisions, procedures and protocols to ensure reliability of a product, method or service.
  • Standards are published by a standards body.
  • By establishing consistent universally accepted protocols, standards ensure:
    • Product/service development, compatibility, interoperability and credibility.
    • User safety and public health.
  • Standards are useful for comparing competing products and services.

How do I find standards?

  • Standards have unique associated codes, which can be used as access points.
  • The format of the code varies somewhat from one publisher to another, but the first letters generally identify the body that created the standard. 
  • Sometimes standards are jointly issued by two standards bodies.
    • Example: CSA B651-04, IEEE Std 610.13-1993, ANSI/ASME N509-2002.
  • Another method of searching for standards is through search interfaces by subject, by category, or by committee. 
  • Standards go through a development cycle. Some databases and websites provide access to standards at different stages (i.e. active; draft; redline; withdrawn; etc.).
  • The word ‘standards’ has been used interchangeably with ‘specifications’, ‘regulations’, and ‘codes’. It is useful to keep this in mind when searching.
  • Note: Standards are usually not available free of charge. The Library subscribes to some standards databases. Other standards must be purchased individually by the user and cannot be borrowed via interlibrary loan.

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