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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ME 470

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What is a Standard?

A standard can be defined as a set of technical definitions and guidelines or “how to” instructions for designers, manufacturers, and users. Standards promote safety, reliability, productivity, and efficiency in almost every industry that relies on engineering components or equipment. Standards can run from a few paragraphs to hundreds of pages, and are written by experts with knowledge and expertise in a particular field who sit on many committees. For more information, see the comprehensive Library Guide on standards or the standards FAQ page for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Standard Issuing Bodies

Various institutions are involved in the preparation of standards used globally.

These include governmental or treaty organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and organizations that are either specialized in standardization or involved in other activities.

Different approaches and procedures have been adopted by these bodies in their standardization processes (e.g. participating bodies, how work is initiated, developed and finalized).

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) are familiar examples of organizations that develop standards used globally. ISO and IEC are both private, voluntary organizations whose members are national standards bodies. The ITU is a treaty, or intergovernmental organization.

Standards developed by some US-domiciled (headquartered) organizations have gained direct international acceptance in specific sectors and serve as de facto global standards. These standards are developed with input from international participants, in some cases on an individual basis, in others on an organizational basis. In addition, in certain technology sectors, consortia organizations are popular means for the development of global standards. Consortium technical categories include areas such as e-commerce, the Internet, multimedia, web services and so on.

We encourage you to visit the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) page on National Standards Bodies.

Finding Standards

What the Library Can Do for You

A standard is typically represented by the acronym of the issuing organization followed by a number and date of issuance (e.g., ANSI B152.2-1982 or ISO 10096:1997). Identifying a standards name is the key to finding the Full Text.

In order to discover the name of a standard – or even if a standard exists for a particular purpose – cursory searches in related databases are often necessary. The following databases contain reference information for numerous standards:

Techstreet Standards Store 
Techstreet Standards Store allows users to search across a wide variety of standards.

ANSI Webstore
The American Nation Standards Institute lists standards that are available through ANSI. Their webstore can also be helpful for idenfying the names of standards issuing bodies.

ISO Catalog
The International Standards Organization develops international standards, the names of which are displayed in their online catalog. You can browse by field or enter search terms into the search bar labeled "filter the list."

AAMI Standards Store
The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation produces standards in the medical field. Contact your library consultant if your group requires medical standards.

SAI Global
SAI Global is an organization in quality assurance. Their website features a multitude of standards.

The resources listed above either do not provide full-text standards or have a pay wall. Do not pay for any standards before checking to see if the library has access to them online or in print. Reach out to your library contact for assistance.

Search Grainger Engineering Library Print Standards
This database searches records of the print standards located in the Grainger Engineering Library in order to verify whether or not a standard is available in print. It does not provide digital access. If a standard is available in print, you can find it in the stacks on second floor west, or ask for assistance at the front desk or reach out to your consultant.