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Standards (Engineering)

A guide to locating technical standards and a list of standards available in Noble Library

About Standards

What are standards, specifications, and codes?

  • A standard is an approved set of criteria defining the performance or design of a product or defining the process of constructing a product.

    A standard is usually represent by the acronym of the issuing organization followed by a number and the date of issuance.  Examples: 
    • ANSI B152.2-1982
    • ISO 10096:1997
    • IEC 60034-15:2009
  • A specification is a set of conditions and/or requirements used primarily for procurement and manufacturing purposes.  Standards may be referenced or included in specifications.  
  • Codes are organized collections of mandatory standards that have been made into law by a governmental authority.

Who produces standards?
Scientific and  professional organizations (such as ASME, IEEE, etc), trade organizations, and governments create standards, both nationally as well as internationally. In the United States, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) coordinates many standards producing organizations.

How do I identify which standards I need?
There are many search tools on the internet to assist you in locating standards in your area of study; see Finding Standards on this guide.

How do I find the full text of a standard?
See  Standards Available in the ASU Library on this guide.

Are standards protected by copyright?
Yes, under both US and International laws, a standard has copyright protection.  Each standard is considered to be a separate work of authorship, just as a book would be; the copyright owner is the issuing organization.   

What is an IBR standard? 
IBR stands for "Incorporated By Reference."   Sometimes laws are passed that require compliance with a specific standard(s); these standards may be called "IBR standards" or designated as having been "IBR-ed."     


The information on this page was primarily obtained from ANSI, the American National Standards Institute, especially their ANSI Training Courses & webinars website; the site is highly recommended for those wanting to learn more about standards.

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