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Technical Standards: Introduction

Last Updated: Apr 14, 2020 2:42 PM

What are Standards?

Standards are detailed instructions that explain how something is to be manufactured, managed, designed, or otherwise handled. Standards are usually written by an authoritative body, such as a professional organization, government agency, or manufacturer. The Institute for Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE), for example, publishes electronic and electrical engineering-related standards.

Standards at UB

The University at Buffalo Libraries have a selected collection of standards and specifications. All ASTM and IEEE standards are now accessible online (see databases in the sidebar to access). Some other standards are available in print. Use the tabs above to find U.S. and international standards here at UB.

Please contact us first to see if we might have the standard you need here at UB or if it might be possible for us to secure a copy via Delivery+. If not, another option for you may be to directly purchase the item. The final tab, labeled "Obtaining Standards," provides further information on freely accessible standards, as well as details on how you can purchase a standard you need.

Word cloud with standards developing organizations

How to Locate Standards

To locate a standard, you should (ideally) know the following:

  • Acronym and name of the publishing organization
  • Standard number
  • Title of the standard
  • Date of the standard
  • Subject of the standard

To identify a standard on a particular topic (e.g., seat belts) or to verify a standard's date or number, use the following publicly accessible database:

  • TechStreet (a standards provider)
    Search 500,000+ standards and industry codes from around the world. This includes US standards like ASTM and ANSI, JIS Japanese standards, European standards such as BSI and EN, as well as international ISO standards. Standards can be purchased directly from TechStreet in PDF or print formats.
  • ANSI WebStore
    Search for ANSI, ASTM, ISO, IEC, and other standards publishers by keyword or document number. Be sure to re-set the search box to "KEYWORD" if searching that way. This will provide you with the acronym and name of the publishing organization (as well as a standard number and the title of the standard).

Other specialized indexes exist for military standards, federal standards, foreign national standards, etc. These indexes are identified and cited in the respective sections accessible through the tabs above. Links are provided to the web version of an index where one is available.

Full Text Access to Standards

Engineering Librarian

Erin Rowley's picture
Erin Rowley
119 Lockwood Library
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY 14260