Technical Standards: Basic Information
What are Standards?
"Think of [standards] as a formula that describes the best way of doing something."
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
"Standards allow technology to work seamlessly and establish trust so that markets can operate smoothly. They:
- provide a common language to measure and evaluate performance,
- make interoperability of components made by different companies possible, and
- protect consumers by ensuring safety, durability, and market equity.
Standards at UB
The University at Buffalo Libraries has a growing collection of standards and specifications. All ASTM, IEEE, and SAE standards are now accessible online, as well as ASCE 7 (see databases listed on the right side of the screen to access). Other select standards are available through the Techstreet platform or through various ebook databases. Some other standards are available in print. Use the tabs above to find U.S. and international standards here at UB, as well as information regarding government regulations and standards.
If you are having trouble locating a standard you need, please contact the Engineering Librarian (firstname.lastname@example.org). We may be able to point you to a freely accessible copy (see more information under the tab above labeled "Obtaining Standards") or we may possibly be able to purchase a copy.
Why are Standards Important?
Standards provide people and organizations with a basis for mutual understanding and are used as tools to facilitate communication, measurement, commerce, and manufacturing.
Standards are everywhere and play an important role in the economy, by:
- facilitating business interaction
- enabling companies to comply with relevant laws and regulations
- speeding up the introduction of innovative products to market
- providing interoperability between new and existing products, services, and processes.
Standards impact our every day lives.
- See also Standards are Everywhere: An Information Literacy Approach to Standards Education by Purdue Libraries for more information on what standards are, as well as where standards can be found in everyday objects.
Standards are important to businesses, governments, engineers, scientists, architects, designers, students, and more.
- See the Value of Standards webpage from the Standards Boost Business website.
For more information, watch the video below from ISO on What Standards Do for You.
Another video, below, is from NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology and illustrates how standards are important to technology and innovation.
Full Text Access to Standards
- ASTM Compass This link opens in a new windowProvides full text access to ASTM standards, manuals, papers, and journal articles. More InfoFull-Text UB ONLY
- IEEE Xplore This link opens in a new windowProvides full text access to IEEE and IET publications. More InfoFull-Text UB ONLY
- SAE Mobilus This link opens in a new windowProvides full text access to SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) current and historical standards for ground vehicles, aerospace, and aerospace materials. More InfoPartial Full-Text UB ONLY
- ASCE 7 Online This link opens in a new windowProvides online access to the ASCE 7 standard.More InfoFull-Text UB ONLY
- TechStreet Enterprise This link opens in a new windowProvides full-text PDFs from leading publishers of industry standards including ASME, ISO, ANSI, ASCE, and many more. NOTE: UB has access to only select standards in full text from Techstreet from ASME, HFES, and ISO. Access the database to see if the standard you need is available.
- ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code Standards This link opens in a new windowTRIAL SUBSCRIPTION - Full-text of the Boiler & Pressure Valve Code standards published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.More InfoFull-Text UB ONLY
- National Fire Codes (NFPA) This link opens in a new windowFull-text, read-only access to all National Fire Codes and Standards. More InfoFull-Text PUBLIC
Searching for Standards
You can use standards databases to search for standards by keyword or topic (e.g., footwear). Techstreet and the ANSI Webstore are two popular options and have coverage of standards worldwide (although not ALL standards developing organizations are represented in these tools, they do have great range).
- 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.
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