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How do I Find Standards?

What are Standards?

ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, defines standards as "documents that provide requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose."

Standards stipulate or recommend:

  1. minimum levels of performance and quality of goods and services, and
  2. optimal conditions and procedures for operations in science, industry, and commerce - including production, evaluation, distribution, and utilization of materials, products, and services." (Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, v.30, 1980, p. 176)

The McMaster Library has several sets of standards, the most important full collections being ASTM, from the American Society for Testing and Materials, CSA, from the Canadian Standards Association and IEEE, from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

There are many organizations, both domestic and foreign, that publish standards. The Library may have some individual ones catalogued but does not collect them from most organizations. For example, we may have some British Standards
Association (BSI) standards but not the whole set.

Information about individual standards can usually be found on an organization's website, ILS Markit (a commercial site that sells standards from around the world), or from ANSI (American National Standards Institute).  

We also have some handbooks that publish standards for some organizations; some of these are outlined in this guide.