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Standards are: documented agreements containing technical specifications or other precise criteria to be used consistently as rules, guidelines, or definitions of characteristics, to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.
What standards do: they establish accepted test methods and procedures; characterize materials; define processes and systems; and specify product characteristics.
Benefits of standards: Standards help to reduce cost and improve quality; reduce trade barriers; promote efficient markets; create new markets; and create industrial infrastructure.
The above definitions were reproduced with the permission of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI).
Voluntary standards are developed by various groups/individuals, organizations and/or associations usually involved with the activities or materials being standardized, since they benefit most from their creation. Voluntary standards can be referenced in regulations or cited in contracts at which point they become mandatory or legally binding; this is the case with the New York State Building Code which is based on the International Family of Codes developed by the International Code Council (ICC). Governments also create mandatory standards, for example regulations relating to health, safety or environmental concerns. New York City has its own mandatory building standards which are compiled together in the Building Code of the City of New York.
A more in-depth explanation of standardization can be found on the American Society for Testing and Materials’ (ASTM International) Web site. Go to the organizations home page, http://www.astm.org, click on “News & Information”, and select The Handbook of Standardization. The latter publication describes standards, how they are written, the U.S. standards system and more.
The Science, Industry and Business Library does not collect standards comprehensively, instead you will find many reference guides to standards in the Library’s collection. The following are steps for locating standards at the library, and what to do if the document you need is not in SIBL’s collection:
Check in the Library’s online catalog, for the title of the standard (for example: National Electrical Code) and/or search the standard making body as an author (for example: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Also, look at the list of Standards at SIBL below.
For government standards and regulations, at the federal level search the Code of Federal Regulations, available online for fulltext access at the following site: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/
At the state and city level, search the catalog for the title of the standard and/or the name of the state or city as an author. Sometimes the latter can be found online, for example the Building Code of the City of New York: http://nyc.gov/html/dob/html/code.html
To locate reference guides for a particular set of standards, try either a keyword search in the catalog with the name of the standard (for example: International Building Code) or a keyword search of the industry of interest combined with the term “standards”; some examples:
building* AND standards
telecommunication* AND standards
Note: the asterisk (*) is a truncation symbol, more information on its use can be found on the keyword search page in the catalog
If you do not find the standard you need in the library’s collections, you may need to purchase it. ANSI, the American National Standards Institute (http://www.ansi.org), is a good source for standards, many available online. You may also be able to buy the standard from the standard making body itself.
Some important national and international organizations concerned with standardization are:
- ANSI: American National Standards Institute http://www.ansi.org
- ASTM International: American Society for Testing and Materials http://www.astm.org
- ISO: International Organization for Standardization http://www.iso.ch
- IEC: International Electrotechnical Commission http://www.iec.ch
- ITU: International Telecommunications Union http://www.itu.int
- NIST: National Institute of Standards and Technology http://www.nist.gov
- NSSN: National Standards Systems Network http://www.nssn.org/
To identify standards for a particular industry try using one of the following indexes. These publications can be found in the open-shelf reference collection on the lower level of SIBL, call numbers are given:
- Index and Directory of Industry Standards
- Index of Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Descriptions
Available online at: http://apps.fss.gsa.gov/pub/fedspecs/index.cfm
The following standards can be found at SIBL, many of which are related to the building and construction industry. Call numbers preceded by an asterisk (*) indicate that the publication is in the open-shelf reference collection on the lower level of SIBL, other call numbers can be requested from the B. Altman Delivery Desk.
|ACI manual of concrete practice||American Concrete Institute (ACI)||*R - TA439 .A358|
|ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities||Access Board|
|American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)||*R - TA401.A653|
|Building code of the City of New York||New York (N.Y.)||*R - KFX2030 .A2B8|
|High performance building guidelines||City of New York Department of Design and Construction||*R - NA2542 .35 .H54|
|International building code||International Code Council (ICC)
|*R - K3538.A15.I5|
|International fire code||International Code Council (ICC)||*R - K4180.F57 I58|
|International mechanical code||International Code Council (ICC)||*R - KF5701.A73 I58|
|International plumbing code||International Code Council (ICC)||*R - K3542.I58|
|National electrical code||National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)||*R - TK260 .N47b|
|National fire codes||National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)||JBM 01-619 2001- (Codes)
JBM 01-620 (Master index)
|Ramsey/Sleeper Architectural Graphic Standards||American Institute of Architects||*R – TH2031 .R35 2000|
|Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards||Access Board|
Picture of the Day
Customs station at Chease, on the River Volta, opposite German Togoland (1910). NYPL Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
One of 700,000 pictures in the NYPL Digital Gallery