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Engineering and Technology: Standards


Standards and Specifications

A definition

"A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose." - ISO


How to Find Standards

Most likely you find a standard mentioned when searching in a database like Compendex or in a Reference List of an article. This page provides several ways to find information about standards.

There are thousands of Industry Standards developed in the U.S. and by international organizations. Many industry sector standards are included in the standards search engines provided by NSSN, IHS, TechStreet, and SAI Global.

For questions about finding a standard, contact Nestor Osorio at

Standards Search Engines

ANSI - American National Standards Institute

ANSI Webstore - ANSI Standards

ANSI Webstore - ISO Standards

ANSI Webstore - IEC Standards

ANSI Webstore - ASTM Standards

The ANSI Webstore will let you search for standards from many standards publishers by keyword or document number. Keyword searches may give results from multiple sources including standards that are freely available on the Web. The left side of the page provides the ability to browse by publisher or view all standards developing organizations in the database.

IHS Global

IHS Global

IHS is one of several companies that sells copies of industry standards. The site provides an excellent search engine to standards of all kinds and will often mention whether a particular standard has been superseded or revised more recently. Searching by title keywords will help locate information on whether a standard has also been issued by another standards agency.


Compendex is a comprehensive engineering database covering journal articles, conference proceedings, technical papers, and standards in all engineering disciplines from 1884 to the present.

Compendex also includes records from AIAA, ASCE, ASTM, IEEE, SAE, and SMPTE, plus a few scattered standards from other organizations. It is another source for locating standards of interest. Choose "Standard" as the Document Type when performing a search to find standards by a particular organization or on a given topic.

Subject Guide

How to Cite a Standard

Books about Standards

Primer on Engineering Standards, by Maan H. Jawad; Owen Greulich. John Wiley, 2018.

TA368.J39 2018

A Clear, comprehensive Introduction to standards in the engineering professions.

Practical Guide to International Standardization in Electrical Engineering, by Hermann J. Koch. John Wiley, 2016

Available online

Using the Engineering Literature, edited by Bonnie A. Osif. CRC Press, 2012.

Available online.

Organizations that Develop Standards

A partial list

AASHTO  American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

ACI American Concrete Institute

API American Petroleum Institute

ASCE American Society of Civil Engineers

ASHRAE American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers

ASHRAE Handbooks

In Reference Collection TH7201.A8 + others

ASME American Society of Mechanical Engineers

ASME BPVC Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code 

In Reference Collection TJ290.A754 2011

ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials

In Reference Collection TA401.A564

AWS  American Welding Society

ICC International Code Council

IEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

IES Illuminating Engineering Society of North America

NESC National Electrical Safety Code and Handbook  

National electrical safety code: American national standard. TK152.A44 1980

NESC handbook a discussion of the National Electrical Safety Code. Clapp, Allen L. 2011. Available online

 NFPA National Fire Protection Association