A standard is a “prescribed set of rules, conditions, or requirements concerning definitions of terms; classification of components; specification of materials, performance, or operations; delineation of procedures; or measurement of quantity and quality in describing materials, products, systems, services, or practices."* Essentially, a standard is a rule or requirement that establishes the size, shape, uniformity, quality, performance, definition, testing methodology, for any given material, chemical, process, etc.
Standards are written for, but not limited to raw materials; manufactured products; methods of analysis, such as chemical, electrical, or mechanical; nondestructive testing; units of measure, such as time, distance, or mass; information privacy issues; environmental considerations; manufacturing processes; etc. Standards are important for safety, reliability, quality, ease of use, interchangeable parts; and consistency of products and processes across international borders. International standards are being developed for use throughout the world in order to facilitate international trade.
In some cases, standards, specifications, and codes are made freely available by governmental bodies. For example, the Chicago Building Code is available for free. At the national level, all such material is compiled in the Code of Federal Regulations or CFR. In Illinois, the equivalent of the CFR is the Illinois Compiled Statutes.
*National Policy on Standards for the United States and a Recommended Implementation Plan. National Standards Policy Advisory Committee, Washington, D.C.,December, 1978. p. 6.
Because of the high cost of industry standards, the Library provides access only to a limited subset. The following databases, websites, and print resources provide full-text access to codes and standards. For help using these resources or for assistance obtaining full text of other codes or standards, ask a librarian.
More information on standards can be found at these websites. The standards themselves are only available for purchase unless otherwise noted.