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Standards & Specifications: A How-To Guide

Guide to searching for, and locating full-text of, industry standards.

Other Frequently Requested Standards

AASHTO Standards (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials)
Some of the major AASHTO publications which include standards are Standard Specifications for Transportation Materials and Methods of Sampling and Testing (TE200 Am351x, Standards Center, Room 161 Parks Library), Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges (TG310 A6, Standards Center, Room 161 Parks Library), and Guide Specifications for Highway Construction (General Collection TE180 G85x). We also have a subscription to current AASHTO Provisional Standards (TE205 A54x, Standards Center, Room 161 Parks Library). Other AASHTO standards can be identified with the Standards Search Engines or through the AASHTO online bookstore.

ACI Standards (American Concrete Institute)
The ACI Manual of Concrete Practice (TA439 A45, Standards Center, Room 161 Parks Library) is one of the most frequently used publications of the American Concrete Institute. It does not contain all ACI standards, but it contains the vast majority of the ones most-likely needed. This set also includes ACI concrete and masonry code requirements, specifications, guides and reports.

AGMA Standards (American Gear Manufacturers Association)
The Standards Center has 1959-1999 in loose-leaf notebook at TJ184 A35x. Many more AGMA standards are available within the ANSI collection and can be found using Quick Search on the library homepage.

AHRI Standards (Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute)
These are free on the AHRI website.

ASAE or ASABE Standards (American Society of Agricultural Engineers; now called American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers)
Standards of the ASAE up to 2002 are available in the General Collection (S671 .Ag847), with newer editions available online through the ASABE Technical Library. Off-campus researchers will be prompted to login using their ISU ID# and library PIN.

ASCE Standards (American Society of Civil Engineers)
Current standards from ASCE are available online as part of the ASCE Online Research Library. The ISU Library also has many ASCE standards available in hardcopy - look for specific ASCE standard titles via Quick Search on the library homepage.

ASHRAE Standards (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers)
Many ASHRAE standards are adopted by the American National Standards Institute, and can be found in ISU’s ANSI standards collection. Each of the four volumes of the ASHRAE Handbook (Reference and Design Reference TH7222 Am351x), which itself includes no standards, contains a subject index to standards published by various groups, including ASHRAE, that focus on heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration. ASHRAE standards can be searched in the bookstore on the ASHRAE website.

ASME Standards (American Society of Mechanical Engineers)
The ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (TJ281 .A45, Standards Center, Room 161 Parks Library), is being generously gifted to the library by an ISU faculty member and is the largest set of ASME standards owned by the ISU Library. The library also owns individual ASME standards adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). These can be found in ISU’s ANSI standards collection. A searchable index of ASME standards is available at the ASME website.

British Standards
The ISU Library does not actively collect British Standards. Some British standards are also issued/adopted by ISO or ANSI. Check the databases under the Search Engines tab to see if a similar standard is available from ANSI or ISO. If you need a British Standard that ISU does not own - see the tab for Requesting Standards Not Owned.

Building Codes - see ICC (International Code Council)

Federal Government Standards
The General Services Administration is charged with the responsibility for preparing standards, often called government specifications, government specs, or government standards, for common items used by U. S. Government agencies. Some of these standards can also be located online through the DoD web page or the Index of Federal Specifications and Standards.

Federal Regulations
Many standards are incorporated into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) (Reference KF70 .A33). The Code of Federal Regulations is indexed by the CFR Index and Finding Aids (Reference KF70 .A33) and the Index to the Code of Federal Regulations (Reference KF70 .A34 I46). The CFR is kept up to date between revisions by individual issues of the Federal Register (Reference KF70 .A2). These two publications must be used together to ascertain the latest date of any given regulation.

ICC (International Code Council)
The ISU Library maintains current subscriptions to a number of building codes from the International Code Council (ICC) formed in 1994 by the consolidation of three earlier standards developing organizations (BOCA, ICBO, SBCCI). These codes include the International Building Code (TH223 .I57x, Standards Center, Room 161 Parks Library or Design Reference), the International Mechanical Code (TH6010 .I58x, Standards Center, Room 161 Parks Library), the International Plumbing Code (K3542 .I58, Standards Center, Room 161 Parks Library), and the International Energy Conservation Code (K2538 .I5835, latest ed. Design Reference, next-to-latest ed. Standards Center, Room 161 Parks Library). There are also building codes and standards not held by the ISU Library. Locate information about them using the Standards Search Engines section of this guide.

IEEE Standards (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)
Many of the IEEE standards, though not all, have been adopted by the American National Standards Institute, e.g., the National Electrical Safety Code, ANSI C2. ANSI/IEEE standards and other IEEE standards can also be identified and accessed in full text through IEEE Xplore. Off-campus researchers will be prompted to login using their ISU ID# and library PIN.

ITU Standards (International Telecommunications Union)
The ITU website has a standards page with a search feature. Many are available free.

Military Standards
Military procurement specifications and standards are generally not available at the ISU Library. However, an electronic index to more than 100,000 specifications and standards is available, and many of these are linked in full text for free. In addition, Index of Specifications and Standards--Department of Defense, or DODISS, is an index to all specifications and standards adopted by the Department of Defense. Part I is a numerical Listing; Part II is an alphabetical listing; Part III consists of the Federal Supply Classification Listing, and Part IV consists of a listing of canceled standards. Military standards that are not available for free can be acquired for a nominal fee from the Department of Defense Single Stock Point: DODSSP, Building 4/Section D, 700 Robbins Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111 (215-697-2179).

National Aerospace Standards (Aerospace Industries Association)
Developed and updated by the National Aerospace Standards Committee of the AIA, the National Aerospace Standards (TL671.1 N36x 1900z, General Collection) and Metric National Aerospace Standards (TL521 N37x 1978, General Collection) include many standards on precision fasteners as well as other aerospace hardware. Also searchable online via the AIA website or Global IHS.

National Bureau of Standards (NBS)
NBS is the former name of NIST.  NBS publications are in the process of being digitized and made freely available in full-text through TRAIL (Technical Report Archive & Image Library). For newer standards - see NIST Standards.

National Electrical Code see National Fire Codes.

National Fire Codes
This compilation of National Fire Protection Association codes, standards, recommended practice and guides (TH9115 .N213n, Standards Center, Room 161 Parks Library) is published annually in multiple volumes, which include an index volume. The National Electrical Code, also known as NFPA 70 or ANSI/NFPA 70 is included in this set.

NISO Standards (National Information Standards Organization)
NISO "identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical standards to manage information in our changing and ever more digital environment." NISO standards such as Z39.50 are available as ANSI standards and current NISO standards are also free online via NISO Standards. Older NISO standards may be available within the Library's ANSI Collection - use the Quick Search box on the Library homepage to see if one you want is available at ISU.

NIST Standards (National Institute of Standards and Technology, formerly the National Bureau of Standards (NBS))
The Library has several dozen NIST and NBS serials titles listed in the ISU Quick Search. Some standards can be found on the NIST Standards page.

OSHA Standards (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
These safety and health standards are located in Title 29, Part 1910 of the Code of Federal Regulations (In Reference at KF70 A3), which includes a comprehensive subject index. An electronic version of the standards with a searchable index is available on the OSHA website.

SAE Standards (Society of Automotive Engineers)
SAE groups its standards into three sections: Ground Vehicle Standards, Aerospace Standards, and Aerospace Material Specifications. Full text of SAE Ground Vehicle Standards, Recommended Practices, and Information Reports can be found in the SAE Handbook in the General Collection (TL151 S1 - the library has scattered years from 1937-2005). Some Aerospace Material Specifications (AMS) are in the General Collection for 1999-2003 (TL950 .A37x). The ISU Library does not own the Aerospace Standards section. Some individual SAE standards, if they have been adopted by the American National Standards Institute, can be found in the ANSI standards cabinets (Room 161 Parks Library) and are listed in Quick Search on the Library homepage. Descriptions of individual SAE standards are available through subject groupings at the SAE website.

Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineeers
Standards for this society are freely available on the web at the society's website. Some older versions are available in the ANSI collection, Room 161, Parks Library.

Standard Specifications for Construction of Roads and Bridges on Federal Highway Projects
These specifications (TE180 U65, General Collection) are published by the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. The most recent edition is also online at the Office of Federal Lands Highway website.

W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)
W3C contributes to efforts to standardize Web technologies by producing specifications (called "Recommendations") that describe the building blocks of the Web, such as HTML and XML. W3C makes these recommendations and other technical reports freely available through the W3C website.

Erin Thomas's picture
Erin Thomas
150 Parks Library
Iowa State University
515 294-9886