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Mechanical Engineering Research Guide

Introductory guide to library research and resources for faculty, staff, and students in mechanical engineering.

How to find standards

Most of the ISU Library-owned standards are located in the Standards Center, Room 161, Parks Library. If you need assistance locating standards, or the Standards Center, please ask at the Main Desk or contact your librarian.

The citation to a standard typically has at least two parts, a number and a title. It may include more information, such as a date of revision or the number of pages. The alphabetic section of the standard number is often an acronym for the issuing body, or a combination of acronyms representing multiple issuing bodies. For example, the following standard was issued by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) in 1990: ASTM F1299-90, "Standard Specification for Food Service Equipment Hoods for Cooking Appliances."

Using Quick Search to find standards:

Use Quick Search to search for the number. You should filter ("Tweak my results") to just ISU Collections (Books & more) on your search results page. Standards will be labeled as "text resource". They will be listed as located in the REFERENCE Standards Center and will have a call number that includes the standard number.

If this does not find the standard you need, check IHS Global to make sure you have the right number and to obtain the title. Other options: try searching Google or Google Books to see if the standard is included in any books that might be in our collection, then use Quick Search to check if we have those books. (For example, many ACI standards can be found in the ACI Collection of Concrete Codes, Specifications, and Practices.)

Use Quick Search to search for the title. If this returns too many results, use Advanced Search and set the drop-downs to "Title" and "starts with"). To preemptively limit only to ISU's collections, you should change the "Search Scope" to "Library Collections". You should leave "Material Type" set to "All".

Versions: Often, our collection includes more than one version of a standard. You may see a message that a number of versions exist -- this is usually a result of standards being revised over time. Click on this combined record and you'll see all the versions in our collection. From there, choose the version you want.

Location: To find where a standard is located in the Library, look for text that says "Available at Parks Library." The next few words will describe where the item is. For most standards, this will be REFERENCE Standards Center (Rm 161).

Note: Almost all of our standards currently display a message stating, "Your search did not match any physical resource in the library." This is not true. If there's a call number, the standard is in the location listed previously (usually Standards Center). This is due to a quirk of the platform underlying Quick Search and the way standards are cataloged.

Call number: The code that follows the location is the call number for the standard. Often, this is the standard number. (Be aware: if you've used a citation to identify the needed standard, the call number may vary from the number cited.) You will need to know this number in order to find the standard.

What do I do when I get to the Standards Center?

The majority of the standards are housed in filing cabinets that line the room. They are arranged alphabetically by the acronym for the issuing organization and by code/number. It's typically best to interpret punctuation as spaces. For example, ANSI/AASHTO/AWS D1.5M/D1.5:2010 is filed before ANSI C82.3, which comes before ANSI/ISO/ASQC 9000-2. If you have identified a standard and found it in Quick Search, but can't find it in the library, ask at the Main Desk or contact your librarian.

If you need to find a standard on a topic:

Search in IHS Global, looking for a standard title that corresponds to the specific topic of interest. You may have to start your search under a broader subject category or try keyword variations. Once you've identified a standard of interest, check Quick Search to see if it's part of our collection. If it is not in our collection and you are certain it will be useful to your research or project, you can talk to the standards librarian about adding it or request it for free through interlibrary loan!

Once you have located the title and number of the standards you need, then search for them in Quick Search to see if they are available at the library.

If you are looking for a standard from ASME, ASTM, or IEEE:

Full text of these standards is available online.


For more information, visit the Standards & Specifications guide.

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