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Standards & Specifications: A How-To Guide

Learn how to search for, and locate, full text of industry standards with this how-to guide from the Iowa State University Library.

Other Frequently Requested Standards

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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, Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges, and Guide Specifications for Highway Construction. We also have a subscription to current AASHTO Provisional Standards. Other AASHTO standards can be identified with the Standards Search Engines or through the AASHTO online bookstore.

Many AASHTO publications, including standards and specifications, are available to ISU affiliates through Knovel. Researchers will be prompted to log in for access.

American Concrete Institute

The ACI Collection of Concrete Codes, Specifications, and Practices 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. Also includes ACI concrete and masonry code requirements, specifications, guides and reports. This set was formerly titled ACI Manual of Concrete Practice and earlier editions under this title are available (and can be checked out from) our general collection.

American Gear Manufacturers Association

AGMA standards from 1959-1999 are collected in a loose-leaf notebook in the Standards Center. Many more AGMA standards are available within the ANSI collection and can be found using Quick Search.

Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute

These are free on the AHRI website.

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

AIAA standards can be browsed via the AIAA publications list. Some AIAA standards can be found in the ISU Library's ANSI standards collection. If you need an AIAA standard that ISU does not own - see the tab for Requesting Standards Not Owned.

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, with newer editions available online through the ASABE Technical Library. Off-campus researchers will be prompted to log in.

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 hard copy - look for specific ASCE standard titles via Quick Search.

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, 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.

Read-only versions of some ASHRAE standards are also available on the ASHRAE website.

British Standards Institute

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.

Refer to ICC (International Code Council).

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.

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.

International Code Council

The ISU Library maintains current subscriptions to a number of building codes from the International Code Council (ICC). The ICC was formed in 1994 by the consolidation of three earlier standards developing organizations (BOCA, ICBO, SBCCI). These codes include the International Building Code, the International Mechanical Code, the International Plumbing Code, and the International Energy Conservation Code.

The ISU Library provides online access to the ICC Building Codes for ISU affiliates. Off-campus researchers will be prompted to log in.

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.

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 through IEEE Xplore. Researchers will need to log in with ISU credentials.

International Telecommunications Union

The ITU website has a standards page with a search feature. Many are available for free.

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).

Aerospace Industries Association

Developed and updated by the National Aerospace Standards Committee of the AIA, the National Aerospace Standards and Metric National Aerospace Standards include many standards on precision fasteners as well as other aerospace hardware. Also searchable online via the AIA website or Global IHS.

The compilation of National Fire Protection Association codes, standards, recommended practice and guides 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.

National Bureau of Standards

NBS is the former name of NIST. NBS publications are in the process of being digitized and made freely available through TRAIL (Technical Report Archive & Image Library). For newer standards - see NIST 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 Quick Search to see if the one you want is available at ISU.

National Institute of Standards and Technology

NIST was formerly known as the National Bureau of Standards (NBS). The Library has several dozen NIST and NBS serials titles which can be found using Quick Search. Some standards can be found on the NIST Standards page.

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 International; formerly Society of Automotive Engineers

SAE International 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 (the library has scattered years from 1937-2005). Some Aerospace Material Specifications (AMS) are in the General Collection for 1999-2003. 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 can be found using Quick Search. Descriptions of individual SAE standards are available through subject groupings at the SAE website.

Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers

Standards for this society are freely available on the web at the SCTE website. Some older versions are available in the ANSI standards collection, Room 161, Parks Library.

Standard Specifications for Construction of Roads & Bridges on Federal Highway Projects

These specifications are published by the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. Some older editions are housed in our General Collection. The most recent edition is online at the Office of Federal Lands Highway website.

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.

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Kris Stacy-Bates
150 Parks Library

Iowa State University

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