Standards Research Guide
This guide provides some of the sources useful in identifying and locating industry standards. You will find a list of print, online, and Internet resources available through MSU Libraries. For further assistance with any of these resources, please contact Brad Brazzeal at (662) 325-7969 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also get assistance at the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor of Mitchell Memorial Library or through our Ask a Librarian service.
What are standards?
The following information has been excerpted from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) website:
A standard is a document that contains technical specifications or other precise criteria to be used consistently as a rule, guideline, or definition of characteristics, to ensure that materials, products, processes, personnel or services are competent and/or fit for their intended purpose(s).
Standardization activities in the United States are broad, complex, and decentralized. Private and public sector volunteers participate in the work on such activities with funding provided by themselves or their employers, not by U.S. Government subsidy. In the consensus process, no single organization is permitted to control the process, which is industry-led, even when Government representatives participate.
For the most part, standards in the United States are developed by the private sector based on a consensus process in which the developmental committees consider many points of view. Some standards in technological areas which are subject to rapid change (such as in electronics and information technology) may be developed by industry consortia.
Who develops standards in the U.S.?
Hundreds of private organizations in the United States develop standards. Standards Developing Organizations (SDO) differ greatly in size, membership, number of standards produced, and scope of work. General categories of SDO include:
+ Professional Societies whose members seek to advance their professions - but which also develop standards
+ Trade Associations promote their industry's products - and which also develop standards
+ Testing and certifying organizations produce their own standards and may also use those of other organizations
+ Organizations that only develop standards
+ Industry Consortia sometimes referred to as Standards Setting Organizations (SSO)
No single U.S. government organization oversees the voluntary standards development process in the United States. As directed by the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act, NIST brings together federal agencies as well as state and local governments to achieve greater reliance on voluntary standards and decreased dependence on in-house standards.
In particular, NIST works closely with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a federation of standards developers, government, industry, consumers, and other stakeholders. ANSI is the U.S. Member Body to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and sponsors the U.S. National Committee for International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and serves to coordinate U.S. private sector standards development activities. NIST and ANSI have signed a Memorandum of Understanding recognizing the NIST and ANSI roles in strengthening the national voluntary consensus standards system.