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Research Guides

Search for Standards @UW Libraries

Finding standards can be complicated and confusing. There are thousands of standards from a mind-boggling array of sources. You will encounter cryptic numbering systems and frequent title changes. Most print standards at the Engineering library are on the first floor of the Library. Find most of what the Engineering Library has by searching the Engineering Library Standards Database .

In addition to the print, we have online access to  ASTM Standards Online  [UW Restricted] and IEEE standards which are only available via IEEE Xplore [UW Restricted] .

The ANSI IBR (Incorporated by Reference) Portal provides read-only access to the full-text of ANSI, ISO, IEC and other standards that are referenced in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.

Please note that the edition held by the Engineering Library, may not be the most current edition of the standard. To check for other editions of a standard, search the IHS Standards Store or ask at the Information Desk for assistance.

The standards held in the Engineering Library are primarily engineering related. For standards related to other subjects, you might try checking with other libraries. For example, the Health Sciences and Architecture Libraries may also have standards in their collections.

Finding Standards Elsewhere

If you are a current UW student,faculty or staff and need a standard for your course or research, contact the Engineering Library first before purchasing. We consider standard purchase requests on a case by case basis.

ASSIST: the Department of Defense Military Specifications, Standards and Related Publications
 ASSIST is the official source for specifications and standards used by the Department of Defense. ASSIST is a robust, comprehensive web site used by standardization management activities to develop, coordinate, distribute, and manage defense and federal specifications and standards, military handbooks, commercial item descriptions, data item descriptions, and related technical documents prepared in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Defense Standardization Program (DSP). Besides DoD-prepared documents, ASSIST also has selected international standardization agreements, such as NATO standards ratified by the United States and International Test Operating Procedures. Overview of ASSIST.

Department of Energy (DOE) Technical Standards
As stated, the mission of the DOE Technical Standards Program is to: "...enhance DOE's transition to a standards-based culture by providing information, coordinating activities, and promoting the use of consensus standards, and when needed, the development of DOE technical standards." The website includes a searchable database to efficiently access the most relevant information.

Document Center
Document Center Inc. specializes in paper copy delivery of specifications and standards. This is technical information used in trade, engineering, manufacturing, and other aspects of commerce. They can be government documents, such as regulations, or industry documents - for example, ANSI standards.

IHS Standards Store
Provides a searchable catalog of over one million documents from over 450 standards organizations and sells standards in hard-copy and in digital format.

Techstreet
Techstreet provides engineering and technical documents from over 55 standards developing nations.

Exceptions @Engineering Library

There are some exceptions to what is included in the Engineering Library Standards Database. The following are not included in this database:

  • AASHTO
  • ASTM
  • Mil-Specs or MIL-Stds
  • NAS
  • SAE J-Series
  • UBC

How to Get Standards not in the Library

If you need a standard that is not available in the UW Libraries, your options include:

  1. Contact the Engineering Librarian.  If you are a UW student, staff or faculty we might be able to purchase a copy. Any standards we purchase will be added to the Library collection.
  2. Use Document Delivery. Interlibrary Loan can try to borrow a copy from another library, although standards are not often lent.  Please provide as much information as possible on the Document Delivery form. 
  3. Purchase a copy yourself. If you are pressed for time, this might be your only option.  Look at the section called "Finding Standards Elsewhere" on this guide.
  4. The Seattle Public Library no longer has a collection of standards.

Learn More

NIST Virtual Museum The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) offers several online exhibits illustrating the development of standards in different contexts. Exhibits include: Standardization of Women's Clothing, Weights and Measures, NIST Stone Test Wall and Bat Missle.

ANSI Internet Resources
The American National Standards Institute's (ANSI) collection of Internet Resources gathers together the many “powered by ANSI” web resources along with links to other organizations and information sources with missions and activities of interest to the standardization and conformity assessment community.

European Patent Office: Driving innovation with award-winning inventions
The list of milestone contributions to the world's most relevant industry standards includes several winners and finalists of the European Inventor Award, the annual tribute to inventors organised by the European Patent Office (EPO).

Computer & Communications Standards
Scores of links to standard bodies, including but not limited to, Internet standards.