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Traceability - NIST Policy and Supplementary Materials

NIST has developed an organizational policy on metrological traceability and a set of related supplementary materials, which includes answers to questions frequently asked by customers of NIST measurement services. The policy and supplementary materials are intended to serve as a resource for NIST customers. 


NIST is responsible for developing, maintaining and disseminating national standards - realizations of the SI - for the basic measurement quantities, and for many derived measurement quantities. NIST is also responsible for assessing the measurement uncertainties associated with the values assigned to these measurement standards. As such, the concept of measurement traceability is central to NIST's mission. NIST's customers frequently ask questions about traceability and about NIST's role in traceability. It is not always obvious what NIST's role is in helping other organizations establish traceability of their measurement results to standards developed and maintained by NIST.

The primary purpose of the NIST Policy on Metrological Traceability is to state the NIST role with respect to traceability. The Policy presents the definition of measurement traceability used by NIST, and clarifies the roles of NIST and others in achieving traceability of measurement results for measurements both internal and external to NIST.

The NIST Policy on Metrological Traceability also addresses the role of NIST in providing its customers with the tools they need (a) to assist them in establishing traceability of their measurement results, and (b) to assess the claims of traceability made by others. This is achieved directly through the provision of NIST measurement-related products and services, through collaboration with relevant organizations, through development and dissemination of technical information on traceability, and through conducting coordinated outreach programs.

The Policy, along with Supplementary Materials and NIST publications, supports NIST in articulating a consistent message regarding its role in traceability, and provides a basis for NIST to focus its efforts on needed communication and training areas. Related NIST outreach programs, referenced in the Policy, also represent and articulate the NIST role in traceability. The Supplementary Materials are intended to assist NIST staff in their understanding, interpretation, and implementation of the Policy, and to serve as a resource for NIST customers.

The NIST Policy on Traceability is contained in the NIST Administrative Manual, Subchapter 5.16.