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New Directory of U.S. Standards Activities Now Available

A new edition of the directory of Standards Activities of Organizations in the United States (SP 806) has been published by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology. The 1996 edition summarizes the standards activities of more than 700 organizations in the United States, including approximately 80 federal agencies and 620 private-sector groups that issue standards.

The new directory, the seventh in a series started in 1941, was prepared for the NIST Office of Standards Services, which serves as the national focal point for information on domestic and international standards and certification programs. The largest section of the directory contains an alphabetical listing of approximately 620 non-government organizations that develop standards, contribute to the standardization process in partnership with other organizations, or are sources of documents and information. Each listing includes the type of organization, the scope of its standards and standardization activities (whether voluntary or mandatory), the availability of its standards and its other conformity assessment activities.

To prepare for the new directory, editor Robert B. Toth invited more than 1,200 non-government organizations and 100 federal agencies to provide information. The responses indicate that 19 non-government standards developers have prepared more than 34,600 standards, accounting for more than 71 percent of those developed in the private sector. In all, approximately 620 non-government organizations maintain an estimated 49,000 standards. Accordingly, these constitute about 53 percent of the greater than 93,000 standards in the United States.

Approximately 28 percent of the private-sector standards were developed by scientific and professional societies, another 32 percent by trade associations, and the remaining 34 percent by standards-developing organizations such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (which has published approximately 9,900). The remaining 6 percent were published by informal standards developers.

Prominent among 19 major non-government standards developers are the Aerospace Industries Association (3,000 standards), American National Standards Institute (1,400), Association of American Railroads (1,400), Association of Official Analytical Chemists (2,100), Society of Automotive Engineers (4,550) and the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (5,000).

This publication is vitally important at this time since standards are playing a greater role in fostering domestic and international trade," says OSS Director Belinda L. Collins. Both the government and private sector depend heavily on standards and conformity assessment procedures to ensure public health, safety, protection of the environment and product quality."

For example, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code which contains more than 12,000 pages and has been used worldwide is a compilation of safety and performance requirements for power and heating boilers, nuclear reactors and power plants, and pressure vessels. It contains sections on materials and the rules of construction for nuclear power plants.

In addition to the major section on private-sector organizations, the new directory contains entries for approximately 80 federal agencies, departments and other organizational components that develop standards. NIST reports that approximately 44,000 standards have been developed by the federal agencies, with more than 34,000 of these issued or prepared by the Department of Defense. An additional 2,000 are standards and specifications developed for federal procurement under the General Services Administration.

The directory also contains a section on sources for standards and related information; a subject index; and listings that cover organizational acronyms and initials, former names and groups listed in the previous directory that are no longer involved with standards.

Copies of the directory, Standards Activities of Organizations in the United States (SP 806), are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. Order by stock no. 003-003-03427-4.

A non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.

Released November 25, 1996, Updated November 27, 2017