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NIST Technical Note 1297: Preface to the 1994 Edition

The previous edition, which was the first, of this National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Technical Note (TN 1297) was initially published in January 1993. A second printing followed shortly thereafter, and in total some 10 000 copies were distributed to individuals at NIST and in both the United States at large and abroad - to metrologists, scientists, engineers, statisticians, and others who are concerned with measurement and the evaluation and expression of the uncertainty of the result of a measurement. On the whole, these individuals gave TN 1297 a very positive reception. We were, of course, pleased that a document intended as a guide to NIST staff was also considered to be of significant value to the international measurement community.

Several of the recipients of the 1993 edition of TN 1297 asked us questions concerning some of the points it addressed and some it did not. In view of the nature of the subject of evaluating and expressing measurement uncertainty and the fact that the principles presented in TN 1297 are intended to be applicable to a broad range of measurements, such questions were not at all unexpected.

It soon occurred to us that it might be helpful to the current and future users of TN 1297 if the most important of these questions were addressed in a new edition. To this end, we have added to the 1993 edition of TN 1297 a new appendix - Appendix D - which attempts to clarify and give additional guidance on a number of topics, including the use of certain terms such as accuracy and precision. We hope that this new appendix will make this 1994 edition of TN 1297 even more useful than its predecessor.

We also took the opportunity provided us by the preparation of a new edition of TN 1297 to make very minor word changes in a few portions of the text. These changes were made in order to recognize the official publication in October 1993 of the ISO Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement on which TN 1297 is based (for example, the reference to the Guide was updated); and to bring TN 1297 into full harmony with the Guide (for example, "estimated correction" has been changed to simply "correction," and "can be asserted to lie" has been changed to "is believed to lie").

September 1994
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Created November 6, 2015, Updated November 15, 2019