Why You Need Standards
Technical standards keep us safe, enable technology to advance, and help businesses succeed. They quietly make the modern world tick and prevent technological problems that you might not realize could even happen.
Types of Standards
Documentary standards come in many forms. Standards setting and standards developing organizations each have their own “types” of standards, as they define them. In general, there are two types of standards.
There is a diversity of bodies involved in the preparation of standards used globally. These include governmental or treaty organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and organizations that are either specialized in standardization or involved in other activities. In general, an international standard is voluntary and has no legal status unless a regulatory authority requires conformance to that standard.
It is the policy of the U.S. government to use the term "international standard" to refer to standards developed in conformity with the principles of the WTO TBT Committee's 2000 Decision on the Principles for the Development of International Standards, which include (1) openness; (2) transparency; (3) impartiality and consensus; (4) relevance and effectiveness; (5) coherence; and (6) the development dimension.
Though many standards developers in the United States are international in scope and participation, there are several international standards bodies that operate by national representative participation, including:
There are thousands of sector specific standards in the U.S. developed by professionals in specific industry sectors such as telecommunications, concrete, fire protection, information technology, etc. Many sector-specific standards are included in the standards search engines provided by standards aggregators.
However, when looking for standards it is useful to also search a standards developer's site. There are over 600 standards developers based in the U.S., many of which are international in scope and participation. The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) maintains a listing of U.S. industry standards developing organizations on the ANSI Standards Portal.
Looking for a standard? You can begin with a simple online search. Featured here are some specialized search tools that will help you work faster and smarter.
Before you begin your search, be aware that most standards must be purchased in electronic or hard copy form from the standards developer that publishes the standard or an authorized standards reseller. Here are a few tips on searching for standards.
Military standards are important for government contracts and procurement. You can search for government and military standards (and in many cases get the text for free) on:
These free specialized databases aggregate the collections of the major standards developers worldwide and can help you quickly search a global library of standards. Searching these databases is free and all offer the option of purchasing the standard. Most of the sites have advanced search options and let you search by standards developing organization (SDO.)
The purpose of the Voluntary Product Standards is to establish nationally recognized requirements for products and to provide all concerned interests with a basis for common understanding of the characteristics of a product.