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Engineering & Applied Science Research Guide

A research guide to introduce you to engineering resources at the library, including databases, journals, tools, technical documents, and other materials.

Frequently Asked Questions About Technical Standards

What are standards?

Technical standards are formal documents meant to establish specifications and procedures that maximize the efficiency, safety, and effectiveness of products, production methods, and services. They're intended, in a sense, to get everyone "on the same page" in regards to how products, methods, and services can best be developed.

What information is included in a standard?

A standard usually includes definition of terms, classification of components, descriptions of procedures, specification of dimensions, design, materials, operation, and performance, quality measurements, testing and sample methods, and descriptions, of size, fit, and strength, as appropriate.

Where do standards come from?

Standards are produced by a wide array of organizations, including corporations, professional associations, regulatory bodies, and government agencies around the world. Many standards are developed by Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs), whose sole purpose are to produce, maintain, and update technical standards and related documents.

Why are standards so expensive?

Many standards come with a high price tag. This is often because they are so costly for standards developing organizations to develop and maintain. People who purchase standards are supporting the process that developed the standard, which is a very important process! However, there are also many standards that are available openly online in connection with government agencies and nonprofit organizations, if you know where to look.

What standards do I have access to as a Gonzaga student/staff/faculty?

We maintain subscriptions to ASTM Standards and IEEE Standards, two large databases of normally proprietary standards and technical documents which together cover a wide area of the most widely used documents in engineering, manufacturing, and computing. We are also sometimes able to borrow standards via Interlibrary Loan, but not always, due to copyright restrictions and expenses. If your ILL request is rejected, you'll be contacted directly by the staff, who will connect you with the Engineering Librarian so that we can look for alternatives.

Standards Tutorial from U of Minnesota Libraries

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