Finding Standards

A standard is

a document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body, that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context. (Definition provided by the ISO and IEC).

Standards provide guidance on the design, use or performance of materials, products, processes, services, systems or persons. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with specifications, but standards are for more universal and repetitive processes.

The S&E Library has the following collections of standards:

  • American Society for Testing and Materials
    Annual Book of ASTM Standards
    S&E Reference TA401 .A653
  • IEEE (+selected AIEE and ANSI standards related to electrical & computer engineering)
    Online via IEEE Xplore
  • American Concrete Institute
    ACI Manual of Concrete Practice
    S&E Reference TA439 .A3
  • International Building Codes
    S&E Reference K3538.A15 I5 (also on the S&E Library’s CD-ROM station)
  • Society of Automotive Engineers
    SAE Handbook (most recent: 2005)
    S&E Reference TL1 .S6914

Searching for Standards - S&E and Beyond 

There are additional, selected standards in the UCSD and other UC Libraries. Use the Roger and Melvyl catalogs to find standards at UCSD and the other UC’s, respectively.

To locate a standard you should (ideally) have at least three of the following:

  • The name of the publishing organization
  • The standard number
  • The title
  • The subject

To find more information about a standard, you can search the publishing organization’s catalog (ASTM, ISO, ANSI, IEC, DOE, etc.), a standards search engine like NSSN, or a commercial standards vendor like TechStreet. You may find that a particular organization makes at least some of their standards available for free, but most of them are only available for purchase.

If UCSD doesn't have the standard?

UCSD faculty, students and staff can use our interlibrary loan service to request standards not available at S&E. You can use the various standards catalogs, search engines and vendors to find the information you'll need when submitting the request (standard number, title, publisher, etc.). This service is subsidized to $40, and fees may accrue if a standard costs more than that. The public can order standards through UCSD using PLUS Information Services, and anyone is free to order standards via commercial document vendors.