Standards

Government agencies, professional societies, businesses, and organizations devoted almost exclusively to the production of standards produce codes, specifications, and standards. In USA the American National Standards Institute (ANSI located in New York City) acts as a clearing house for industrial standards. ANSI frequendy represents the interests of USA industries at international meetings. Copies of standards from most industrial countries can be purchased from ANSI as well as from the originators.

Copies of standards issued by government agencies are available from several centers maintained by the government for the distribution of publications. Most libraries do not collect government specifications. Many of the major engineering societies issue specifications in areas related to their functions. These specifications are usually developed, and revised, by membership committees.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has been a pioneer in publishing codes concerned with areas in which mechanical engineers are active. As an example in 1885 ASME formed a Standardization Committee on Pipe and Pipe Threads to provide for greater interchangeability.

A frequently used collection of specifications is the Annual Book of Standards (53-55) issued by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Committees drawn primarily from the industry most immediately concerned with the topic prepare these standards. A member of the standards department usually prepares the standards written by individual companies. They are frequendy almost identical to standards issued by societies and government agencies and make frequent references to these standards. The main reason for these in-house standards is to enable the company to revise a standard quickly in order to impose special requirements on a vendor.

The USA government is the largest publisher in the world. Most of the publications are available from the Superintendent of Documents (USA Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402). Publication catalogs are available on the Government Printing Office web site, GPO.gov. Increasingly, the GPO is relying on electronic dissemination rather than print. These publications are provided, free of charge, to depository libraries throughout the country. Depository libraries are obligated to keep these publications for a minimum of five years and to make them readily available to the public. The government agencies most likely to publish information of interest to engineers are probably the National Institute of Science and Technology, the Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Technical Information Service.

The large number of standards issued by a variety of organizations has resulted in a number of identical or equivalent standards. IHS (Information Handling Services, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, Co 80150) makes available virtually all standards on CD-ROM.

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