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Standards Guide

The Ryerson Library has a small incomplete collection of standards and specifications. While there are few paper copies most are available either through websites or by purchasing them from some of the agencies listed below.

Copyright laws apply to standards and the copying of entire standards is illegal without prior permission which is unlikely to be granted.


Searching for Standards

Standards are detailed instructions about how something is to be manufactured, managed, designed, or otherwise handled. The term "standard" is sometimes used interchangeably with the term "specification," although a specification is usually limited to ascertain application whereas a standard has broader, more universal application and often repetitive processes. Standards are usually written by an authoritative body such as a professional organization, a government agency, or a manufacturer. The IEEE, for example, publishes electronic and electrical engineering standards.

In order to locate a standard you should (ideally) have the following:

  • The name of the publishing organization (e.g., IEEE, SAE, ASME)
  • The standard number
  • The title
  • The date of the standard
  • The subject

There are indexes you can use to help you identify the standard or specification you need by either number, if you have that information, or by subject, if you do not.

  • In the Ryerson Library, the comprehensive index, in print, for this purpose is the Index and Directory of Industry Standards: National and International. T59.2.U6 I5 1989-90, v. 1-4.


  • Since the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) adopts many of the industry standards developed by such organizations as IEEE checking their site online, can be helpful in turning up references to relevant standards by keyword as well as by standard number.


  • Other specialized indexes exist for military standards, federal standards, foreign national standards, etc. These indexes are identified and cited in the respective sections below and hypertext links provided in those cases where a web version of the index is available.

Canadian Standards

The Ryerson Library receives some standards, test methods, and specifications published by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB). For an index to this collection use the Canadian General Standards Board. CGSB catalogue. Reference (2nd Floor) TA368 .C263 2003 or access through the CGSB Electronic Catalogue (updated quarterly). The index lists current standards, test methods, and specifications by standard number as well as by subject. Cross references for any Canadian standard that has dual designation with other standards, including ASTM, ISO, and ANSI, are included.

Also Available

CGSB catalogue of standards applicable to the national master specification for building construction. TH425 .C48 1982

Canadian General Standards Board. CGSB specification. TA368.C265 32.163M

CSA Standards (online resource)

This website is your portal to the entire collection of Canadian Standards Association's standards and standard-related documents.

Canadian and Ontario Building Codes

United States Standards

Handbooks Containing Standards and Standards Information

ASHRA Handbooks: Fundamentals available on CDROM (2nd floor AV Collection) TH7225.A84 1998, HVAC Applications TH7225.H488 1995, AC Systems and Equipment TH7223.A517 1996, and Refrigeration TP492.A75 1998 - Lists codes and standards relating to air-conditioning, heating, refrigeration, and ventilation materials, equipment, systems, and applications developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning Engineers. Editions of the ASHRAE handbooks are either in the stacks or on CDROM. Additional information is available on the ASHRAE Standards Online web page, including access to a subject/numeric index and a numerical listing of all ASHRAE standards.

ANSI Standards

Ryerson collects a limited number of standards developed or adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). They can be found under ANSI in the catalogue or by the name of the standard. ANSI Online offers online access to information on ANSI and on national and international standards-related activities. The ANSI-ISO-IEC Catalog is a searchable database of the more than 11,000 approved American National Standards.

Search for ANSI standards, as well as other U.S. private sector standards bodies, government agencies and international organizations, use NSSN: A National Resource for Global Standards

NISO Standards

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) develops and promotes technical standards used in information services, libraries, and publishing, such as NISO/ANSI/ISO 12083, Electronic Manuscript Preparation and Markup, and ANSI/NISO Z39.5 0. The website is located at http://www.niso.org/

UL Standards

Ryerson does not collect Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards. The Underwriters Laboratories Web Site offers access to the UL Catalog of Standards, which provides a numerical listing as well as an alphabetical listing by keyword of its published and proposed standards.

Test Methods for Environmental/Biological Analyses

  • Methods and Guidance for Analysis of Water - To review a list of current EPA methods for the analysis of water, see the Index to EPA Test Methods on the web.

United States Federal Standards, Specifications, and Test Methods

The Ryerson Library does not collect United States Federal Standards. Browsable alphabetical and numeric listings of US Federal standards and specifications and commercial item descriptions are available through the US General Services Administration (GSA) publications website.

US Military Standards and Specifications

Ryerson does not collect military standards and specifications. An index is available on the DTIC web site as DODSSP Online. This online index provides access to information on unclassified military specifications, standards, and related standardization documents, and those non-government standards adopted for DoD use. The full-text of many DOD Specifications and Standards is now available.

Other US Government Agency Standards

  • DOE - Department of Energy Building Energy Codes Program (BECP). The DOE provides information on energy codes and standards for buildings including the full text of certain standards on its BECP webpage.
  • NIST - National Institute of Standards & Technology. Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) were developed by NIST for federal computer systems. From the FIPS Home Page you can browse the FIPS standards by category (hardware and software standards, data standards, computer security standards, and telecommunications standards) and by standard number, or search the FIPS standards catalog by keyword.

Other Foreign National Standards

  • Deutches Institut fur Normung (DIN) Standards. The publishing company Beuth Verlag in Berlin provides access to their catalog of DIN standards on the web. You can search by keyword or by DIN standard number. The pull-down menu will show you the price for the German standard as well as for the English translation, if one is available.
  • Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS). The JIS Committee Home Page provides information on the development and marketing of JIS standards.

For links to Internet sites with information on the standards and standardization activities of other foreign countries, link to the World Standards Services Network.

International Standards

  • ISO - International Organization for Standardization. ISO Online provides access to an online catalog of ISO standards which can be searched by title word and by standard number. Ordering information is also provided. ISO standards can also be ordered through ANSI.
  • A selection of ISO and IEC standards are publically available.
  • ITU - International Telecommunications Union. The ITU is an international organization within which governments and the private sector coordinate global telecom networks and services, including the coordination, development, regulation and standardization of telecommunications worldwide. Ryerson does not collect ITU standards. The ITU World Wide Web Site provides information on the standardization activities of the ITU.

The ISO also provides information on other International Standards Organizations.

ISO 9000 Quality Standards

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9000 series has been adopted by countries worldwide, including the US and Canada, as the national standard for quality assurance and quality control. Please note that in the US the ISO 9000 series has been issued by the American Society for Quality Control as ASQC Q90 - Q94. The Ryerson Library has some books on implementing ISO 9000. To locate these books, do a keyword search in the Ryerson Library Catalogue using the term "iso". Additional information on the ISO 9000 Quality Series can be obtained on the World Wide Web from the ISO 9000 News Service.

Internet Meta-Sites for Standards Information

Commercial Documentary Delivery Services

  • Document Center - Commercial document delivery service for government and industry standards and specifications. The online catalog can be searched, for free, by keyword or standard number. Standards and specifications listed in the catalog can be ordered online for a fee.
  • Document Engineering Co., Inc. - Although currently closed , this commercial document delivery service for US industry standards, government specifications and standards, and foreign and international standards has some useful links.
  • IHS/Global Engineering Documents - Global Engineering Documents is a commercial clearinghouse for current and historical engineering specifications, standards, and technical documents from 400 standards-developing organizations worldwide, including ISO and JIS, for example. Through Global's Web site, you can search the company's database of available standards by standard number or title keyword, and order standards online.
  • IHS (Information Handling Services) Web Server - Access, for a fee, to full text standards including all US military specs and standards as well as information on standards from more than 50 standards developing organizations, many of which include scanned images of the actual documents.

Standards can be found in the CSA Standards Database (see Quick Facts tab for more description) and the following resources:

IEEE Xplore
IEEE Xplore is a digital library providing full text access to the world's highest quality technical literature in electrical engineering, computer science, biomedical and aerospace. IEEE Xplore contains full text documents from IEEE journals, magazines, conference proceedings, standards, books, transactions, letters, and IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology) publications.

ASTM Standards Source Online
Access to the ASTM International collection of current or active technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services through 'MyStandards'. Access to some full text papers, journals, manuals through 'MyDigital Library'.

CSA Standards
This website is your portal to the entire collection of CSA's standards and standard-related documents. Every document is available in Adobe Acrobat format so it can be viewed right in your Internet browser window. Documents can be printed for reference – everything you need! The service also includes available French language versions of standards and access to CSA's Standards archives, for the current version of standards in your library collection.

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