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Standards Resources: Basic Information

This is a basic subject guide to standards series that are paid by subscriptions, individual purchase, or free.

What is a standard?

A standard is a "rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality" which is "set up and established by authority."
(Based on Webster's Third New International Dictionary: the English Language Unabridged. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster Inc. Publishers, 1993.)

Information Assistance

If you need help determining whether the Purdue Libraries provide access to a specific standard, please call the Engineering Library's Information Desk at 494-2873. You may also use the Libraries' Ask A Librarian service.

Standards not owned by Purdue may be requested via the Engineering Library's Purchase Request

Standards Organizations

Here are valuable websites from national and international standards organizations: 

Standards Developing Organizations (linked from ANSI website)

ISO Members arranged by country

Organizations that work in cooperation with ISO 

Welcome to Purdue University Libraries' Standards Collection

Purdue University Libraries provides standards from a variety of organizations in print and online formats.through serial subscriptions, special funding, and one-time purchases. 

Many national and international standards are purchased in print format as needed, cataloged individually, and shelved in the Engineering Library's Standards Collection.

Databases for Identifying Standards

Two databases are useful for identifying all kinds of standards.

Specifications and Standards (IHS Standards Expert) (to learn how to use this database, please use our online tutorial) is a subscription database of national and international standards. The Libraries provide full-text access for Purdue users to a subset of the standards: ASTM, AASHTO, ASHRAE, ASME, ASME BPVC, ICC, ICAO, and NFPA.    ASTM is also available through the ASTM Compass

Type terms in Search box on upper left hand side:

Document Number or Organization
Keyword(s) or Text

NSSN: Search Engine for Standards is a free website that indexes many standards. The database is provided by ANSI and is available to everyone. Purdue has no subscriptions through NSSN

Purdue's Standards Database and Collections

The Engineering Library has historically subscribed to thousands of print standards approved by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI).  We now buy selectively.

Purdue University Standards Database (to learn how to use this database, please use our online tutorialis a searchable catalog of these print standards. Click on Purdue Collections tab for information about how the print standards are shelved.

Major Standards Issuing Bodies tab outlines several standards organizations that offer Purdue subscriptions or free access. Some standards are print while others are online.  

We also suggest reviewing the tabs for: Indiana Codes, International Codes (ICC), and Government Regs and Standards.

ANSI Incorporated by Reference Portal

ANSI Incorporated by Reference IBR Standards Portal is hosted by ANSI and contains read only access to Standards Incorporated by Reference in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.  No Purdue subscriptions are involved.

These organizations have a browsable list of standards on the portal or on their own websites.  To read the standard(s), you must install a FileOpen plug-in.  You must register and may view the standard once. From the list of standards, select the standard. Print and download features are not available.

Subject Guide

Margaret Phillips
158 POTR
Siegesmund Engineering Library
Website / Blog Page

Standards Citation in APA Format (adapted)


ASTM International. (2013). Standard terminology of facility management (building-related).  ASTM E1480-92 (Reapproved 2013). West Conshohocken, PA: ASTM International.