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Engineering Research Guide

Use this guide to find MSU Library resources and other helpful research tools in the various fields of Engineering.

What are standards? Video (1:25 mins)

What is a standard?

A standard is defined by the National Standards Policy Advisory Committee as:

"A prescribed set of rules, conditions, or requirements concerning definitions of terms; classification of components; specification of materials, performance, or operations; delineation of procedures; or measurement of quantity and quality in describing materials, products, systems, services, or practices."

What is a standard?  from ISO.


Why do we have them?

"[Standards] simplify product development, reduce unnecessary duplication, lower costs, increase productivity, promote safety, and permit interchangeability, compatibility, and interoperability. They help to advance scientific discovery, and keep people safe by minimizing injuries and protecting key environmental resources."  "They make modern conveniences possible: light bulbs fit into lamps, electronic files are transferred over the Internet, trains move between states because the tracks are the same gauge ..."

(ANSI Course Why Standards Matter)

Search for Engineering Standards

To locate a standard, you should have at least some of the following details:

    Name of the publishing organization (often referred to as the SDO - Standards Developing Organization)
    Standard number

Often, another information source will provide this information for you, but when it doesn't you may have to use one of the following search engines:

Search by Standards Organizations

You can also search for standards directly from the publishing organization or Standards Developing Organization (SDO):

Standards are produced by scientific and professional organizations, trade organizations, and governments, nationally and internationally.  In the United States, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) coordinates many standards developing organizations (SDOs).  ANSI is also the sole U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).  

Engineering Standards in the MSU Library

To search for physical copies of standards in the MSU Library:

  • Go to the MSU Library Homepage,
  • In the CatSearch box, type the standard name, or standard organization name
  • Didn't find what you need? Ask the Library, or see how to Request it! through Interlibrary Loan below