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World Standards Day is October 14. Every Year!
10-Oct-2012 Newsletter article

World Standards dayWhat are Standards? Standards ensure that there is consistency and uniformity in items being produced. Look around and you will find standards everywhere - from your number 2 pencil to take tests, to the size of your clothes/shoes and the number/size of lug nuts on the wheels of a car. "Imagine a world where shoe sizes were not standardized, or where golf balls came in a variety of sizes and weights. None of these things are problems today, thanks to an army of unsung heroes known as standards." (White House Blog, October 14, 2011)

"The aim of World Standards Day is to raise awareness among regulators, industry and consumers as to the importance of standardization to the global economy. 14 October was specifically chosen to mark the date, in 1946, when delegates from 25 countries first gathered in London and decided to create an international organization focused on facilitating standardization" (World Standards Day, Wikipedia).

In the U.S., the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) are responsible for the development and approval of U.S. standards. For standards that are to be used internationally - ensuring they are compatible for use in all countries - the ISO is the issuing agency. (Because the full organization name - International Organization for Standardization - would have difference acronyms in different languages, the organization chose to shorten the name to simply ISO). Each year, ISO chooses a theme for World Standards Day and for 2012 it is "Less waste, better results - Standards increase efficiency." According to their website:

"This issue has come to the forefront as global challenges like sustainability and financial uncertainty mean that organizations are challenged to achieve better results with less waste....by providing common specifications, international standards enable products, services and technology from different vendors to fit together like pieces in a puzzle. They support interoperability and compatibility, providing a solid base for developing innovations and facilitating market access to new products."

Standards really do make our lives easier - almost invisibly - thanks to individuals who work diligently to create and revise standards.

Further reading:

Speaking of Standards. Edited by Rowen Glie. Boston: Cahners Book, 1972.
Call number: TA368 G56 1972 (Parks Library General Collection - Tier 6)
On pages 37-71 is a reprint of "Through History with Standards" that gives examples, in cartoon form, of the importance of standards. A very humorous and easy to understand introduction to standards.

Rhodes, Janice and Elspeth Fallone. Information on Standards: A Guide to Sources. Co-published by the British Library and the National Library of Scotland, 1998.
Call number: TA 368 R46x 1998 (Parks Library Reference Collection - Tier 2)
This is written with a British slant and gives a very nice history of the development of British standards.

Spivak, Steven M., and F. Cecil Brenner. Standardization Essentials: Principles and Practice. New York: Dekker, 2001.
Call number: T 59 S65 2001 (Parks Library General Collection)
Good overall book covering the basics of standards as well as giving in-depth information from an engineering point-of-view.

Thompson, Diane C. A Guide to Standards. Miami, FL: Standards Engineering Society, 2003.
Call number: TA 368 T46x 2003 (Parks Library Standards Collection - Room 161)
A slim volume that is a quick, extremely readable introduction to standards.

The Library also provides a guide for researchers needing assistance locating standards: http://instr.iastate.libguides.com/standards

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