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J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library


Locating standards in the Van Pelt and Opie Library

About Standards at VPOL

What is a standard?

A standard is a set of guidelines for the composition and manufacture of items, or for conducting a process or procedure. Adherence to some standards is required by law, others are voluntary. Standards:

  • Establish safety criteria
  • Ensure that items work properly and safely
  • Specify properties of materials, devices, or structures
  • Describe test methods and procedures for assessing product performance.
  • Allow for interchangeability of parts and correct fit of parts from different manufacturers

Who creates standards?
Standards are created by scientific and professional organizations, industrial organizations, and government groups. Some are adopted as legally mandatory by government regulatory bodies.

How do I know which standard I need?

Often you will see a standard cited in another document or on a product similar to the one you're developing. If you would like to do a broad search for standards that are potentially related to your project, visit the Searching for Standards page.

Are the library's standards current?

We collect print standards on demand. As such, a standard you find in the collection may not be the most current edition. Check TechStreet Enterprise or the website of the Standards Developing Organization for that standard for information on updated versions. In some situations, librarians may be able to work with you to acquire the most recent version.

Can I borrow a standard? Photocopy it? 

The library's print standards can be borrowed for 5 days. Copying the entirety of a standard typically violates copyright law. Should you need multiple copies for a class or other situation, please contact us. We can place a standard on Course Reserve for you.

Standards Tutorial

Get a Standard

Looking for a specific standard? Michigan Tech subscribes to the following databases that house electronic, full-text copies of standards:

  • TechStreet Enterprise: access standalone electronic standards the library has purchased. Can be used to search standards the library does not own -- uncheck "On Subscription" filter after you perform a search.
  • ASTM Compass: testing and materials standards 
  • IEEE Xplore: IEEE and SMPTE standards that cover information technology, power & energy, telecommunications, etc.
  • SAE Mobilus: Ground Vehicle and Aerospace standards available.

The library's Print Standards database lists all of the print standards the library owns. These are located on the first floor between the Ask Us! station and the library cafe. 

If a standard you need is unavailable, contact the library using the Request a Standard form. We consider standard purchase requests on a case by case basis. 

ISO example - eclipse glasses

Do you need a standard for a funded research project? You are typically able to use funding to purchase standards. If you would still like to go through the library so that the standard you need is available to additional members of the Michigan Tech community, please contact us.

Are you working with a client or outside organization for a design project? Often they will be able to provide a copy of a standard on request if it's one that they require and use heavily in that organization.