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Standards and Specifications: Home



UCI has full-text access to the ASTM Standards and Engineering Digital Library (SEDL)!  Find >12,200 active standards, 12,300 Redlined standards, 28,500 historical or withdrawn standards and journals from the ASTM, eBooks, and conference proceedings and special technical publications.

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Additional Resources that may be helpful include:

What is a Standard?

Standards and Specifications are described as documents that describe the rules and conditions for how materials and products should be manufactured, defined, measured, tested, and applied.  They are used to establish baselines or a minimum level of performance and quality control to ensure that optimal conditions and procedures for the purpose of creating compatibility with products and services from different periods and a range of sources.  Specifications have a more limited range of application than standards and generally establish requirements for materials, products, or services. Standards and specifications may be issued by voluntary technical or trade associations, professional societies, national standards bodies, government agencies, or by international organizations. It is critical to establish the source.

Standards and specifications are of greatest utility to engineers, scientists and those working with new innovations.

Types of Standards:

  • Category, type, dimension, structure, equipment, quality, grade, component, performance, durability, or safety 
  • Methods of manufacturing, methods of designing, methods of drawing, methods of using, or methods of operation of safety condition of production
  • Methods of testing, analyzing, appraising, verifying, or measuring 
  • Terms, abbreviations, symbols, marks, preferred numbers, or units 
  • Design, methods of execution, or safety conditions

What are some points to remember when using standards?

  • Some standards are government-mandated, and others are voluntary.  There may be various penalties associated with not adhering to the standard. 
  • Standards are updated frequently to keep pace with changing technology -- check to see if the standard you are using is the latest version. 
  • Older, superceded versions of standards may be useful in many cases, such as legal disputes concerning the performance of a product that was manufactured when the older standard was in force.  The Engineering Library DOES NOT maintain historical or superceded standards.

To locate a standard you should (ideally) have at least three of the following:

  • The name of the publishing organization
  • The standard number
  • The title
  • The subject

Obtaining Standards & Specifications

There are several methods one can use to obtain a standard or specification not in our collection:

  1. Consult MELVYL to determine if a library in the University of California has a copy of the standard that you need.  Sometimes this is difficult as standards are often part of series by body that releases them.  Ask a librarian for assistance.
  2. InterLibrary Loan - may take some time to identify a library that can lend it - however complete the form at and make sure that you enter all details - date, sourcing agency and exact number.
  3. Contact Liaison Librarian to see if Library can obtain via Document Supplier or direct you to the most appropriate supplier.
  4. If you are not affiliated with UCI, go directly to Document Supplier and place request - however the expenses are to be covered by requestor.  Examples of suppliers are below:

Using ASTM Compass

ASTM Compass is the portal for standards, testing and learning.  It contains the ASTM Science & Engineering Digital Library, known as SEDL. 

Library is Open for eAccess

Liaison Librarian

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Julia Gelfand
Office: Science Library 228

Phone: 949-824-4971


Copying/Printing at the Libraries

The UCI PhotoID serves as your copy card for copying and xeroxing.  It requires that money be added to it by inserting it in one of the Regenerator machines found throughout the UCI Libraries.  Enter a few dollars at a time and add to it when it is depleted.  Costs will be debited at the rate of 8 cents per copy or xerox made; 12 cents per page of printing.