Sources of Standards


Standards and codes are needed to enhance productivity, facilitate trade, and improve the quality of life. They may be developed by trade associations, industries or government agencies. Upon publication they are given the acronym of the publishing organization together with a number and the current year identifies a given title e.g. ASCE 36 - 2001.

Standards may be incorporated into building codes, including building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, fire, and maintenance codes such as: IBC, IEBC, IEC; IECC; IFC; IMC; IPC; IRC; UBC; BOCA; SBC; ADA; ANSI; Fair Housing: UFAS; and NFPA. See alphabetical listing below for their location.

How to Obtain Standards

Different publishers or Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) make their standards available in different ways. Sometimes they are offered for free online (like the developer standard for USB 3.1), others offer a complete package of their standards which Cornell University Library is able to subscribe to so as to give access to all students and faculty (i.e. ASTM, IEEE). Other SDOs have so many standards it is impractical for us to subscribe to their complete package or else their standards package is not well-designed for use by universities.

Full-text online (subscription access via Cornell University Libary)

  • ASTM (including AATC) - Regular access to both current and past standards via: ASTM Standards and Engineering Digital Library 

  • IEEE - IEEE standards (except Draft standards) are accessible via IEEE Xplore

  • ASME - Boiler Pressure Vessel Code Volume II (Materials) available online

  • ASQ (American Society for Quality) - Some ASQ standards are also included as part of the Knovel digital library

  • International Building Code - Accessible online via Mad Cad

  • SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers) - Part of the Knovel digital library.

Full-text online (freely available)

  • MilSpecs (Military standards) - (contains many free military and Dept. of Defense standards and handbooks), also ASSIST Quicksearch 

  • NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) - some standards available via NFPA (you will need to create a login first). We also have many older NFPA standards in print (see below)

  • NISO (National Information Standards Organization) - available via NISO

Some free standards are available for viewing only at the IBR List of Standards. (Standards Incorporated By Reference SIBR database hosted by NIST). Printing and downloading is not available.

Access via Print (via Cornell University Library)

  • ACI (American Concrete Institute) - Most-current manual is at the Uris Library Reference section (hardcopy). Older editions of ACI are available from the Library Annex (print).

  • ​SAE - The most-recent edition of the SAE Handbook (and standards thereof) which we have access to is from 2006. Contact the Engineering Librarians to get access. Older editions of SAE may be found in Uris Library or Library Annex.

Must be individually ordered (via Cornell University Library)

If you need a standard that we do not have or which you cannot find, we may be willing to purchase a copy for the library for your use. Contact the Engineering librarians,  or 607-254-6261.

Note that due to licensing and DRM restrictions, we usually find it necessary to order individual standards in hardcopy format: Many standards vendors apply watermarking and other DRM software, plus require us to sign license agreements that prevent us from storing or offering their standards in digital form (i.e. a PDF).

Alphabetical Listing of Standards by Organization

  • ACI Manual of Concrete Practice: Most-current manual is at the Uris Library Reference section (print). Older editions of ACI are available from the Library Annex (print). To help with requesting the right part of the manual here is a description:

    • Part 1 - Materials and general properties of Concrete

      Part 2 - Construction Practices and Inspection, Pavements

      Part 3 - Use of Concrete in Buildings - Design, specification, and related topics

      Part 4 - Bridges, substructures, sanitary and other special structures, structural properties

      Part 5- Masonry, Precast concrete, special processes

  • ASME Standards: Some additional standards can be found in hardcopy, interfiled with ANSI standards.Library Annex (Search catalog for T59.A51 in the library catalog) (hardcopy)

  • Index and Directory of Industry Standards: Library Annex (hardcopy)

  • IEEE Standards: All IEEE standards (except for “draft” standards) are accessible via IEEE Xplore. Older hardcopy standards available at Library Annex (Search catalog for TK5700 .I592 in Basic Search)

  • International Building Code (superseded Uniform Building Code as of 1997): Accessible online via Mad Cad or Fine Arts Library or Library Annex (hardcopy). 

  • International Organization for Standardization: International Organization for Standardization (online). ISO standards are generally only available for individual purchase. The library may be willing to purchase such standards as a normal materials request. However, ISO standards are licensed and watermarked to the purchaser. Contact the Engineering librarians to inquire.

  • (U.S.) Department of Defense Military Standards and Specifications: (online; contains many free military and Dept. of Defense standards and handbooks) or ASSIST Quicksearch (online)

  • National Fire Protection Association: NFPA (all are free to view online but can only be downloaded or printed with individual purchase). We also have some in print at the Library Annex as part of this record here (you will need to scroll down; hit "Request" at the top of the page to request individual standards from that collection)

  • National Information Standards Organization: NISO (online)

  • National Electrical Code: Uris Library Engineering Reference section - Handbooks (hardcopy)

  • National Institute of Standards and Technology Standard Physical Reference Data Page (SI standard units, conversion factors, universal constants): NIST Physical Reference Data Page (online), Library Annex (Search catalog for QC94 .S47 in the library catalog) (hardcopy).

  • National Resource for Global Standards (National Standards Systems Network): NSSN - Search Engine for Standards (online)

  • SAE Handbook (SAE Ground Vehicle, Aerospace, Marine Standards): The most-recent edition of the SAE Handbook (and standards thereof) which we have access to is from 2006. Contact the Engineering Librarians to get access. Older editions may be found in the Mathematics or Library Annex (hardcopy or CD-ROM)

  • Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME):: Part of the Knovel digital library

  • Uniform Building Code (1997 superseded by International Building Code): Library Annex (Search catalog for TH223 .P3 1997 or K3538 .A15 I57 in the library catalog) (hardcopy)

Some foreign national standards sites