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Finding Standards & Codes: Searching for Standards and Codes

What they are, how to find them and how to get them

About Finding Standards

Standards and codes come from a variety of sources, which means that you have to be rather ceative in tracking them down.

Here, we'll talk about two types of standards searches

1. A known-item search, where you know the organization, the title or standard number. 

2. A subject search, where you are search on a particular topic to determine if any standards were published. 

Known-Item Searching for Standards Online

When you know the Standard Issuing Agency, begin by searching from their organization or industry website. 


By Standard Number

If you are in the website of a standard issuing agency, you only need to search for the number. You do not necessarily need to include the year in your search. 


By Standard Title or Keyword

If you already have a known title of a standard, look for the advanced search option and restrict your search to the title. You can also use quotation marks to effectively phrase search in a database. 


Searching for Standards Organizations

Determining the standards organization or industry body that published a standard is a very helpful step in retrieving the standard. To find which standards organization published the document you're interested in, try some of the more logical standards organizations for your topic, or search an aggregator site

Google can be an effective tool to determine which standards organization published the standard you're looking for. You might try typing in the subject, and including the word "standard" in your search. 


Subject Searches for Unknown Items

If you are not sure if a standard was published on your topic, but want to check, try these tips. 

  • Search the Standards Aggegators and Standards Organizations pages to determine which organizations might have published on your topic
  • Look for an advanced search feature within the standards search tool, to allow you more control over your search
  • Use more formal, or more technical, language in your search. For example, you might search "barrier" instead of "railing"
  • Brainstorm synonyms for your search to ensure you've searched on all angles of your topic