Entrepreneurship and Information Management

Standards, Standards, Where might you be?

  • Kari A Kozak (University of Iowa)


Getting access to standards can prove to be a tricky and expensive endeavor. The Lichtenberger Engineering Library at the University of Iowa has been working to try and simplify the process in order to provide a greater depth of available standards for free to students, faculty, and staff.

Finding and accessing standards can be a complex task since there are hundreds of agencies or organizations that produce standards, with each one having their own set of rules and regulations on how they can be viewed and distributed. There is unfortunately no one place that lists all existing standards. A student often needs to search multiple databases or indexes to fully see what is available in their area of study. Once they find the standards they are looking for, it is time to actually find access to the full text. Standards often cannot be requested through loans from other libraries due to copyright restrictions, which makes the process all that more complicated. They also are not regularly listed in library catalogs since they are so hard to catalog and change frequently.

Over the last couple of years, the Library has worked to provide electronic access to as many standards as possible, and to educate the students about the availability of standards in the library. The Library has access to an online database called TechStreet that provides access to standards by 48 different publishers and has searchable abstracts for others. It is still not all inclusive, but it is getting better. There is also electronic access to over half a dozen individual agencies or organizations standards through separate subscriptions. For those standards that are not part of any electronic packages, the library orders them in print to be housed in the Library.

To help with the complexity of searching and accessing these standards, the librarian visits various classes each semester to give an overview of what standards are, as well as providing instruction on gaining access to individual standards. These sessions, along with projects assigned in the courses, help students gain an understanding of the importance of standards in industry today.

How to Cite:

Kozak, K. A., (2014) “Standards, Standards, Where might you be?”, 2014 ASEE North Midwest Section Conference 2014(1), 1-8. doi: https://doi.org/10.17077/aseenmw2014.1039

Rights: Copyright © 2014, Kari Kozak

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Published on
18 Oct 2014
Peer Reviewed