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Engineering Standards: What are Standards?

Standards published by industry or government sources are an important and unique source of information.

What are Technical Standards?

"Standards provide industries and innovators with a common language that facilitates trade, simplifies transactions and enables people to work together toward greater common goals that cut across disciplines and borders" - National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Technical standards are mandatory norms or requirements developed by professional committees. They are designed to ensure products, procedures, and services are consistent, compatible, safe, and effective. There are thousands of active standards (ISO has published more than 22,600!), and they affect almost every product or service we encounter.

How are Standards Used?

Standard Titles

Standards may be titled in slightly different ways depending on the publishing organization. Most standard titles contain the same components, however:

  • Acronym of the publishing organization
  • Standard number
  • Date of the standard
  • Name of the standard

Example: IEEE 1012-2016 Standard for System, Software, and Hardware Verification and Validation

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