Engineering standards are documents that list accepted technical criteria that products, systems and processes have to meet in a specific industry. They are issued by professional groups or associations in a given area of specialization, and are recognized as the accepted way of doing a particular activity in a specific industry.
They are used to ensure consistency, and enable repeatability or compatibility in manufacturing, building, or whatever activity or process they are used for. For example, standards ensure that light bulbs made by different manufacturers can be used anywhere, that tires are made a certain way, that houses in a hurricane-prone area are built to withstand certain force, etc. Among other things, they ensure that minimum safety requirements are met, and minimum performance is achieved.
There are several organizations in the United States and around the world that develop and issue standards. Some of the ones more common in the engineering industry are:
We have access to standards through some online databases that we subscribe to, like IEEE. If you need standards that you cannot find in an online database, you can request them through Interlibrary Loan.