Guide to Standards

A standard is a published document which sets out specifications and procedures designed to ensure that a material, product, method or service is fit for its purpose and consistently performs the way it was intended to. In Australia most standards are produced by Standards Australia, which is an independent organisation. Its standards are not legal documents, however, many of them are called upon in federal or state legislation, and then become mandatory. Most are used voluntarily. Standards Australia has a policy of adopting International Standards wherever possible, and around one third of current Australian Standards are fully or substantially aligned with International Standards. Examples of standards produced by other agencies in Australia are the Building Code of Australia and the Food Standards Code.

Australian Standards

The main standards body in Australia is Standards Australia and their current catalogue and prices can be accessed via their website.

Historical Standards in Print

The Library has an extensive historical collection of Australian standards in printed form to 2007.  In 2007 an online subscription was started.  Staff located at enquiry desks are able to assist with retrievals. Access to printed historical standards in the Library is able to be arranged at the Library's normal retrieval times.

  • Monday to Thursday 9.30am to 7.30pm
  • Friday 9.30am to 5.00pm
  • Saturday and Sunday 10.30am to 5.00pm 

Current online standards can be accessed via our website from within the Library only. Copies can be printed from this site within the limitations of our subscription which allows for up to 4 pages to be printed at any one login. 

International Standards

The Library no longer has subscriptions to overseas standards but has historical collections in the stack that can be retrieved. Some current international standards may be ordered on request. There is a good collection of historical BS (British Standards) prior to 2001 and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards until November 2002. There are also limited collections of some historical standards from other bodies: ISO (International Standards), DIN (German Standards), JIS (Japanese Standards), Indian Standards, ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), API, and ASME etc. Not all standards are listed in the catalogue but we have an in-house printed catalogue on the reference shelf on the second floor.

All major standards bodies have websites containing their catalogue and ordering information. World Standards Services Network lists most of the international bodies. There are also other independent organizations selling overseas standards including Standards Australia and IHS.

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Page last updated: Monday 25 June 2012

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