Standards are intended to ensure compatibility between products and appliances from different suppliers. They are produced by both national and professional organisations.


Most countries in western Europe have a national organisation, which is responsible for standards, eg AFNOR in France, DIN in Germany and the British Standards Institution (BSI). In the USA, there is both a national body, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and also professional bodies each with its own standards, eg. the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM). There is also an international body for standards, the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

British Standards Institution

American National Standards Institute

American Society for Testing Materials

International Standards Organisation

British standards

The British Standards Online database offers full text access to over 37,000 current standards, published by the British Standards Institution. Its coverage includes:

  • British Standards, with a BS prefix
  • BSI national adoptions of European Standards (100%), with a BS EN prefix
  • BSI national adoptions of selected international standards from ISO (International Organization for Standardization), with the prefixes: BS ISO or BS EN ISO
  • IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standards, with the prefixes: BS IEC or BS EN ISO/IEC
  • Special sequences including: DD (drafts for development), PD (published documents), SP (specifications) and DC (drafts for public comment)

The Library's subscription does not include withdrawn or historic standards.

British Standards Online 

American and other foreign standards

You can access Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards within the IEEE/IEE Electronic Library database.

IEEE standards via IEEE/IET Electronic Library

For other American and foreign standards, there are three options.

Inter-library Loan Service

BSI Knowledge Centre (formerly British Standards Institution library)
389 Chiswick High Road, London, W4 4AL
Tel: 020 8996 7004

One of the benefits of our corporate BSI membership is that Brunel University students and staff can freely access a wide range of American and foreign standards on terminals in the BSI library.


The Techstreet database provides charged access to engineering standards from around 300 publishers, including: ANSI, ASME, ASTM, CSA, IEC, ISO and SAE. You can pay for downloading or printing standards from this database by credit card.

Page last updated: Tuesday 20 March 2012