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A standard is a published document that contains a technical specification or other precise criteria. These are designed to be used consistently as a rule, guideline, or definition in order to increase the reliability and the effectiveness of the products and services we use. Standards are created by bringing together the experience and expertise of all interested parties such as the producers, sellers, buyers, users and regulators of a particular material, product, process or service.

British Standards

Subject coverage of standards collections includes science, technology and business service specifications. The collection is updated daily and 2,000 new or revised standards are added annually to ensure that technical content is current. Many international standards are implemented into British Standard, if this is the case then it will clearly say it, i.e. BS EN ISO.

International Standards

  • EN standards: European standards which has been adopted by one of the three European Standard Organisations (CEN, CENELEC, or ETSI). Vital for the European Single Market; nationally implemented in all EU countries. They are searchable through their standard number on BSOnline.
  • IEC: The International Electrotechnical Commission’s standards. If adopted by British Standards then it is possible to search for their standard number in British Standard Online.
  • IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer's standards. Full text access is available from IEEE Xplore.
  • ISO Online: International Organisation for Standards Online. Contains international standards covering business, government and society.
  • UK Defence Standardization: Contains Defence Standards, grouped into three categories:
    • Extant and Interim - These standards may be used in support of new and existing equipment
    • Obsolescent - Standards no longer required for the procurement of new equipment but retained for maintenance purposes in support of existing in–service equipment.
    • Withdrawn - These standards have been superseded or are of no further service use. These documents are not available online.


  • Techstreet Standards: US based online standards store.
  • British Standard Online can also give access to other international standards on a rebated price for members. If you require more information, please contact the SE Teaching and Learning Team (our details are to your left).
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