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Standards Overview: Avoiding Surprises - Some Thoughts on Standards

Today I bought a lamp. Actually, I bought a lightbulb, too. I brought them both home and screwed the bulb into the lamp. Then I plugged the lamp into a wall socket. I turned the switch. There was light. The lamp worked. The lightbulb worked. I was pleased. I was not surprised.


Maybe it's something in the water, but it seems that I don't get surprised by too much anymore. I have become accustomed to taking many things (like my lamp) for granted. I took for granted that the lamp and the bulb would work together. I also took for granted that the lamp's plug would easily connect to the wall socket and that the electrical wiring would be safe.

It's become too easy to not think.Why? Because standards have become such an integral part of our existence that I (like the average individual) give little or no thought to everyday products and services and how they work.

Imagine our frustration if lightbulbs didn't fit into lamps, or if there were no common sizes for clothing, or common-sized spark plugs for automobiles, or if trains couldn't move from one state to another because the tracks were a different gauge. It would be an understatement to say that the world we live in would be devastated without standards.

When products or services conform to standards, it makes it easier for me (the consumer) to comparison shop. I can focus on what matters most to me – features, functions and price – and not think about those areas that I don't see and appreciate, or that add no value to the product's use. I want the products I buy to work together – like the lamp and lightbulb or different pieces of stereo equipment. When they work, I (the consumer) am satisfied. A satisfied consumer usually translates into more sales. More sales translates into profit. If standards facilitate interconnection (i.e., "things" working together), then standards must facilitate profit.

The Big Picture

What is a standard? One definition is "a recognized unit of comparison by which the correctness of others can be determined" and another reads "a set of characteristics or qualities that describes features of a product, process, or service."[1]

Whether or not you agree with these definitions, you will agree that "standardization" is making headlines more today than ever before – partly due to regulatory and procurement reform, partly due to the rapid growth of technology industries, and partly due to today's focus on a global marketplace. Standardization, when it's understood, can be used as a very powerful tool to ensure businesses success and consumer satisfaction.

For example, many U.S. industries recognize that their opportunities for growth – and the corresponding growth for U.S. jobs – depend on an export market. (Already more than 11 million U.S. jobs are directly supported by exports.) Use of international standards impact an organization's ability to access these foreign markets.

This article will explore the standards process in some detail and will describe how the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) works with both national and international standards bodies to ensure American interests are well represented in the global community.

Vince Lombardi on Standards

One day Vince Lombardi, head coach of the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers, walked into his team's locker room with football in hand. He addressed the group of professional athletes seated before him with this statement:

"Gentlemen, this is a football."

To create a team of champions, Coach Lombardi recognized that he must first introduce his players to the basics and then, progressively, build a strong, solid foundation of information and knowledge. Vince Lombardi recognized that “Information promotes thinking.”

The role of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is to provide the information necessary to promote thinking about standardization. Voluntary consensus standards are unique tools ensuring health, safety, happy consumers and business success. ANSI has served as administrator and coordinator of the United States' voluntary consensus standardization system for more than 80 years. More information about ANSI will follow in this article.

But for now let us continue with our football analogy. I'll ask that you think of the sport in this way: A game of planning, strategy and skill – both in offense and defense. Some may say that football is a game of brute force. I suggest to you that those who most often carry the ball across the goal line are the flexible, agile and quick team members, while brute force is more often used to block or hold back the opponent.

Just like football, the effective use of standardization requires thought, strategy, and skilled, knowledgeable participation – including business flexibility and agility. Success in standardization activities must become as important to U.S. interests as success on the football field was to Vince Lombardi.

Facilitators of Change

This article has already stated that international standards are important in today's marketplace. Great. But how does that relate to your career in the Information Technology industry?

Let's start our discussion by recognizing that the IT industry is really the marriage of telecommunications and data systems. This “marriage” resulted because the implementation of new technology for each of these industries had so much overlap between computers and telecommunications that it became almost impossible to distinguish between the two. Telecommunications required computers and computers required new systems and new vehicles for communicating among each other.

As markets for IT systems began to expand, users became concerned that these huge, very expensive pieces of equipment they were purchasing could not interconnect or interoperate. The consumer wasn't satisfied.

Our communications infrastructure does not recognize national boundaries. Information is communicated across borders and between cultures 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have, essentially, transitioned from a domestic to a global economy.

How does a dissatisfied consumer react? They don't buy any more products. By simply not purchasing any new equipment (at least until they were assured that interoperability was possible) the users forced technical harmonization (standards) through economic integration (sales).

The IT industry has several major "players" involved in standards development activities. The Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is one of these players; IEEE has been heavily involved in the development of standards for the electrical, electronics and computer industries. IEEE standards form an integral part of the information systems that control the flow of knowledge - acquiring and disseminating it across the country and around the world. These technical agreements are key to the revolutionary new ways information (and thus knowledge) is distributed.

Stork or Cabbage Patch

Standards do not just "appear." They are neither delivered by the stork nor left in the cabbage patch. The development of high-quality technical agreements takes hard work, coordination, time and money. And to further complicate matters, there is no single development process.

At the heart of the U.S. system are documents that arise from a formal, coordinated, consensus-based and open process. These are commonly called voluntary consensus standards and are written by industry professionals from both the public and private sectors. The voluntary process requires full cooperation by all parties. It depends upon data gathering and compromises among a diverse range of stakeholders. When due process is followed, the resulting standards provide economic benefit to the many rather than the few.

Scientific and professional societies like the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Acoustical Society of America, and the American Society of Safety Engineers are often involved in standards development activities that further the work of their organization.

Trade associations, on the other hand, deal with a particular industry and promote its products or services. Some associations, such as the Information Technology Industry Council and the Aerospace Industries Association, develop standards for the products manufactured by their members, while others might focus on developing standards for products used by their industries.

Thousands of individuals, companies, other organizations (such as labor, consumer and industrial groups) and government agencies voluntarily contribute their knowledge, talents and efforts to standards development.

Organizations such as the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) develop technical standards that cut across many industries. Other large umbrella groups, such as ASTM and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), recognize their standardization activities as a primary focus.

De facto(also known as ad hoc) standards are normally developed outside the traditional framework and usually appeal to a more narrow market than standards developed by voluntary-standards-focused organizations. These "marketplace" standards, though often developed more quickly than standards developed in a more formal process, do not always ensure a level playing field.

Consortia standards are developed by companies who agree to work together to solve a specific market need. Consortia documents may offer a solution to the problem, but participation on the "problem-solving team" is limited to members of the consortia. Membership often requires a substantial financial contribution.

Finally, the U.S. federal government is involved, too. Regulatory standards are usually written by government agencies, though voluntary standards frequently become regulatory standards when they are cited in government, industry, or corporate codes or enforceable regulations. Regulatory standards are enforceable by law; violations can result in civil or criminal action.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. federal government is the largest single creator and user of standards – more than 44,000 of them. The private sector in America has about 49,000 standards. That's a total of more than 93,000 standards produced and maintained by nearly 700 standards organizations in the U.S. [2] That number doesn't include the large number of de facto industry standards that are established not through formal procedures, but through widespread acceptance in the free market.

How ANSI Fits In

The ANSI Federation’s primary goal is to enhance the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the American quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and promoting their integrity.

Membership in the Institute includes nearly 1,300 organizations from the business community; professional and engineering societies; trade associations; federal, state and local government agencies; consumer interests; labor; academia; laboratory and testing organizations. The strength of the ANSI Federation lies in the diversity and expertise of its membership and their willingness to work together for the benefit of the U.S. However, with diversity often comes difference of opinion.

One of ANSI's value-added services is providing all U.S. interests with a neutral venue where consumers, standards organizations, companies and the government can come together and work towards common agreements that are acceptable to all affected parties. As an example, ANSI's procedures for the development and coordination of American National Standards provide a mechanism for determining the need for standards, ensuring that qualified organizations develop them and that the approval of standards is coordinated. ANSI ensures that access to the standards process – including an appeals mechanism – has been made available to anyone directly or materially affected by the activity under development.

The voluntary consensus standards developers noted earlier (and many others) support ANSI in its role as the central body responsible for the identification of a single, consistent set of American National Standards (ANS). ANSI’s approval of these standards verifies that consensus has been achieved.

More Than A Simple Majority, Not Necessarily Unanimity

Consensus signifies the concurrence of more than a simple majority, but not necessarily unanimity.

ANSI promotes three additional "cardinal principles" that further support the consensus process:

  • Due Process. Any person may participate by expressing a position and its basis, having that position considered, and appealing if adversely affected. Due process allows for equity and fair play.
  • Openness. Any materially affected and interested party has the opportunity to participate in the consensus process.
  • Balance. The standards development activity should have a balance of interests and shall not be dominated by any single interest category.

ANSI's Cardinal Principles



As mentioned earlier, ANSI does not itself develop standards; rather, the ANSI Federation accredits standards developers with expertise in a particular subject area to write and maintain technical documents relating to that industry. When ANSI accredits a U.S. standards developer to write American National Standards, that developer certifies that it will adhere to the cardinal principles identified above

Approximately 200 entities are now accredited, though this represents a total of more than 260 accreditations (an entity may have become accredited to use more than one method (see sidebar text) or may administer more than one accredited standards committee. As of January 1998, 21% of the accredited developers operate under the organization method, 42% using the committee method, and 37% as accredited canvass sponsors.

These developers are responsible for the more than 13,000 approved ANS currently available. Of all approved ANS, approximately 75% were developed using the accredited organization method, 15% using the standards committee method, and 10% using the canvass method.

ANSI does not develop standards

The ANSI Federation accredits standards developers with expertise in a particular subject area to write and maintain technical documents relating to that industry.

ANSI's accreditation of developers ensures adherence to the Institute's cardinal principles.

Three types of accreditation are available:

  • Accredited Organization, most used by associations and societies that have an interest in developing standards. Although participation is open to all interested parties, members of the association or society often participate as members in the consensus body
  • Accredited Standards Committee, used when a standard affects a broad range of diverse interests or where multiple associations or societies with similar interests exist. These committees are administered by a secretariat, an organization that takes responsibility for providing administrative oversight of the committee's activities and ensuring compliance with the pertinent operating procedures.
  • Accredited Canvass Sponsors, developers who identify those who are directly and materially affected by the activity in question and conducts a letter ballot, or "canvass", of those interests to determine consensus on the subject document.

Whether You're Doing Business In China Or In Chinatown

It's understood that we live in a global marketplace. It's obvious, then, that the ideal standards scenario is to have a single, internationally recognized, technically valid document rather than differing national standards for each country. If products and services could be made one way and accepted across all parts of the globe, we might see significant efficiencies in the manufacturing, distribution, and sales processes. Efficiencies could result in lower prices. Lower prices will mean satisfied consumers.

ANSI works extensively with both national and international standards bodies to ensure American interests are well represented in the development of international standards. ANSI represents the U.S. at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) through the Institute’s U.S. National Committee to the IEC, the International Accreditation Forum, and several regional standards and conformity assessment organizations.

As the country's official representative, ANSI ensures that U.S. interested parties have immediate access to the standards development processes of the ISO and IEC. ANSI was a founding member and plays an active role in the governance of both organizations. ANSI participates in almost the entire technical program of the IEC (91% of all IEC technical committees) and in nearly 80% of all ISO technical committees. The U.S. is also a strong participant in the ISO and IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 on Information Technology (ISO/IEC JTC 1). The U.S. administers many key committees and subgroups (16% in the ISO; 17% in the IEC), including JTC 1 and several of its subcommittees.

As with developers accredited for domestic standards activities, ANSI also has a system in place to ensure that all directly and materially affected parties may participate in the development of U.S. consensus positions for international activities. U.S. Technical Advisory Groups (U.S. TAGs) are accredited with the primary purpose of developing and transmitting, via ANSI, U.S. positions on issues coming before the international technical committee.

U.S. delegations to international meetings, whose goal is to promote the acceptance of U.S. positions in an international standards committee, are selected from the membership of the U.S. TAGs or are appointed by the U.S. Technical Advisors. In many instances, U.S. standards are taken forward, through ANSI or its USNC, for adoption in whole or in part as international standards.

ANSI and U.S. participants have been active in advancing ISO and IEC’s efforts to make the international standards system more flexible, effective and cost-efficient. Process engineering, electronic document distribution and better project management at ISO, IEC and ANSI will benefit the U.S. by speeding up the international standards process, improving productivity and lowering overall costs.

Yogi Berra on Standards

Since the work of international technical committees is carried out by volunteers, not ANSI staff, the success of U.S. efforts is often dependent upon the willingness of industry and government to commit the resources required to ensure strong technical participation in the standards process.

Participating in standards development activities offers an opportunity to influence domestic and international policy, benefit from unique networking opportunities and learn from international colleagues. It also provides a forum for the presentation of U.S., corporate or, perhaps, personal positions and the opportunity to comment upon proposals submitted by others. There are many implicit benefits, perhaps more important than the meetings themselves. These include key contacts with industry leaders, developing business opportunities for your organization, early involvement (a window on technology implementation), competitive intelligence, and informal benchmarking (i.e., understanding where your company stands in the market). Like the great Yogi Berra once said:

“You can observe a lot just by watching.”

Look before you leap. Jumping head-first into standardization activities without proper preparation is like jumping into a pool of water without checking to see if there are rocks just below the surface. The water might be great, but you'll feel a lot safer if you've investigated what you're about to get yourself into.

Before joining a standards activity, your organization must first be assured that such participation is necessary and desirable. Identify your goals, and the process you must follow to achieve those goals. All issues must be thoroughly analyzed and contingency plans discussed. Your planning might include consideration of questions like:

  • Are there currently standards in place which affect the product or service we care about?
  • What is gained or lost by participating in the activities of the standards developer?
  • If we decide not to participate, what are the possible consequences?

Further, the "standards-staff" of your organization shouldn't be held solely responsible for the organization's success in standardization work. They will need the help of technical professionals from outside the normal standards group (i.e., Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)). SMEs are often the people best qualified to represent an organization because they can understand how committee requirements will impact your group's product requirements.

Your Right To Get Involved

ANSI membership positions an organization so that it might exert influence over domestic and international policy, benefit from unique networking opportunities, and learn from its peers and competitors.ANSI can also be used as a strategic business tool that keeps you in the forefront of the shifting standards scene.

The Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) ( http://www.ieee.org) is accredited by ANSI under both the organization and committee methods to develop national standards. An example of IEEE's involvement in standardization activities is the Portable Application Standards Committee (PASC), the group which has and continues to develop the POSIX family of standards. Also, the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee has been extremely successful in its development of Local Area Network standards and Metropolitan Area Network standards – the most widely used standards are for the Ethernet family, Token Ring, Wireless LAN, Bridging and Virtual Bridged LANs.

Another organization of importance to the IT community is NCITS (pronounced "Insights") (http://www.ncits.org), a committee accredited by ANSI to develop national standards for the information technology industry. NCITS administers subcommittees such as T10: I/O Interface - Lower Level; T11: I/O Interface - Device Level; T12: I/O Interface - Distributed Data; and T13: I/O Interface - AT Attachment. NCITS welcomes new members in the development of critical new standards and the review of the standards that built the information infrastructure.

Technical experts from IEEE, NCITS, and others also participate on behalf of ANSI and the U.S. in the international standards activities of ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information Technology.

If you're interested in becoming more involved with these (or other) standards activities, we suggest you do a bit of research about the organizations. See if there is any special membership requirement. Find out if you, or your organization, is already a member and, if so, what type. If you're not a member, what must you do to join, or how can you submit contributions as an interested party? You'll also want to investigate whether other committees are doing related work. During your research, try to identify the officers of the committee. Also, who are the other members? Are your customers present - or your competitors? Not only is this knowledge useful from a historical information perspective, but it is also valuable data as your organization develops its various positioning strategies.

Make sure that the organization has procedures for due process, openness and consensus. One guideline, certainly, would be to see if they are ANSI-accredited (again, both IEEE and NCITS are ANSI-accredited).

Finally, you must investigate who in your company can benefit from your activities. There may also be interest in areas that you are not directly responsible for and this is an excellent opportunity to help your colleagues.

A strategic approach to standardization can be summarized in these two statements:

  • Success in standards work requires a thoughtful strategic process and planning on the part of everyone involved.
  • Standards strategies require planning what is required and coordinating the implementation plan.

How Are Standards Developed?

Generally, the process leading to an American National Standard (ANS) begins with a statement of need submitted by the accredited standards developer. At this stage, major concerns, such as if the marketplace will even support the development of such a standard, are raised by the participants in the process.

If a project is approved, the next phase usually consists of developing a draft text.Subject matter experts (SMEs) are brought together and are given the assignment to write the standard.

When the SMEs agree on the content of the draft, it is sent out for a broader review to other interested parties who may be affected or influenced by the proposed standard. The standards developer and ANSI work to ensure the broadest possible review. Consideration is given to the expressed views and objections of all participants by listing it for public review in Standards Action and by consensus ballot. Any comments received during the public review or during the consensus ballot are considered. Ballot comments are reviewed and responded to accordingly. Agreed changes are incorporated into a new draft and, if necessary due to substantive changes in the text, a further public review may be initiated.



Development Process
For more information, see “Procedures for the Development and Coordination of American National Standards,” published by ANSI, March 1997

After all ballots have been tallied and all comments have been reviewed the developer submits a certification statement to ANSI with a request for final approval. ANSI’s Board of Standards Review (BSR) reviews the evidence of consensus that is submitted by the standards developer. If the evidence is satisfactory, the standard is approved as an American National Standard and is listed in Standards Action, ANSI’s Catalog of American National Standards, and NSSN: A National Resource for Global Standards. After a standard is published, it goes into a maintenance mode where it is reviewed every five years for possible revision, reaffirmation or withdrawal.

International standards within the ISO and IEC arenas are normally developed using a six-stage consensus-building process. Similar to the procedures described above for American National Standards, the first step in the development of a project is to confirm that an International Standard is needed. Approval of a proposal for new work (NP) is determined by vote of the participating members (countries) of the relevant committee.

If approved, responsibility for preparation of a working draft is usually delegated to a group of experts known as the Working Group. Successive working drafts are considered until the group is satisfied that it has developed the best technical solution to the problem being addressed.

During the consensus-building phase, the draft is distributed for comments and, if appropriate, voting by the national body members of the committee. Successive drafts may be considered until consensus is reached on the technical content. Once consensus has been attained, the text is finalized for submission as a draft International Standard (DIS) in ISO or a Committee Draft for Vote (CDV) in IEC.

Once a text is approved for progression to DIS or CDV ballot, there should be very few, if any, technical comments. The draft International Standard is circulated to all ISO or IEC member bodies by the offices of the ISO or IEC for voting and comment. Approval is granted if a two-thirds majority of the members of the committee are in favor and not more than one-quarter of the total number of votes cast are negative. When determining consensus, ISO and IEC also consider whether there is sustained opposition to substantial issues.

Once a draft International Standard has been approved, a revised text is prepared for a final "proof text" ballot. If the ballot is approved, the Central Secretariat will publish the document.New standards will usually become available within two months of final approval.

How to Determine Whether Standards Are Being Implemented Correctly

The term "conformity assessment" is used to describe any activity concerned with determining (either directly or indirectly) that relevant requirements are fulfilled. It is also an assurance to consumers about a supplier’s declaration of performance.

In the standards arena, conformity assessment involves evaluating products, processes or services to determine if they adhere to a set of specified requirements. Certification that a manufacturer adheres to the product requirements of a voluntary consensus standard provides a measure of confidence in the product or service. Although ANSI does not conduct tests or technical evaluations, it does accredit other organizations to serve as third-party product and personnel certifiers.

ANSI's conformity assessment accreditation programs have grown rapidly in recent years. ANSI, in partnership with the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board, provides interested parties within the United States with a recognized program for accreditation of registrars for ISO 9000 (quality) and ISO 14000 (environmental) management systems.

ANSI’s conformity assessment activities also promote global acceptance of U.S. products and services by reducing duplicative marking requirements and certification costs and by ensuring a level playing field. Resolving standardization and conformity assessment issues is critical to ensuring U.S. success in a world marketplace.

 

It's All About Working Together

As previously mentioned, a strong U.S. position in the global marketplace depends upon a strong partnership between the private sector and the federal government, particularly when it comes to standards and standards development. In fact, in 1995 and again in 2000, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the Department of Commerce, signed memoranda of understanding with ANSI to enhance and strengthen the U.S. voluntary standards system through strong public-private sector interaction.

A further example of the value of this partnership is demonstrated by agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense relying more heavily on the use of private sector voluntary standards for acquisition, regulatory reform and conformity assessment. This trend is largely due to passage of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA), which requires federal agencies to increase their reliance upon and participation in the voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems. A revision to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119 guides federal agencies in their implementation phase of the NTTAA. The ANSI - NIST memorandum of understanding has been particularly useful in coordinating the activities of federal agencies in the transition to voluntary consensus standards.

But ANSI's work to facilitate communication and information exchange goes beyond the private-sector/public-sector cooperation. The Institute’s membership councils, standards boards and planning panels are neutral forums where members identify, discuss and agree upon solutions to standards and conformity assessment issues. These forums bring together parties with like interests for mutual benefit. As examples, the Information Infrastructure Standards Panel (IISP) is a group of more than 80 companies, organizations and agencies that focus on identifying standards for the global information superhighway, while the Healthcare Informatics Standards Board (HISB) provides an open, public forum for the voluntary contribution of healthcare informatics standards. Other forums exist in the health and safety, construction and information technology fields.

Knowledge is Paramount

As you can see, timely, relevant and actionable information is essential for those involved in standardization activities. ANSI offers the following communications vehicles to deliver comprehensive information:

ANSI Online is designed to provide convenient access to timely and relevant information on the ANSI Federation and the latest national, regional and international standards and conformity assessment activities.

Standards Action is a bi-weekly newsletter announcing standards development activities and soliciting comments on draft national, regional, international and foreign standards.

The ANSI Reporter is a quarterly magazine, providing updates on major national and international standardization policy activities and commentary and opinions on the marketplace, as well as the legislative and public policy impacts of various activities.

Standards Action and the ANSI Reporter are available in hard-copy and electronic formats (via ANSI Online).

ANSI’s Education and Training Services Department was established to further enhance the knowledge, interest and skill of U.S. standards professionals and volunteers. Courses, developed by staff and volunteers with years of experience, focus on the skills necessary to understand, participate in, administer or lead standards committees. Offered around the country each year in public forums, or customized for individual organizations and offered on-site, Education and Training Services staff members work to ensure that students thoroughly understand the issues and requirements involved in effective standardization leadership

ANSI Research Services utilizes the skills of standards professionals to identify U.S., foreign, national, regional and international standards and conformity assessment activities in all industry sectors.

ANSI provides convenient access to technical information, too.  The Institute’s Electronic Standards Store (ESS) located at ANSI Online provides access to 40,000 printed documents – approved American National Standards as well as ISO and IEC standards.  After reviewing a description of a standard, ANSI members and customers can purchase and download the document. ANSI guarantees the integrity of standards in the ESS by only posting in the nonrevisable .pdf + text format. Standards can be purchased using Visa, MasterCard, or American Express, and prepaid deposit accounts are also available.

ANSI Online is also the host site for the NSSN: A National Resource for Global Standards, an on-line service that provides access to information on more than a quarter million national, foreign, regional and international standards, as well as many U.S. government specs and standards. A free service, NSSN Basic, provides bibliographic data on approved standards. NSSN Enhanced, a subscription-service, provides more powerful and flexible search features and detailed information about standards, such as scopes, references and equivalencies. Searches can be limited to title words, document number, keyword or standards developer, saving time and allowing for more precise results. Included in the subscription price is the Standards Tracking and Automated Reporting service (STAR), providing daily searches and e-mail notification on what standards are being initiated, reviewed, revised or approved; QuickLinks, to U.S. government websites; and databases of U.S. standard developers and U.S. participation in international standardization activities.

ANSI also provides Network Site Licensing, which allows users access to specific documents, periodic updates and, in some cases, draft standards from various collections. Contracts for usage of this service can be designed to meet the needs of each individual user. Log on to www.ansi.org/license for more information.

For those users without internet access, hard-copy versions of most standards are available from Global Engineering Documents (Phone: (800) 854-7179 or (303) 397-7956, Fax: (303) 397-2740, e-mail: global@ihs.com, internet: www.global.ihs.com).

ANSI’s Customer Service Department (212-642-4980) has a staff of dedicated representatives who will answer your questions concerning national or international standards.

What Are You Thinking Now?

The message I leave for you now is to get involved.Recognize that when you are not participating, you have no voice. If you're not "at the table," you'll have little or no chance of proposing your own ideas for consideration in a national or international standard.

Think about what is important to your organization, and how you can achieve competitive advantage through your standardization efforts. It costs relatively little to contribute to the voluntary standards process, and the rewards can be enormous.

The American National Standards Institute is available to assist you in your standardization efforts. Make use of our resources.

And just to help you find us, I'll leave the lamp on.


[1] (ANSI Education and Training Services Seminar) Participate Effectively! - Strategies for Success in Standards, ©1997, American National Standards Institute

[2] Data provided in NIST Special Publication 806, 1996 Edition: Standards Activities of Organizations in the United States, edited by Robert B. Toth.

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