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What's in a Name? On the Day We Became These United States, Standards Highlight the Importance of Nomenclature

Even the biggest history buffs may not know this one: On September 9, 1776, the Continental Congress formally declared the name of the newly formed nation to be the "United States of America," replacing the "United Colonies," which had been in general use. In the Congressional declaration, the delegates wrote, "That in all continental commissions, and other instruments, where, heretofore, the words 'United Colonies' have been used, the stile be altered for the future to the "United States." The change was intended to reflect the understanding, "That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States…," according to a resolution presented to the Congress by Virginia statesman Richard Henry Lee.

Back then, Mr. Lee and the rest of the Founding Fathers recognized the importance of an appropriate and consistently used name to communicate meaning and ensure broad understanding. And today, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) promotes the development of standards for nomenclature that serve those same purposes for countless names, terms, and definitions used in every area of modern life - within these aptly named United States and well beyond.

Get It in Gear
Gears are one of the fundamental components within all kinds of mechanical devices used in every industry sector. A recently published American National Standard (ANS) developed by ANSI accredited standards developer the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA) establishes the definitions of terms, symbols, and abbreviations used to communicate the technology and specifications of external and internal gear teeth. ANSI/AGMA 1012-G05 (R2011), Gear Nomenclature, Definitions of Terms with Symbols, also provides definitive meanings via the use of words and illustrations for commonly used gearing terms.

Power Surge
During the recent storms on the East Coast, millions of Americans flocked to hardware and drug stores and in search of batteries for flashlights and portable radios. And while they weren't all assured of finding any left on the shelves, they could be sure that those they purchased were a standard size and functionality based on their designated letter - AAA, AA, D, etc. An international standard from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), IEC 60086-1 Ed. 11.0 b:2011, Primary batteries - Part 1: General, provides guidelines for primary (non-rechargeable) batteries with respect to dimensions, nomenclature, terminal configurations, markings, test methods, typical performance, safety, and environmental aspects.

The standard is intended to benefit primary battery users, device designers, and battery manufacturers by ensuring that batteries from different manufacturers are interchangeable according to standard form, fit, and function. It was developed by IEC Technical Committee (TC) 35, Primary Cells and Batteries. Japan holds the secretariat to TC 35, with Michael H. Babiak of the United States serving as chairman.

To Your Health
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are well over 10,000 different types of medical devices on the market, ranging from high-tech diagnostic and therapeutic equipment for treating cancer, to stethoscopes and other basic technologies used by doctors on a daily basis. And these devices have the capacity to improve the health and lives of people all around the globe if they have access to proper and reliable use.

An International Standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides rules and guidelines for a medical device nomenclature data structure to facilitate cooperation and exchange of data used by international regulatory bodies between interested parties, including regulatory authorities, manufacturers, suppliers, health care providers, and end users. ISO 15225:2010, Medical devices - Quality management - Medical device nomenclature data structure, specifies guidelines for a minimum data set and its structure. These guidelines are provided for system designers setting up databases that utilize the nomenclature system described.

ISO 15223-2 has been developed by ISO TC 210, Quality management and corresponding general aspects for medical devices. The U.S. holds the secretariat of this committee, and ANSI has delegated leadership responsibilities to the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer. AAMI is also the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator for this TC.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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