Handling Standards Correctly

I was at the Standards Update for the SLA (Special Librariies  Association) convention in Phoenix this week.  (Yes it was very hot down there!)  And a question came up about Interlibrary Loan (ILL).  The question was, can a standard be sent from one library to another using ILL?  I figure if a librarian has a question about how to correctly handle these copyright documents, maybe you have a question about this too.

The first thing to recognize is that there is a big difference in how you should handle the standards you purchased based on the format you buy.  Copyright law is very clear that when you purchase information in one medium (paper, pdf, e-book, and so on) you do not have the right to transform it into any other format.  So it is illegal to scan a copyright paper document for any reason at all.

Also, you need to take into consideration the fact that when you purchase most standards in pdf format, you accept a license agreement in the process.  Usually, the license restricts your ability to distribute the item.  In other words, most of the time you are getting a single user license that allows you to keep the pdf file on 1 computer for the use of 1 person only.  Ergo, no further distribution at all.

However, if the license does allow you to print 1 paper copy, this is a different kettle of fish.  As all of you library users know, it is entirely legal to loan a paper-based document/book to others.  What are the rules?  It has to be the physical copy that you purchased.  This extends to a printed paper copy as long as it’s within the bounds described in your license.  If you’re allowed 1 printed copy from your pdf file, that’s the only paper copy you can use or share.  No additional print copies are OK.

So a library or organization can take a legally purchased paper copy and loan that copy only to another entity.  This is the concept behind the use of Interlibrary Loan.  And it means that you have this right too.

However, when working with standards you should always remember that you are not a standards distributor.  You can share a print copy with others.  You can have someone else sit at your desk and take a look at a pdf copy you purchased.  And you can and should back up the pdf documents you buy in case of a computer disaster.  But you are not allowed to take a standard you purchase and freely give additional copies to your friends and neighbors.  You must adhere to the rules of copyright.

Why is this especially important in the world of standards?  The consensus standards system of the United States is based on the use of volunteer experts and others to create this valuable data.  The administration of this system is rigorous and costs money.  When you buy a standard, most of the purchase price goes to support this system.  Without the revenues generated from the sales of standards, our system would collapse.

Other information sets are becoming contested.  Many find that they no longer have confidence in the information they are getting from various channels.  Standards must be trusted — it’s not up for discussion.  The information in the standards you use must be complete and correct.  So the current system fulfills a valuable requirement in assuring safety and inter-connectivity of the things we make and use.

Knowing that standards are developed in a consensus fashion, by experts but with public review as an essential element, gives us the assurance we need.  Your compliance with copyright and purchasing your standards from reputable and authorized sources like Document Center Inc. keep this system viable.  Thanks so much for supporting the standards system by following the rules of copyright.

And if you ever have a question about other ways to use the standards you purchase within your organization, please check in with us.  You can reach us by phone (650-591-7600) and email (info@document-center.com).  Our Standards Online service can give you wider accessibility within legal bounds.  After all, it truly is a partnership between the standards developer and you, the standards user.

NISO Z39.102 Draft available for public comment

I’m at the Special Libraries Association Standards Roundtable today.  So I like to highlight a standard of interest to librarians at the same time.  And I’m in luck!  There a new draft NISO Z39.102 that is not only important to librarians but to the rest of the standards community as well!

NISO Z39.102 is titled STS: Standards Tag Suite.  It provides a common XML format for use in standards documents, both the metadata and the content text.  It represents a milestone in the effort to provide standards information in an “intelligent” format.  It will help standards developers and publishers achieve a long-standing goal that first appeared with the release of the SGML standards of the 1980’s.

What is tagging? Actually, you are probably more familiar with the concept of tagging data than you realize. For example, HTML used on web pages is just a form of content tagging.  So when you look at the source data for this page, for example, you’ll see “tags” that include the symbols “<” and “>” in them.  The data within the tags is used by computer programs to identify things like paragraphs and so on.

In XML tagging, and specifically in this type of tagging for standards, an agreed-upon set of informative tags allow computers not only to recognize layout requirements, but also content types.  So we’ll see tags for such things as scope material, referenced documents, tables of contents, and so on in this new draft.

Why use this type of tagging for standards?  NISO Z39.102 will create a consistent methodology for identifying specific areas within standards documents.  Users will have delivery tools that will increase the value of these publications.  You may be able to link from a paragraph in one publishers document to a paragraph in a standard from another source.  The real-life relationships between standards will be realized in the tools you use to work with these data sets.

Standards professionals realize that standards are “living”documents.  They are constantly being reviewed and updated as new factors present themselves.  The use of XML represents a realistic scheme for allowing users better insight into these changes.  And it will further reinforce the interrelationships of the data contained in the universe of standards themselves.

If you have further questions, please get in touch.  You can reach me and the Document Center Inc. staff by phone (650-591-7600) and email (info@document-center.com).  We have been following the evolution of standards data since the 1980’s.  We are happy to help you understand what these changes will mean for you and the standards community at large.



ISO 18415 for Microbiological Examinations of Cosmetics Updated

The ISO 18415 cosmetics standard has just been updated.  You can get your copy of this new revision from Document Center Inc.  Your authorized purchase can be made in paper format or for pdf download.   Cosmetics – Microbiology – Detection of specified and non-specified microorganisms 2nd Edition cancels and replaces the 1st Edition from 2007.

Standards serve a very public service in assuring us that the products that we purchase are safe.  Indeed, quality and safety are two of the most important factors in standards development.  There are many products that we don’t particularly associate with standards.  Yet in areas like cosmetics, standards have an important role to play.

One of these is the determination of microbiological risk and protocols for reducing those risks.  Since cosmetics can harbor pathogens that cause infection, it is essential that cosmetic developers and manufacturers be vigilant.  And special care must be taken to avoid contamination during the manufacturing process itself.

ISO 18415 gives you guidelines for the detection and identification of specified microorganisms in cosmetic products.  You’ll be using a method that involves the use of a liquid medium for detection of microbial growth.  Any microorganisms can then be isolated using an agar media. Details on identifying these micoorganisms are included.  You’ll also find information on specific tests and test equipment.

Those of you already using the document will want to know about the changes in this second edition of ISO 18415.  The committee has provided you with information in the Foreword to the standard.  First, it notes that this is considered a “minor” revision.  Changes can be found in:

  • The scope section
  • Section 3.8
  • Clause 4
  • Sections 5.1, 5.2.1, and
  • Sections 11.3.1, 11.3.2, 11.3.3
  • Clause  12

Most of these updates center on a change to the concept of “validation.”

If you need a copy, use an authorized distributor like Document Center Inc. for your purchase.  You can search for and order from our catalog of over 1 million standards with confidence.  You’ll find the Document Center webstore at www.document-center.com.  Here is a direct link to the order page for ISO 18415 for your convenience.  You may also want to take a look at our Document Center Inc. List of Standards on Cosmetics Microbiology.

Document Center Inc. has been working with standards since 1982.  You’ll find our staff to be knowledgeable, ready to help you with all your standards questions and concerns.  Reach out to us by phone (650-591-7600) or email (info@document-center.com).  You’ll soon find out why so many companies make us their Standards Experts!

The Lasting Legacy of Mil Spec Reform

There are some topics that just won’t go away and Mil Spec Reform seems to be one of them!  The changes made by Secretary Perry in 1994 still ripple throughout the standards community.  And I still get questions about what standards to use that lead back to this historic transformation.

Mil Spec Reform started in the mid-1990’s as part of the DoD’s cost-cutting measures.  It was kicked off by a memo by Secretary Perry in July of 1994.  The memo directed the DoD (Department of Defense) to withdraw mil specs and standards whenever possible in favor of industry standards.  It revamped many of the conventions used during procurement.  And it cited not only cost savings but also adherence to industry norms and access to advanced technologies as reasons for the changes.

The first evidence of the extent of the proposed changes came with the release of the “Hot 105 List.”  This list was a compilation of the specs and standards deemed not only unnecessary but also to cost the U.S. government the most money.  Many of the most widely-used standards were on that list — the MIL-STD-105, MIL-STD-45662, and so on.  Of course, as these documents were withdrawn, industry was in shock! The publications were used not only for military procurement but also for many commercial transactions.

Mil Spec reform did go through. Changes have been extensive within the military, both in procurement processes and in documentation support.  Let’s take a look at some of the lasting impacts.

  1.  Mil Specs and Standards cancelled during this period have been replaced in many cases by industry standards.  And some of those standards are direct adoptions of the military documents themselves by various industry standards developing organizations (SDOs).  So for example, you will see many SAE standards that contain elements of the Mil Specs and Standards they replaced.  Samples are AMS-STD-595 for Federal colors and AMS-STD-2154 for ultrasonic inspection of wrought metals.
  2. Government participation in industry standards development has risen.  Many organizations have developed standards that not only meet commercial requirements but account for government needs as well.  So standardization has bridged the gap between the needs of these two groups in many cases.
  3. The DoD has achieved a reduction in the cost of it’s standardization program.  It no longer needs to certify its suppliers — third parties are now hired for quality and other compliance certifications.  And for the military, the cost of purchasing industry standards is far less than the cost of writing and maintaining a separate system specifically for their own needs.
  4. The cost to industry has risen.  Under the old system, the exclusive use of mil specs and standards was very inexpensive.  The documentation was basically paid for by taxpayer dollars.  However, with reform came an increased cost for suppliers.  Industry standards come with a price tag, sometimes a rather steep one!  And the costs of certification can be expensive as well.
  5. There continues to be some confusion about what documentation to use now that most of the popular Mil Specs and Standards are withdrawn.  This is in part due to the fact that the industry standards collection is far more diverse than the DoD one.  So for example, when trying to determine what should be used in place of the MIL-STD-45662, you have a choice between and ISO standard and an ANSI one.  You’ll have to either depend on contracts to point the way for you or make an evaluation of both documents to determine what is best for your organization.

Mil Spec Reform has an on-going legacy.  It has allowed for huge improvements within the DoD.  It has supported the use of advanced technologies to protect our forces in the field.  It has made the military more cost-effective.  And it has pushed many commercial organizations into the use of industry documentation.

If you have questions about the migration path for any of the obsolete mil specs and standards, please get in touch.  You can reach us by phone (650-591-7600) and email (info@document-center.com).  Some documents do not have a clear path, but many do.  We’ll be happy to help you follow the trail where ever possible.  For a more complete discussion of Mil Spec Reform itself, take a look at Richard Shertzer’s article on the subject.  It’s an in-depth analysis of the process.

And you may just want to look up the obsolete publication at our webstore, www.document-center.com.  We have a catalog of over 1 million publications for you to browse and order from.  Many withdrawn documents have replacement information in the bibliographic record.

UL-969 for Labeling Systems Revised

UL-969, Standard for Marking and Labeling Systems, has just been updated.  The new 5th Edition is available from Document Center Inc. now.

The UL 969 is part of the extensive UL catalog of standards.  UL is a standards developer, certifier, and test laboratory.  Their standards and services are used worldwide.  You’ll find the UL mark on many quality products.

The 969 standard applies to marking and labeling systems used on complete devices, appliances, or equipment.  Labels are the adhesive-attached types for use as permanent nameplates or markers.  They include information, instructions, or identification in the form of text or pictographs.

Labels like these are applied to products at the place where they are manufactured.  So there has to be a spot on the product that is smooth, flat, and rigid.  And it’s also possible that a label covered by this standard might be molded right into a plastic part.

For those of you using this standard, you’ll want to know what the changes are in this new edition.  Here is what UL has to say:

The Fifth Edition of UL 969 has been issued to reflect the latest ANSI approval date.  It also incorporates the following changes in requirements:

1. Deletion of the pocket knife shown in Figure 4.1.

2. Addition of Hydraulic Fluid Immersion as an additional exposure condition.

If you’re using earlier editions of this standard, you’ll want a copy of the new revision.

As an authorized UL Distributor, Document Center Inc. sells the UL standards (both current and obsolete) from our webstore, www.document-center.com.  You’ll be able to choose from over 1 million publications from a wide selection of standards developers.  For your convenience, here is a direct link to the order page for the UL 969.

You may have other questions or want additional support for your documentation requirements.  We have been working with standards since 1982 and know the challenges facing those of you with compliance requirements.  Check in with us about our wide range of products and services to support your documentation needs.  You can reach us by phone (650-591-7600) and email (info@document-center.com).  Learn why thousands of companies make Document Center Inc. their Standards Experts!

MIL-STD-331 Revision D Released for Fuzes

MIL-STD-331 has been revised and the new Revision D is available now from Document Center Inc.  This standard is titled Fuzes, Ignition Safety Devices and Other Related Components, Environmental and Performance Tests for.  It describes tests used in procurement by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).  These tests show the safety, reliability and performance characteristics of weapon initiation systems, ignition safety devices, fuzes and their components.

MIL-STD-331 has been in use since 1966.  Since it is a test method standard, it has been revised numerous times over the years as one or another test has been updated.  This reflects the greater co-ordination among the forces for standardizing the various environmental and performance tests in this area.

Revision D is a technical update and replaces the Revision C with Change Notice 1 from 2009.  The new MIL-STD-331 D has a number of changes.  Here are some of the major ones:

  • The transportation vibration section has been revised
  • ITOP 1-2-601 has been added to Appendix section B3.1
  • The leak test in Appendix section C8.1 uses a radioisotope method now in place of the previous halogen gas method
  • Appenix F now references sever JOTPs (Joint Ordnance Test Procedures)
  • Appendix F section F5 includes a new Electrical Stress Test
  • Appendix G has a new section G5 plus other clarifying changes
  • The addition of new definitions, editorial corrections, and clarifications have also been made

Many times updated Mil Standards will include black lines in the margins to help you find the corrections.  This is not the case with MIL-STD-331 D since the revisions are extensive.

If you need a copy of this update, check in with Document Center Inc.  We’ve been working with U.S. military publications since 1982 and have an extensive collection of standards for you to choose from.  Use our webstore at www.document-center.com to order from our catalog of over 1 million publications.  Here is a direct link to the MIL-STD-331 order page for your convenience.

Why do people purchase government standards from Document Center Inc.?  One important reason is our best-in-class notification service.  Also, our prices are lower than the competition.  And our staff provides you with knowledgeable assistance for your compliance documentation requirements.  Reach out to us by phone (650-591-7600) or email (info@document-center.com).  You’ll soon learn why so many organizations make us their Standards Experts!

Three ANSI H35 Standards on Aluminum updated

Three ANSI H35 Standards on Aluminum have been updated and the new 2017 Editions are available from Document Center Inc. now.  The new revisions are for the ANSI H35.1/H35.1M, the ANSI H35.2, and the ANSI H35.4.  All represent technical updates and make previous editions obsolete.

Let’s take a quick look at each of the three, including the changes in the new 2017 Editions:

ANSI H35.1/H35.1(M)-2017: American National Standard Alloy and Temper Designation Systems for Aluminum

The ANSI H35.1 provides the designation system for wrought aluminum, wrought aluminum alloys, aluminum and aluminum alloys in the form of castings and foundry ingot, and tempers.  The new edition updates the definitions for basic H and T tempers.  It also discontinues the practice of assigning experimental alloy designations.  Variation requirements are updated, footnotes 4 and 5 are revised, and Section 3.2.1 is clarified.

ANSI H35.2-2017: American National Standard Dimensional Tolerances for Aluminum Mill Products

ANSI H35.2 covers the tolerances for sheet and plate, fin stock, foil, wire, rod, and bar, tube and pipe, forgings, forging stock, and electrical conductors.  The new 2017 Edition updates illustrations, as well as making editorial corrections and clarifications to table headings and footnotes.  Footnote 1 has been removed.  There are also changes to the list of definitions, the addition of the definition of applicable limits, and edits to the definition of mean wall thickness.

ANSI H35.4-2017-American National Standard Designation System for Unalloyed Aluminum

The ANSI H35.4 provides a system for designating unalloyed aluminum not made by a refining process and used primarily for remelting.  Your changes in the 2017 Edition include the clarification of the prefix P.  Testing and reporting requirements  for unalloyed aluminum not made by a refining process are also clarified.

Now you’ll need to get copies of these new ANSI H35 publications.  You’ll find Document Center Inc. to be a great choice for your purchase.  You can search for and order standards at our webstore, www.document-center.com.  There you’ll find over 1 million publications to choose from. Purchases come with our best-in-class notification service at no additional charge.

Perhaps you need additional help with managing your compliance documentation.  If so, contact us by phone (650-591-7600) or email (info@document-center.com).  We have been working with standards since 1982 and have a wide variety of supporting service just for you.  Learn why so many organizations make us their Standards Experts!

ISO/IEC 20741 – Evaluating Software Engineering Tools

ISO/IEC 20741, Systems and software engineering – Guideline for the evaluation and selection of software engineering tools, has just been released.  It’s a guide for a more cost-effective way to select software engineering tools for your organization.  It does this by showing you how to organize software tool functions and features into a standardized process.

When you go to choose a software package for engineering or configuration management, you need a methodology to compare capabilities and functions.  The ISO/IEC 20741 provides you with a framework for review of the processes and characteristics of this type of software.

It starts with an overview of the process of evaluation and selection itself.  Then it reviews the preparation process, the structuring process and the evaluation process.  Next, the engineering tool section is addressed.  The formal standard ends with a general discussion of software tool characteristics themselves.

Two Annexes are included to help you execute this process.  The first, Annex A, provides you with examples of selection algorithms.  Annex B gives you a list of evaluation report contents you should include.  A 22-item bibliography completes the publication.

The new ISO/IEC 20741 can be used in conjunction with the capabilities lists that are found in ISO/IEC TR 18018, ISO/IEC TR 24766, and ISO/IEC 30130.  It follows the product evaluation model found in ISO/IEC 25041.  And it adopts the model of software product characteristics from ISO/IEC 25010.

If you need any of these standards, use Document Center Inc. for your purchase.  We are an authorized distributor of both the ISO and IEC Standards.  You’ll be able to order from our catalog of over 1 million documents at our webstore, www.document-center.com.  Here is a direct link to the order page for ISO/IEC 20741 for your convenience.

Of course, standards users need more than just the standards publications  themselves.  Since we’ve been working with compliance information since 1982, we have a wide array of supporting services available to you.  And you’ll always find our staff to be knowledgeable, friendly and responsive.  Reach out to us by phone (650-591-7600) or email (info@document-center.com).  When it comes to documentation requirements, make us your Standards Experts!

What ever happened to MIL-STD-2154?

What ever happened to MIL-STD-2154, Inspection, Ultrasonic, Wrought Metals, Process for?  Actually, the standard was picked up by SAE International.  It was renumbered AMS-STD-2154 and has been an active standard ever since.  Since the AMS-STD-2154 has just been updated to a new Revision C, let’s take a look at the history.

MIL-STD-2154 was an important metals standard provided for defining uniform methods for ultrasonic examination of wrought metals and wrought metal products.  It was originally released in 1982.  The transition from the MIL-STD-2154 to the AMS-STD-2154 has been a rocky one.  Here’s what happened:

SAE first published the AMS-STD-2154 in 1998.  It was identical to the original MIL-STD-2154 from 1992.  However,  the MIL-STD-2154 was only withdrawn by the DoD in 2004.  So for a while the two standards lived concurrently.  This was a confusing situation that occurred more than once.  Industry associations assumed that certain military publications were going to be cancelled.  In response, they developed identical industry documents.  However, for what ever reason, cancellation of the military spec or standard didn’t happen.

Since the original MIL-STD-2154 Cancellation Notice in 2004, there have been an additional 2 cancellations.  The Notice 2 was released in 2008 and the Notice 3 was released in 2009.  Cancellation Notice 2 directed Military procurement officers to use the ASTM-E2375 instead of the AMS-STD-2154.  The Cancellation Notice 3 allows for the use of both the AMS and ASTM documents.

In the meantime, the AMS-STD-2154 has been undergoing changes.  Revision A was released in 2012 and Revision B in February of 2017.  However, there were errors in Revision B and SAE International retracted the update.  Now, with the release of Revision C, the document has been corrected.

What was the problem?  Some of the paragraphs in Revision B were mis-numbered.  Since Revision C is the correct update, changes from Revision A are still noted with the black lines in the margins.  This will help you identify areas where revisions may impact your processes.

Another thing to note is that the AMS-STD-2154 replaces not only the MIL-STD-2154 but also the MIL-I-8950.  So you can see that the publication has become a staple for this type of ultrasonic inspection.

Now to get a copy.  SAE International standards are covered by copyright and must be purchased from an authorized distributor like Document Center Inc.  You can  search for and order these standards at our webstore, www.document-center.com.  Here is a direct link to the order page for AMS-STD-2154.  Want to look at the history of the Mil Standard?  Here’s our history page for the MIL-STD-2154.

SAE International standards are available in both paper format and for pdf download.  If you have questions about how to use these copyright documents correctly, please get in touch with us.  We can be reached by phone (650-591-7600) and/or email (info@document-center.com).  We have been working with standards since 1982.  Our staff is a knowledgeable resource for your organization.  Make us your Standards Experts!

New ISO 20700 for Management Consultants

ISO 20700, Guidelines for management consultancy services, has just been released.  It is the second standard on the subject — the first being the EN 16114 that was released in 2011.  It is another indication that standards are moving beyond the “hard” topics of engineering, purchasing support, and material and product specifications. As developed economics move from manufacturing into services, more such standards should be expected.

The ISO 20700 is a guidance document, written for management consultants and their organizations.  It is intended on helping you achieve better results from your various projects and reduce risks inherent in the business.  Areas addressed include quality, professionalism, ethical behavior and interoperability.  It reflects the desire to improve effectiveness and thus accelerate the development of this sector.

The 36-page standard was developed with the support of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes.  It is a consortium of national institutes, all directed to improving professionalism within the consulting community.  One important tool for this is developing and maintaining standards.

After discussing the principles that form the foundation of the ISO 20700, the three main parts of the consulting practice are reviewed.  These include the initial contract, the execution, and the closure stages.  Then a number of Annexes complete the document.

The Annexes cover some of the basics: examples of stakeholder, the basic structure of consulting activities, and so on.  But they also contain examples of codes of conduct, guidelines for managing conflict of interest, capability evaluation, risk management, and “pre-assignment” activities.  A 17-item bibliography completes the publication.

If you’re a consultant or part of a consultancy, you’ll want this new standard.  Purchase an authorized copy at the Document Center Inc. webstore, www.document-center.com. Here is a direct link to the order page for ISO 20700 for your convenience.  And go ahead and search for other standards you need from our collection of over 1 million documents!

We have been working with standards since 1982 and have a wide range of products and services to support the compliance activities of you and your customers.  And we are able to work with organizations who are just setting up their documentation systems.  You’ll find our staff to be most helpful and knowledgeable.  So contact us by phone (650-591-7600) or email (info@document-center.com).  Then make us your Standards Experts!