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.

 

 

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.

What is the difference between ANSI Z540.1 and ANSI Z540.3?

The replacement of the ANSI Z540.1 with the ANSI Z540.3 and the ISO/IEC 17025 back in 2007 has led to a number of questions from Document Center Inc. customers.  To help you understand the situation, here’s a review of the migration path.  And we’ll discuss the differences between the ANSI Z540.1 and ANSI Z540.3 as we go.

Calibration is an essential activity in many organizations, including test labs and manufacturing firms with precision machinery.  Back in the day, the MIL-C-45662 Calibration System Requirements ruled the day.  This original Mil Spec was replaced by the standard MIL-STD-45662 in 1980.  However with Mil Spec reform in the 1990’s, the document was cancelled in favor of the ANSI-Z540.1 and ISO-10012.

ANSI Z540.1 was titled Laboratories, Calibration, and Measuring and Test Equipment.  Released in 1994, it consisted of 2 parts — the Part 1 was based on the old ISO/IEC Guide 25 (now ISO/IEC 17025).  The Part 2 was based on the MIL-STD-45662 Revision A.  So you can see that the document was a natural successor to the old military document.  However, it was developed specifically for calibration services, not testing labs.

The Part 1 directly addressed general requirements for the competence of calibration labs.  It applied to the development and implementation of a quality system.  For some situations, these older requirements may still be used when both the customer and the lab are in agreement.

With the release of the ISO/IEC 17025 (General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories) in December 1999, there was an obvious overlap between the two standards.  In an effort to make it clear and easy for users, NCSL (the caretaker of the ANSI Z540 documents) decided to revamp the Z540 publication.  A new standard would take the place of the Part 2 while the ISO/IEC 17025 would be adopted for the material in Part 1.

The ANSI Z540.1 Part 2 addressed quality assurance requirements for a supplier’s system with regards to measurement accuracy.  This included calibration of test equipment.  It provided customers to be assured that the calibration lab was meeting the prescribed requirements.

The “new” ANSI Z540.3, Requirements for the Calibration of Measuring and Test Equipment, again establishes the technical requirements for the calibration of measuring and test equipment.  So you’ll get requirements for establishing and maintaining the performance of your measuring and test equipment.  The suitability of a calibration for the application is covered.  And the traceability of your measurement results to the International System of Units (SI) is included.

So to recap, the ANSI Z540.1 was an umbrella publication.  When the ISO/IEC 17025 was released, a new ANSI Z540.3 was issued just for the calibration requirements themselves.  The ISO/IEC document was adopted for the competence requirements.

If you need any of these publications, use Document Center Inc. for your purchase.  We have over 1 million standards for you to choose from at our webstore www.document-center.com.  Here are direct links to the order pages for ANSI Z540.3 and the ISO/IEC 17025.

Document Center Inc. has been working with standards since 1982.  We have a familiarity with standards that you’ll find at few other organizations.  Reach out to us by phone (650-591-7600) or email (info@document-center.com) with any questions you may have.  Our services support compliance needs of many companies around the world.  Make us your Standards Experts!

 

New MedDev and In Vitro MedDev Regulations approved in Europe

The much-anticipated updating of both the Medical Device Directive (93/42/eec) and the In Vitro Medical Device Directive (98/79/ec) have finally been formally approved.  The next step for the new MedDev and In Vitro MedDev Regulations is publication in the Official Journal.  This is expected in early May.  The official transition period should begin in June.  The new Regulations should be fully in force in three years for Medical Devices, and in five years for In Vitro Medical Devices.

The new MedDev and In Vitro MedDev Regulations have been in process for the last 8 years.  This is the first major revision of the Directives issued in the 1990’s.

Changes to the Medical Device Directive appear to be primarily a modernization of the original rules.  You can expect to see best practices from existing Commission guidance to now be included. During your transition, plan to implement requirements that have been the subject of recent harmonization.  This is particularly true in the areas of risk management and clinical evidence.  Expect to tighten up your control over your supply chain as well.

In the In Vitro Medical Device arena, you have a longer timeline for compliance with the new rules.  This implies that there are still areas needing clarification during the “secondary legislation” phase.  That said, the Regulations are a major update for the rules for these devices.  The use of 4 risk-based classes, with differing levels of requirements, will mean more extensive use of Notified Bodies during the certification process.  Performance evaluations, distribution requirements and “responsible person” requirements will all impact your certifications.

Once the 2 new regulations are published in the Official Journal, the clock is ticking.  The official text of the new regulations will be available at that time (likely early May).  Please send us an email (info@document-center.com) if you need copies.  Use “New MedDev Regs” as the subject and we’ll reply with your complimentary copies as soon as they are issued.

If you need assistance with the many standards on the Harmonized Lists for these two Regulations/Directives, please let us know.  You can search for and order standards at our webstore, www.document-center.com.  But many of our customers do have questions regarding which editions to choose, transition times, and so on.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  We’re your Standards Experts!

Incorporation by Reference (IBR) News

The issue of Incorporation by Reference (IBR) of standards into the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) has generated a number of copyright issues.  Now with a recent ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, some clarity has been offered.

At issue is the very concept of copyright for standards documents referenced in U.S. regulations.  There has been an on-going debate about copyright in these instances.  Should IBR standards be freely available or should the rights of the copyright holder (the standards developer) be upheld?

On one side of this debate stands an organization called Public.Resource.org, Inc. which has been posting IBR standards on the Internet.  Challenging the “freely available standards” stance, ASTM International, ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) and NFPA (the National Fire Protection Association Inc.) are on the other.  The battleground was a lawsuit brought by these Standards Developers (SDOs) against Public Resource for posting standards without permission and without compensation.

Last week, the court ruled in favor of the SDOs.  This means that IBR does not move referenced standards into the public domain.  Copyright protection continues to be in force.  This may mean free “read-only” access or it may mean the standards need to be purchased.  Each SDO continues to be the decision maker with regards to distribution.

Why is this considered a victory by SDOs?  Sale of publications in many cases is a significant part of the funding for these non-profit organizations.  IBR standards can be some of the most frequently used documents in their catalogs.  The potential lost revenue represents a legitimate challenge to the way standardization is funded.  As ANSI (the American National Standards Institute) notes, “The ruling supports ANSI members and the standards ecosystem, and enables the plaintiffs to continue to develop high-quality voluntary consensus standards that support federal, state, and local agencies.”

The standards community as a whole is grateful to these three associations for taking on the legal challenge presented by Public Resource and others of its kind.  Copyright protection requires constant vigilance.  However, many associations do not have the funds available to take on such a case.  Leadership by ASTM, ASHRAE and NFPA has been a boon to the community as a whole.

Standards are included in our regulations as best-practice solutions for health, safety, and quality requirements.  Having the two systems work in harmony is essential — one being the voluntary standards system and the other the regulatory framework for the enforcement of our laws.  I expect this ruling to provide the legal precedence needed for creating a stable legal footing regarding copyright and IBR for the standards developing community.

IPC 7711 & 7721 Updated for electronic assemblies

IPC 7711 & 7721, Rework, Modification and Repair of Electronic Assemblies, has been updated.  The new Revision C is available from Document Center Inc. now in a variety of formats.  It is used by companies that repair, supply materials for and rework electronic assemblies.  You’ll use this standard for the procedures for reworking, modifying, and repairing these products.

The new IPC 7711 & 7721 Revision C contains the latest best practices for the industry.  Common procedures and general information on the topic are provided.  The new edition contains a number of important changes.  IPC highlights the following updates:

  • Change procedures incorporated to the main document
  • Additional BGA – CSP Removal Procedure
  • Additional BGA – CSP Installation Procedure
  • Graphics Updated
  • Individual procedures controlled by review date

Document Center Inc. has been selling the IPC standards for many years.  The IPC 7711 & 7721 is one of our consistent best sellers in the IPC publication collection.  Why?  Companies that do any repair or rework of electronic assemblies rely on this standard for maintaining their good workmanship requirements.

If you need a copy of this new issue, it’s available at our webstore www.document-center.com in a number of formats.  To take a look and choose what’s going to work best for you, here is the results page for IPC 7711 & 7721.  Please remember that all electronic formats (Pdf delivery and CD Rom format) are non-printing.  If you need a printed copy, you’ll need to purchase the standard in paper format.

You may have more questions about this document.  Or you may want to know more about the many other products and services we offer to standards users like yourself.  Get in touch with our knowledgeable staff by phone (650-591-7600) or email (info@document-center.com) for the assistance you need.  We have been selling standards since 1982 and make a point of educating our staff on the nuances of this type of compliance information.  Make us your Standards Experts!

3 New IEC Nanotechnology Specs Released

There are 3 new IEC Nanotechnology Technical Specifications and those of you in the  industry will want to get copies.  One is a vocabulary document (IEC TS 8004-9).  The other two address Nanomanufacturing (IEC TS 62607-3-2 and IEC TS 62607-4-5).  We’ll take a look at each of them one at a time.

IEC TS 80004-9Nanotechnologies – Vocabulary – Part 9: Nano-enabled electrotechnical products and systems

This new technical specification has been released to help those of you working on the synthesis of nanomaterials and composites.  The uses of these materials are being explored for high energy storage batteries, for example.  Since the field is growing quickly, there’s a need for this terms and definitions document.  Some examples of terms addressed include NEMS (nano-electromechanical system) and OE (organic electronics).  It should be used by folks in the field of nanotechnologies and the production of electrotechnical products and systems.

IEC TS 62607-3-2Nanomanufacturing – Key control characteristics – Part 3-2: Luminescent nanoparticles – Determination of mass of quantum dot dispersion

Luminescent nanoparticles are finding their way into a number of applications, including medical diagnostic devices, lighting, and “smart” glass.  This is achieved by the use of “quantum dots,” the physical particles themselves.  Of course, these dots need to be synthesized and tested for stability.  This 18-page technical specification addresses the technical details of determining the mass of a sample quantum dot dispersion. Measurements are taken after the impurities and sufactant ligands are removed by heating to high temperatures.

IEC TS 62607-4-5Nanomanufacturing – Key control characteristics – Part 4-5: Cathode nanomaterials for nano-enabled electrical energy storage – Electrochemical characterization, 3-electrode cell method

This 26-page technical specification is also a highly technical document for nanomanufacturing.  It too focuses on energy systems, particularly batteries for electric vehicles.  Of particular interest is the use of electrodes made from nanoscale composites.  The document specifically provides a methodology for characterizing the electrochemical properties of new cathode nanomaterials.  It is based on a 3-electrode cell method.  This will help you compare different types of cathode nanomaterials (like lithium iron phosphate – LFP) during your developmental stages.

Where do you get your IEC Standards?  IEC directs you to use authorized distributors like Document Center Inc.  You can search for and order from over 1 million documents at our webstore, www.document-center.com.  Or if you need additional information or assistance, just get in touch with our staff.  We can be reached by phone (650-591-7600) or email (info@document-center.com).

Document Center Inc. also has an array of supporting services to help you collect, maintain and distribute the standards your organizations needs.  Check in with us about notification, reporting and access options.  We have been working with Standards since 1982 and IEC since the 1990’s.  Make us your Standards Experts!

 

EN Adoptions of IEC Standards

I recently had a question about the EN adoptions of IEC standards.  The question was basically, “How can I know when an EN adoption of an IEC standard is identical to the original IEC document?”  This is a valid question since the EN adoptions may or may not include changes from the source material.

Of course, since all EN ISO adoptions are labeled that way (i.e., “EN ISO 9001”), questions come up frequently about why the IEC adoptions are not the same.  I have always answered that since the IEC adoptions are not necessarily identical to the source, the same numbering protocol has not been used.  While true, most customers are not very pleased with this answer!

Well, good news for all you standards users out there!  CENELEC and IEC have signed a new agreement that will change the way that the adoption process is handled.  Here are some highlights from the new Frankfurt agreement last October.

Currently 80% of the EN adoptions of IEC standards are identical to the source material.  From now on, IEC documents that are adopted without changes will be labeled “EN IEC.” This will be just like the ISO adoptions.  So when you see a new release numbered “EN IEC,” you’ll know the IEC content has not been changed.

Further, CENELEC and IEC are striving to harmonize an even greater number of standards.  So there should be more European adoptions that are identical to the source IEC standards. Organizations that rely on these documents for their electronic products (now almost 20% of all global trade) are sure to be pleased.

National differences in standards make for confusion and expense.  And they detract from a region or country’s competitiveness.  This is good news indeed that Europe is working towards a reduction in these types of variations.

The lack of clarity in the current situation has been a hindrance to global usage of the EN adoptions.  It has caused confusion in the marketplace when a product meets the requirements of the EN adoption.  Folks just don’t know if meeting the EN edition is the same as meeting the IEC edition.  Over time, the new protocol will make it easier to understand equivalencies.

The last time the EN adoptions of IEC standards were administratively addressed was back in 1996 in Dresden.  Times have changed and industry is pushing for more harmonization as markets continue to globalize.  Expect to see the new system implemented soon.  And don’t be surprised when some of the numbers of the standards you frequently use are updated.  Now that you know what the revision means, you’ll be glad to see it happening!

Meantime, if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.  Our staff will be happy to work with you so you can understand the migration path of your compliance information.  Reach out to us by phone (650-591-7600) or email (info@document-center.com).  And go ahead and search for and order the standards you need at the Document Center Inc. webstore, www.document-center.com.  We’ve been working with standards for over 35 years.  Make us your Standards Experts!

Further thoughts on Brexit and BS EN Standards

Recently I blogged about the Brexit and BS EN Standards.  As time goes on, the likelihood of a “soft Brexit” seem to be diminishing.  So my initial analysis certainly looks less likely.

After the Brexit vote, there was talk of Britain taking the same path as Norway and Switzerland.  That is, Britain would choose to remain part of the European Economic Area (EEA) while exiting the EU itself.  This would certainly be the least disruptive option.  However, with many of the statements that Prime Minister May has made, this path seems to be out of the question now.

The most recent positive news suggests that May is interested in retaining some economic ties to the EU.  There is talk of adopting the entire body of EU laws and regulations.  This would mean that the EN standards would remain in force in the UK after an EU exit.

However, the possibility of the British Standards Institute (BSI) remaining on as the publisher of the official English language editions of the EN standards is questionable at this point.  Since Britain would not be officially part of the EU or EEA, the right to publish official documents does not seem possible in my eyes.  There is no doubt that the institution would continue to audit for compliance.  They would simply be assigned those rights by a Notified Body still within the remaining EU.

Many of our Document Center Inc. customers have invested in extensive collections of BS EN standards.  Further, those editions are often referenced in company documentation.  Moving forward, you may want to rethink this policy if you are in this situation.  There are English language editions of the EN standards published by other national standards bodies.  These editions have the same weight as those from BSI and are identical except for the cover sheets.

If you are uncertain of what to do, check in with your certification body first.  Then, get in touch with us for suggestions of other options for your EN standards purchases.  You can reach our staff by phone (650-591-7600) and email (info@document-center.com).  While immediate action is not required, development of a long term strategy is certainly be advisable.