What makes Document Center different than other standards resellers?

SES, the Society for Standards Professionals, had it’s annual conference this week in Savannah GA.  There’s always informational sessions as well as good chances to network with a wide variety of folks interested in standards — standards users, writers, publishers and enforcers.  I enjoy attending to represent Document Center and also participating in the association.  This year I put together the legal session, “Standards Free on the Internet??  Do you know what your IP is doing tonight?”  My speakers were

  • Thomas Sehested from MarkMonitor on digital piracy in general and the tactics for removing such IP infringement,
  • Nicholas Fleury from ISO on what the International Standards community is doing to combat piracy, and
  • Scott Cooper from ANSI on how standards organizations can approach the requirements of inclusion of standards by reference in U.S. regulations (known as Inclusion by Reference or IBR).

Mike Tiller from CGA, the Compressed Gas Association, moderated the session and was able to provide the background on the challenges that standards developers have always had with protecting the copyrighted publications they produce.  It turned out to be a lively and well-received presentation and again, thanks to the participants.

But while I was at the event, I was asked to define what makes Document Center Inc. different from the other resources one can use to purchase standards.  For us, there are clear differences in how Document Center does business.

In comparison to the Standards Developers themselves, Document Center sells and monitors over 500,000 globally generated publications covering a wide range of government and industry sources.  We not only sell and track what would be traditionally considered “standards,” but also regulatory conformance information as well.

Unlike our direct competitors, Document Center is not only interested in selling you standards, but also in making you a more educated and informed standards user.  We have our 2 blogs, StandardsForum.com and blog.document-center.com, to provide you with information on hot topics in standardization, new releases, and general standards questions.  And we have current awareness products, so you can see the activity in standardization in your field.

Document Center has a superior monitoring service so you can track when changes are issued to the documents you use.  Our regular notification service happens every 2 to 3 weeks, and there are premium services that are run every day.  We notify you not only of complete revision updates, but also when errata and other kinds of change notices are issued.

Additionally, Document Center has auditing services and reporting products that will help you review the status of your standards collection prior to any audits you might have to meet.  We realize that maintaining your standards collection is not an easy task, but we have the knowledge to support you so that you can easily meet your legal and contractual requirements.

When you register at Document Center’s website, www.document-center.com, you’ll see the list of the standards you’ve purchased from us each time you log in.  How does this help you?  Any item that has a change since you purchased it will be highlighted!

Our company was founded in 1982 and is a small woman-owned business.  We’re located in Silicon Valley and have been at the forefront of the migration of standards information from paper distribution to electronic delivery.  We put our catalog of standards on the web in 1993, with the latest update of our site last year bringing you even more tools to find and purchase standards.

Document Center is here to answer your questions about standards and improve the use of standards within your organization.  I can’t tell you the number of times our customers have put us on speaker phone so that their co-worker can talk with us about the nuances of some standards issue or another.  You can use other resources, but they will not support you and your company to the extent that Document Center will.  We are your Standards Experts and look forward to working with you!

Claudia Bach to be a presenter at SLA’s Standards Roundtable

For those of you interested in libraries and information science, the Special Libraries Association (SLA) is a go-to organization.  Document Center has been participating in SLA activities since the 1980’s.  Why?  Because we appreciate the insightful feedback these information professionals have to offer.  And the yearly conference is a great time to review the fast-changing developments in information usage and distribution.

So I’m quite pleased to be part of the annual Standards Roundtable that will be part of the 2013 SLA Conference in San Diego.  The event runs from Sunday June 9th to Tuesday June 11th at the Convention Center.  The Roundtable will be held Sunday at 1:30 in the Convention Room 12.  It includes presentations by representatives of various Standards Developing Organizations as well as standards aggregators like Document Center Inc.

In fact, Document Center hosted the Standards Roundtable for 3 years during the 1990’s!  And we also organized a number of special sessions on various topics of interest to standards specialists at this annual conference.

We’ll have lots to present this year, as we not only have a nice slate of products but also a sneak preview of the next phase of our website development.  As an early adopter of the Internet (our website was online in 1993), we’ve always been an advocate for technology innovation at SLA.  With the changes accomplished and pending on our site, we’re back at it again!

SLA is a great organization.  It’s comprised of information professionals from industry, government, and academia.  Many of the members have their Masters in Library Science degrees, so it’s a pleasure to interact with them.  In fact, much of the encouragement and ideas for Document Center in the early days when I took over the business (1985) came from local SLA members here in Silicon Valley.

I also wanted to mention that World Accreditation Day is coming up on June 9th as well.  Sponsored by ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation) and IAF (International Accreditation Forum), the focus this year is “Facilitation Global Trade.”  The day highlights the role that accredited conformity assessment plays in promoting cross border trade.

It looks like June is going to be a busy month!  Here at Document Center, we’re looking forward to seeing many of our customers and industry contacts at the Standards Roundtable.  I hope to see you then!

Happy Holidays from Document Center Inc.!

Document Center Inc. wants to thank all our customers for a great year this year!  We’ve released the new version of the website and our web traffic has doubled.  Sales are up and customers are making more use of our services than ever.  StandardsForum.com is also doing very well, showing that there is a need for expert information on the standards you use in your businesses.

It’s been our 30th anniversary year, and we’re delighted to have been able to serve the standards industry during this time.  It’s been amazing to see the transformation of the sector as new technologies are made available for creating and distributing information.

We will be closed on Monday December 24th and Tuesday December 25th.  And then next week, we’ll be closed Monday December 31st and Tuesday January 1st.  Our staff is taking advantage of the quiet time of year to be with family and friends and hope that you are able to do the same.

Happy Holidays!

Norman Joseph Woodland, co-inventor and developer of the Barcode, dies at 91

Every standard has a story, and we are reminded of the long road of an idea to common acceptance with the death last Saturday of Norman Joseph (“Joe”) Woodland.  Co-inventor of the Barcode (along with Bernard “Bob” Silver, who died in 1963), the idea came to Mr. Woodland during an afternoon in 1948 at the beach.  Running his hand through the Florida sand, he realized that he could develop a code using lines instead of dots and dashes like Morse Code.

Woodland and Silver applied for a patent on their idea in 1949 (issued in 1952) and Woodland began working at IBM in 1951.  Although the idea was well received, it was considered impractical to implement at that time.  Woodland and Silver sold their patent to Philco in 1962 (apparently for $15,000.00).

Finally during the 1970’s, interest was revived in developing a scanning system for identification, first in the rail industry and then in the grocery business.  IBM remembered the Woodland was still employed by them and put him back on the case.  He redesigned his original circular code lines as linear ones.  However, adoption within the grocery business was still slow.  The first scan?  Wrigley’s gum at a Marsh’s supermarket in Troy, Ohio, in 1974!

Then in the 1980’s the Department of Defense adopted the use of Code 39 (First ANSI MH10.8M and MIL-STD-1189, later ANSI/AIM BC1), which was the first widely adopted bar code standard.  I can well remember the many requests for these documents when we first started the business!  And not surprisingly, DoD adoptance drove commercial usage.  Now there are a number of ISO/IEC standards, both for bar code symbology and for bar code scanner quality control and verification (listed below).

Mr. Woodland himself remained a fan of the bar code and was noted for wearing a tee-shirt with a large bar code on the front.  He was delighted with the wide-spread adoption of the bar code into uses that he would have never thought of at the time he originally conceived of the idea, as when he donated blood and was surprised that the container was identified with a bar code.

As we can see, this story follows the normal progress of an idea into practical usage — and with widespread adoption, into standardization.  Until Telecommunications and Information Technology started to affect the standards business in the 1980’s, this long roll-out of a technology into the “public domain” was routine.  Only in recent years have the requirements of commerce demanded a faster system to allow for standardization ahead of adoption.

And too I’m reminded of those many people that are involved in the development of things we often take for granted.  There’s many folks working in standards developing committees right now that are impacting the way our world works, knowing that their greatest source of satisfaction is going to be in those small moments when they see an implementation of their idea or standard at work!

Here’s your list of current ISO/IEC Bar Code Standards:

  • ISO/IEC 15417, Code 128 bar code symbology specification
  • ISO/IEC 15420, EAN/UPC bar code symbology specification
  • ISO/IEC 15424, Data Carrier Identifiers (including Symbology Identifiers)
  • ISO/IEC 15438, PDF417 bar code symbology specification
  • ISO/IEC 16022, Data Matrix bar code symbology specification
  • ISO/IEC 16023, MaxiCode
  • ISO/IEC 16388, Code 39 bar code symbology specification
  • ISO/IEC 16390, Interleaved 2 of 5 bar code symbology specification
  • ISO/IEC 18004, QR Code 2005 bar code symbology specification
  • ISO/IEC 24723, GS1 Composite bar code symbology specification
  • ISO/IEC 24724, GS1 DataBar bar code symbology specification
  • ISO/IEC 24728, MicroPDF417 bar code symbology specification
  • ISO/IEC 24778, Aztec Code bar code symbology specification
  • ISO/IEC 15415, Bar code symbol print quality test specification – Two-dimensional symbols
  • ISO/IEC 15416, Bar code print quality test specification — Linear symbols
  • ISO/IEC 15426-1, Bar code verifier conformance specification Part 1: Linear symbols
  • ISO/IEC 15426-2, Bar code verifier conformance specification Part 2: Two-dimensional symbols
  • ISO/IEC 29158, Direct Part Mark (DPM) Quality Guideline
  • in the U.S., ANSI/UCC5, Quality Specifications for UPC (Printed) Symbols

These standards can all be purchased on Document Center’s website, www.document-center.com.  Or contact us by phone (650-591-7600), fax (650-591-7617) or email (info@document-center.com).  We’ve been supporting the standards developing and using community since 1982, providing expert information in both standards and their usage.

Document Center Inc. celebrates 30 years in business

Document Center Inc., a leader in online distribution of technical standards and compliance information, is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary in business this year.   Based in Silicon Valley, the company has been selling standards since 1982 and on the web since 1993.  Document Center Inc. offers out-sourced management services for standards collections for ISO-9000  and FDA compliance, as well as individual document sales.  It is among the top 3% of women-owned businesses in the U.S.

President Claudia Bach is a well-known figure in the standards world, with the honor of being a Fellow of the Standards Engineering Society.  Her take on information distribution is that there is a real need for expertise in engineering and compliance information.  “With so many of the traditional venues for procuring technical information moving to the web, there is a real need for a resource to assist the average standards user understand the form, content, development and control of technical information.  This is the niche that Document Center fills.”

This anniversary year has been marked by a major upgrade in the company’s website, with a new look and feel as well as improved tools for discovering relevant standards.  There are easy links to standards sorted by both ICS (international classification) codes and FSC (U.S. Government procurement) Codes.  And new and trending documents can be easily reviewed right from the home page.

Customers rely on Document Center Inc to not only sell them standards, but to assist them with the numerous questions that arise when trying to implement a standards program.  There are few sources of no-charge standards expertise, but Document Center continues to provide such help thanks to the support of it’s many customers.

Then too, Document Center has the most timely and comprehensive updating services in the business.  The various notification services the company offers provides thousands of standards users with timely information on the many updates that occur with regularity to the standards catalog.

Customers continue to rave about Document Center Inc. and it’s superior customer service.  Says one long-time client, “Document Center has been our preferred (and nearly exclusive) source for technical specifications and references for the 22 years I have been here at Allied Engineering. Service, value and skilled staff are the reasons why.  We wish you 30 more.”

Find out more at Document Center Inc., www.document-center.com.  Or contact us by phone (650-591-7600), fax (650-591-7617) or email (info@document-center.com).  We’re here to assist you with all your standards requirements.

Have you seen our updated website www.document-center.com lately?

At the beginning of the month we switched over to our new website, www.document-center.com, and if you haven’t visited it in a while, you’re going to like the new look and functionality.

The site has a number of ways for you to find the documents you need, like our Lists by Industry Sectors and Standards by Regulation pages.  When you use our search function, you’ll get straight forward results pages, and informative document pages for the standards you use.

You’ll also enjoy the ease of ordering on our updated site.  Standards are available for you to order in paper or pdf format.  Reviewing and refreshing your shopping cart is easy and finishing up your order is a breeze.

You can use the new site to learn more about standards as well.  We have pages on the basics of standardization as well as our “Standards U.” for advanced training.

Our customers love the new site and we’d like to know what you think, too.  Contact us at info@document-center.com, or give us a phone call at 650-591-7600.  Here at Document Center Inc. we’re working hard to help you succeed using the standards you need.

New address for Document Center Inc.

Document Center Inc. had an opportunity to consolidate our library from 2 smaller units into one larger space recently.  So we have moved to a different location within our business park.

Here’s our new address for your records:

Document Center Inc.

121 Industrial Way, Suite 8

Belmont, CA 94002-8208


Our phone number, fax, email and website address are all unchanged.

We will be faxing new W9’s to our customers shortly.  Meantime, please update your records.

Thanks so much!


Finding Standards Expertise Again

As owner of Document Center Inc. since 1985, I’ve seen tremendous changes in the world of Standards.  And the change that concerns me the most is the lost of Standards Expertise.

Three trends have caused the loss of personnel with real knowledge of standards, the standards process, and how to manage standards collections.

The first was MIL Spec Reform during the mid-1990’s.  When the Department of Defense decided to get out of the spec-writing business, the migration to industry-managed standards was a costly exercise for many business.  Information that had been free or extremely low-cost  was  suddenly 5 to 10 times as expensive.  Of course, the true migration of cost was from tax-payer money to fees from the actual document users.  But the pocket book effect significantly reduced the number of standards most businesses used.  With this reduction came the first loss of standards personnel as large standards libraries became obsolete.

The second trend was the Internationalization of Standards.  As companies started using non-U.S. documents,  the price differential was immediately noticeable.  European information has come with a high price tag.  Again, price pressure caused a reduction in documentation and the personnel to manage that information as companies strove to lower their out-of-pocket costs.

And finally, the repeated down-sizing and loss of manufacturing facilities in the United States has left many organizations without employees who understand what Standards bring to business.  Thus, many companies are limited in their ability to use Standards to their best advantage.

Having been in the business for over 25 years, and hearing customers express confusion about Standards every day, this blog represents the perfect opportunity to discuss  common  Standards and Standardization questions.

I also look forward to discussing trends and issues that are more strategic in nature.  In my mind, standards are one of the foundations of our economy and well-being.  I look forward to being part of a process that improves the effect they have on our world.