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Materials Science and Engineering

Links to resources in and out of the Library.

What are Standards How do I Find Them?

Industry standards are the officially agreed-upon methods and procedures for a given activity such as testing, performance, construction, or practice. Industry groups or professional associations form committees that draft the documents, gather input from the community of practice and finally approve the completed standard. Standards are periodically reviewed and revised when necessary.  There are many industry groups that produce these standards.

This guide will help you identify and find the Standards you need.

Find Industry Standards

General Standards Databases - Best Bets

If you don't know what organization might have written a standard, or think there might be multiple standards that apply, start with one of the following databases.

NOTE: The Library does not have subscriptions to all of them. If the Library:

  • Has a subscription (BSU affiliates, full text) - then the complete text of standards will be available to BSU currently enrolled students, faculty and staff
  • Does not have a subscription: You may be encouraged to purchase the standards; Don't buy that standard until you check to see if the Library has it or can get it for you

Professional Organization Standards Databases

If you know the professional organization that developed the Standard(s), go to their website. They will usually have a place on their website to search for and identify Standards. Some of the largest professional standards writing organizations are listed below.

Resources noted as (BSU affiliates, full text) are freely available to BSU currently enrolled students, faculty and staff and contain the full text of standards.

ASTM Standards and Digital Library - Search Tips

ASTM International (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials) is well-known for its standards on testing materials.


To identify an ASTM standard (full text):

Step 1: Log into the ASTM Standards and Digital Library (Compass)

Step 2: If you are searching specifically for an ASTM standard, use the drop down box to the left of the search box to change "All" to "My Subscription"

Step 3: Search by

a) Keyword on the material and/or the type of text; or

b) ASTM Standard number if you know it, Example: D2209-00 (2021)

Step 4: Click on the title of the Standard you want


Interpreting the Information you Find

At the top of each Standard you will see:

  • In the Upper right
    • Type of Document: Standard, Technical Report, Journal, etc.
    • Whether the Standard is Active or Historical
    • Date the standard was last revised
    • ASTM Standard number
  • Upper Left
    • Language the Standard is in
    • Versions available
    • Document details such as which subcommittee developed the Standard


ASTM standard with parts labeled


Viewing, Downloading and Comparing Standard Versions

You have the option to view Standards as a PDF or HTML, and can Download the Standard using the menu just above and to the right of the document


ASTM Standard with PDF and HTML viewing options noted


You can also compare 2 versions of a standard to see how the Standard has changed from one version to the next. You will find the Compare Versions option in the menu above the standard to the right, next to the Download option.  You can also download the standard from the search results screen using the same icon.


ASTM menu with the download and compare versions options noted


Note: You will find standards other than ASTM in this database. Only the ASTM Standards will be full text

Don't Buy that Standard Yet!

In many of the resources in this guide, the Standards will be available for purchase. Before you buy a Standard, follow these 3 steps:

Step 1: Find out if Albertsons Library has it.

Search WorldCat Discovery by the standard name, or the organization that developed and approved it. Limit your search to Boise State (left navigation bar)

Step 2 : If you find the Standard in WorldCat Discovery, but Albertsons Library doesn't have it, try requesting a copy through through the Library's InterLibrary Loan Service - you should see a button to "Request through InterLibrary Loan" in the upper right corner of the WorldCat Discovery record. Most standards can be obtained, though there may be some exceptions. (BSU currently enrolled students, staff and faculty only)

Step 3 : Contact the Engineering Librarian for help (I'm right there, in the Left navigation bar!)