The Info List - Standards Organizations

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A STANDARDS ORGANIZATION, STANDARDS BODY, STANDARDS DEVELOPING ORGANIZATION (SDO), or STANDARDS SETTING ORGANIZATION (SSO) is an organization whose primary activities are developing, coordinating, promulgating, revising, amending, reissuing, interpreting, or otherwise producing technical standards that are intended to address the needs of a group of affected adopters.

Most standards are voluntary in the sense that they are offered for adoption by people or industry without being mandated in law. Some standards become mandatory when they are adopted by regulators as legal requirements in particular domains.

The term formal standard refers specifically to a specification that has been approved by a standards setting organization. The term de jure standard refers to a standard mandated by legal requirements or refers generally to any formal standard. In contrast, the term de facto standard refers to a specification (or protocol or technology) that has achieved widespread use and acceptance – often without being approved by any standards organization (or receiving such approval only after it already has achieved widespread use). Examples of de facto standards that were not approved by any standards organizations (or at least not approved until after they were in widespread de facto use) include the Hayes command set developed by Hayes , Apple 's TrueType font design and the PCL protocol used by Hewlett-Packard
in the computer printers they produced.

Normally, the term standards organization is not used to refer to the individual parties participating within the standards developing organization in the capacity of founders, benefactors , stakeholders , members or contributors, who themselves may function as the standards organizations.


* 1 History

* 1.1 Standardization
* 1.2 Early standards organizations * 1.3 International organizations

* 2 Overview

* 2.1 International standards organizations * 2.2 Regional standards organizations * 2.3 National standards bodies * 2.4 Standards developing organizations (SDOs) * 2.5 Scope of work * 2.6 Standards development process * 2.7 Standards distribution and copyright

* 3 Trends * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 External links



Graphic representation of formulae for the pitches of threads of screw bolts

The implementation of standards in industry and commerce became highly important with the onset of the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
and the need for high-precision machine tools and interchangeable parts . Henry Maudslay developed the first industrially practical screw-cutting lathe in 1800, which allowed for the standardisation of screw thread sizes for the first time.

Maudslay's work, as well as the contributions of other engineers, accomplished a modest amount of industry standardization; some companies' in-house standards spread a bit within their industries. Joseph Whitworth 's screw thread measurements were adopted as the first (unofficial) national standard by companies around the country in 1841. It came to be known as the British Standard Whitworth , and was widely adopted in other countries.


By the end of the 19th century differences in standards between companies was making trade increasingly difficult and strained. For instance, an iron and steel dealer recorded his displeasure in The Times : "Architects and engineers generally specify such unnecessarily diverse types of sectional material or given work that anything like economical and continuous manufacture becomes impossible. In this country no two professional men are agreed upon the size and weight of a girder to employ for given work".

The Engineering Standards Committee was established in London
in 1901 as the world's first national standards body. It subsequently extended its standardization work and became the British Engineering Standards Association in 1918, adopting the name British Standards Institution in 1931 after receiving its Royal Charter in 1929. The national standards were adopted universally throughout the country, and enabled the markets to act more rationally and efficiently, with an increased level of cooperation.

After the First World War
First World War
, similar national bodies were established in other countries. The Deutsches Institut für Normung
Deutsches Institut für Normung
was set up in Germany in 1917, followed by its counterparts, the American National Standard Institute and the French Commission Permanente de Standardisation , both in 1918.


R. E. B. Crompton drew up the first international standards body, the International Electrotechnical Commission
International Electrotechnical Commission
, in 1906.

By the mid to late 19th century, efforts were being made to standardize electrical measurement. An important figure was R. E. B. Crompton, who became concerned by the large range of different standards and systems used by electrical engineering companies and scientists in the early 20th century. Many companies had entered the market in the 1890s and all chose their own settings for voltage , frequency , current and even the symbols used on circuit diagrams. Adjacent buildings would have totally incompatible electrical systems simply because they had been fitted out by different companies. Crompton could see the lack of efficiency in this system and began to consider proposals for an international standard for electric engineering.

In 1904, Crompton represented Britain at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis , Missouri
, as part of a delegation by the Institute of Electrical Engineers . He presented a paper on standardisation, which was so well received that he was asked to look into the formation of a commission to oversee the process. By 1906 his work was complete and he drew up a permanent constitution for the first international standards organization, the International Electrotechnical Commission . The body held its first meeting that year in London, with representatives from 14 countries. In honour of his contribution to electrical standardisation, Lord Kelvin was elected as the body's first President. Memorial plaque of founding ISA in Prague

The International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations (ISA) was founded in 1926 with a broader remit to enhance international cooperation for all technical standards and specifications. The body was suspended in 1942 during World War II
World War II

After the war, ISA was approached by the recently formed United Nations Standards Coordinating Committee (UNSCC) with a proposal to form a new global standards body. In October 1946, ISA and UNSCC delegates from 25 countries met in London
and agreed to join forces to create the new International Organization for Standardization
International Organization for Standardization
(ISO); the new organization officially began operations in February 1947.


Standards organizations can be classified by their role, position, and the extent of their influence on the local, national, regional, and global standardization arena.

By geographic designation, there are international, regional, and national standards bodies (the latter often referred to as NSBs). By technology or industry designation, there are standards developing organizations (SDOs) and also standards setting organizations (SSOs) also known as consortia. Standards organizations may be governmental, quasi-governmental or non-governmental entities. Quasi- and non-governmental standards organizations are often non-profit organizations.


Broadly, an international standards organization develops international standards . (This does not necessarily restrict the use of other published standards internationally.)

There are many international standards organizations. The three largest and most well-established such organizations are the International Organization for Standardization
International Organization for Standardization
, the International Electrotechnical Commission , and the International Telecommunication Union , which have each existed for more than 50 years (founded in 1947, 1906, and 1865, respectively) and are all based in Geneva
, Switzerland
. They have established tens of thousands of standards covering almost every conceivable topic. Many of these are then adopted worldwide replacing various incompatible "homegrown" standards. Many of these standards are naturally evolved from those designed in-house within an industry, or by a particular country, while others have been built from scratch by groups of experts who sit on various technical committees (TCs). These three organizations together comprise the World Standards Cooperation (WSC) alliance.

is composed of the national standards bodies (NSBs), one per member economy. The IEC is similarly composed of national committees, one per member economy. In some cases, the national committee to the IEC of an economy may also be the ISO
member from that country or economy. ISO
and IEC are private international organizations that are not established by any international treaty. Their members may be non-governmental organizations or governmental agencies, as selected by ISO
and IEC (which are privately established organizations).

The ITU is a treaty-based organization established as a permanent agency of the United Nations
United Nations
, in which governments are the primary members, although other organizations (such as non-governmental organizations and individual companies) can also hold a form of direct membership status in the ITU as well. Another example of a treaty-based international standards organization with government membership is the Codex Alimentarius Commission .

In addition to these, a large variety of independent international standards organizations such as the ASME
, the ASTM International
ASTM International
, the IEEE
, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), SAE International , TAPPI , the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) develop and publish standards for a variety of international uses. In many such cases, these international standards organizations are not based on the principle of one member per country. Rather, membership in such organizations is open to those interested in joining and willing to agree to the organization's by-laws – having either organizational/corporate or individual technical experts as members.

The Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee (AEEC) was formed in 1949 to prepare avionics system engineering standards with other aviation organizations RTCA, EUROCAE, and ICAO. The standards are widely known as the ARINC Standards.


Regional standards bodies also exist, such as the European Committee for Standardization
(CEN), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization
(CENELEC), the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and the Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) in Europe, the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC), the Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT), the African Organization for Standardization
(ARSO), the Arabic industrial development and mining organization (AIDMO), and others.

In the European Union, only standards created by CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI are recognized as European standards, and member states are required to notify the European Commission and each other about all the draft technical regulations concerning ICT products and services before they are adopted in national law. These rules were laid down in Directive 98/34/EC with the goal of providing transparency and control with regard to technical regulations.

Sub-regional standards organizations also exist such as the MERCOSUR Standardization
Association (AMN), the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), and the ASEAN Consultative Committee for Standards and Quality (ACCSQ), EAC East Africa Standards Committee www.eac-quality.net , and the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO) for Arab States of the Persian Gulf .


In general, each country or economy has a single recognized national standards body (NSB). A national standards body is likely the sole member from that economy in ISO; ISO
currently has 161 members. National standards bodies usually do not prepare the technical content of standards, which instead is developed by national technical societies.

Example national standards bodies ORGANIZATION INITIALS COUNTRY

Bureau of Indian Standards BIS India

Badan Standardisasi Nasional BSN Indonesia

Brazilian National Standards Organization ABNT Brazil

Spanish Association for Standarization and Certification AENOR Spain

French association for Standardization
AFNOR France

American National Standards Institute
American National Standards Institute

Romanian Standards Association ASRO Romania

British Standards Institution BSI U.K.

Dirección General de Normas DGN Mexico

Deutsches Institut für Normung
Deutsches Institut für Normung
DIN Germany