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Standards: Access to standards at MIT

freely available standards during the pandemic

Identifying standards

Identify standards you need using these free databases:

MIT Libraries catalog

Barton: MIT Libraries' catalog


Covid-19 and standards

While MIT buildings are closed due to the pandemic, we do not have access to our print standards collection. However, when possible, we are buying electronic copies of standards for members of the MIT community. Note that standards are sold as secured pdfs that are only usable by one person. To request a standard, fill out the request form.

Additionally, several standards granting agencies are making standards relating to Covid-19 relief efforts freely available during the pandemic, including standards for PPE, ventilators and more. We have gathered a list of these here.

Finding standards at MIT

1. First, try the alphabetical list of standards (Excel) held in the MIT Libraries, search Barton or check the frequently asked for standards.  Standards are in Barton by authoring body - NOT by individual title/number.  

  • For example, if you are looking for standard number ISO 50001.  You can either:
    • look at the alphabetical list above to find ISO standards - then click the Barton link or
    • do a "Title Begins With..." search in Barton for "ISO Standard" which will bring you to this record.
  • Note: We do not have ALL standards by each organization.

2. From the record in Barton, click the "Find it in Library/Request item" link to see the individual standards held in the Barker Library (10-500). 

  • Remember, we do not have ALL standards by each organization.
  • For example, using the record above for ISO standards, click the "Find it in Library/Request item" link to see the individual ISO standards held in the Barker Library (10-500).  Look for number 50001.  Once you are viewing the individual standards numbers, you can either scroll through the pages or you can use the pull down "Select volumes" menu to more easily scroll through the numbers. 
  • TIP:  the numbers may not be in consecutive order.
  • Note: Due to copyright restrictions, the standards collection is NOT included in our Scan & Deliver service.  You may borrow items as part of our regular circulating collection.



If we do not own the standard, you are part of the MIT Community, and you need the standard for your research or coursework, you may request a standard by going here:  Please read the policies carefully.

Frequently asked for standards

Some standards are available online.  For standards in print, the link will take you to the record in Barton.  Follow the instructions for #2 (above) to find the standard number.

  • Military Standards and Handbooks

Can often be found online at ASSIST Quick Search , some MIL Handbook also available via Knovel.

  • Society of Automotive Engineers, SAE Aerospace Standards

Current SAE Aerospace standards are available in SAE Mobilus.  For older versions or standards in print:

- SAE Aeronautical Standards; AS, ARP, AIR (1941- 1960)
- Aerospace standards; AS, ARP, AIR (1961 - present, incomplete)
- SAE aerospace standards on CD-ROM (2005-2007)



ASTM Standards

ASTM standards, published in the multi-volume Annual Book of ASTM Standards, cover testing procedures, specifications and standard practices for a range of materials and topics. Their numbers indicate the broad area of the standard and the year they were published; for example, B160-61,"Specification for nickel rod and bar"  is in section B (non-ferrous metals) and was published in 1961. Standards are regularly updated (and given new year designations), but not every ASTM standard is updated every year. As topics change, standards are sometimes withdrawn or given new titles/numbers.

For current and recently withdrawn ASTM standards, search ASTM Compass. Standards are available in HTML and pdf versions. Documentation for the search interface is here.  

We also have ASTM standards in print until 2008. These are all in off-campus storage and will need to be requested. There are several catalog listings depending on what year you are looking for: 

Print indexes to ASTM standards are available in Barker Library reference (5th floor) at the following call numbers:  

  • TA401.A5174 (1928-29; 1933; 1935-1962, 1964-69)
  • TA401.A5173 (1970-2008). 

To find an older standard, first check to see if it is available online in Compass. If not: look for the standard number or the topic in the appropriate year's index volume. The volume in which the standard appears will be listed next to the standard number. From the Barton catalog links above, request the volume that you need to be sent to an on-campus library. If you cannot find what you need, use the Ask-Us service to get help. 

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