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Standards: Access to standards at MIT

find and request standards and codes

Identifying standards

Identify standards you need using these free databases:

Books and media: MIT catalog

Books, ebooks, journals, databases, and more at MIT.

Requesting standards

If you need a standard, please fill out the request form. We will let you know if we already have the standard in the collection or can purchase it.

Note that we buy standards in print so that they can be added to the collection, and the process may take 2-3 weeks before the standard is ready to be picked up. If you need the standard more quickly or are unable to use the print version, please add a note to your request. 

We purchase standards only for members of the MIT community who need them for their work, coursework or research at MIT. 

If you need any help finding a standard or have other questions, please use the Ask-Us email.

Finding standards at MIT

1. First, try the alphabetical list of standards (Excel) held in the MIT Libraries, search our collections or check the frequently asked for standards.  Standards are in the library catalog 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 spreadsheet above to find ISO standards - then click the Search Our Collections link or
    • do a "starts with/browse..." search in Search Our Collections 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 our catalog, click on "locations" and then "show more items" to see the individual standards held in the library.

  • Remember, we do not have ALL standards by each organization.
  • For example, using the record above for ISO standards, click on locations and then on the next screen, click "show more items" to see the individual ISO standards held in the Barker Library (10-500).  Look for number 50001. 
  • Standards can be checked out by members of the MIT community. If you would like to request that a standard be sent to another library location, sign in and then use the "request" link next to the standard number you need.
  • 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 filling out the form here.

Frequently asked for standards

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

  • Military Standards and Handbooks

  • Society of Automotive Engineers

Current SAE standards, including aerospace, AMS, and ground vehicle standards (J standards) are available online in SAE Mobilus. Search by title or standards number.

Older versions are available in print or on CD-ROM:

SAE Aerospace Standards

SAE Ground Vehicle (J) Standards



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 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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