Standards, Specifications, Protocols, Methods, and Codes

A source for industry standards, standard methods, specifications and codes. Not comprehensive!

Standard or Standard Specification

Standard or Standard Specification

Standards that provide standard measurement, symbology or terminology are sometimes known as definition standards. These create a foundation on which many other standards can be created. The metric system is an example of a definition standard.

A Dictionary of Mechanical Engineering:  A set of specifications for components, machines, materials, or processes intended to achieve uniformity, efficiency, and a specified quality.

A Dictionary of Computer Science: 1. A publicly available definition of a hardware or software component, resulting from international, national, or industrial agreement.

Example 1:  IEEE 1394 is the standard for a high-performance serial bus. This standard was developed as Apple Computer started work on the FireWire bus in the late 1980s. For more information about the FireWire system or the IEEE standard see these resources.

FireWire systems architecture : IEEE 1394 / Don Anderson

Standards that provide standard measurement, symbology or terminology are definition standards. These create a foundation on which many other standards can be created. The metric system is an example of a definition standard.

Standard Method

Standard method: the best current practice or approved procedures for measuring a specific value, property, or material.

Standard Methods Book Image

Example 1: Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater : including bottom sediments and sludges / prepared and published jointly by American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association, Water Pollution Control Federation   Latest edition held in the Reference Collection at Mullins Library.

Example 2: Annual book of ASTM standards. Section 5, Petroleum products, lubricants, and fossil fuels

Available both online through the ASTM Compass Standards and Engineering Library ASTM Logo and in paper at the Mullins Library

Reference Materials, Primary Standard, Internal Standard or Standard

Reference Materials or Reference Standards: A material that is certified at a specific level of purity and is often used to calibrate testing equipment and/or verify that methods are being performed with correctly. The National Institute of Standards and Technology defines these materials.

Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: primary standard: (in analytical chemistry) a chemical that can be obtained in an unvarying state (e.g. of purity and/or stability) and used as an approved example against which other examples of the same chemical can be compared.


Protocol (biological or medical)
This term is heavily used in the medical and biological field to describe very detailed methods that much be strictly adhered too in order to complete measurements and procedures correctly. In other fields these might be called Standard Methods.
Protocol (computer science)
An agreement on how devices or systems communicate.

Example. "In the Internet, nodes are identified using IP addresses that depend on their topological location. IPv4/IPv6 translation technology involves address mapping between IPv6 and IPv4 nodes and the methods used to translate protocols, where nodes are in their respective IP version of network. " Taken from the abstract of: Jayanthi, J.G.; Rabara, S.A, "IPv6 Addressing Architecture in IPv4 Network," Second International Conference on Communication Software and Networks, 2010. ICCSN '10. pp.461,465, 26-28 Feb. 2010 doi: 10.1109/ICCSN.2010.116

Codes and Regulations

Codes are, generally, a set of regulations that pertain to a specific matter. i.e. building codes. Regulations are the rules that implement of laws. The process of developing laws, codes, and regulations is involved within various groups including law making bodies and standards setting organizations. Ordances and laws are where the process "starts" but often refer back to a code or regulation that has been in the community for some time. Listed below are some long standing codes and regulations.

An Example:  In 1972 the law known as the Clear Water Act (33 U.S.C. §1251 et seq. (1972)) was passed. It was actually a revision of an earlier law, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948. The Environmental Protection Agency was one of the agencies authorized by congress to write the rules and regulations that would implement the CWA (Clean Water Act).