Not sure which standards you need?

Here are a few places you can search for relevant standards. 

If you find a useful standard but the full text is behind a paywall, the library may be able to purchase a copy for you. Please contact the Engineering Librarian (Jodi Bolognese at for help.

  • Government agencies - the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) lists governmental regulations in the U.S., or you can check individual government agencies websites.
  • Third party standards stores aggregate standards, and provide free search features (although the actual content is usually behind a paywall):
    • ANSI Webstore - ANSI standards for American National Standards Institute, and their web store provides a simple keyword search for a wide range of standards developers.
    • Document Center - this standards web store offers options to search by topicindustry sector, and category (ICS Codes - International Classification for Standards) so may be a good option for browsing standards related to your area of interest.
    • IHS Engineering Workbench (opens in a new window) - a searchable web store for standards, specifications and related technical documents from military, commercial, national and international standards organizations. It requires separate registration, so you'll need to create an account. Tip: if you find one relevant, IHS Engineering Workbench provides a filter you can use to find other standards in the same category, using the International Classification for Standards (ICS). 
  • Research databases - some standards may be indexed in research databases, such as Engineering Village (opens in a new window). Login using your Northeastern credentials and search for your topic. Then on the left side of the results screen, use the Document Type filter for 'Standard'.
  • Standards Developing Organization (SDO) websites - organizations that develop standards often have useful search and browse options on their websites. For example, if you're working on an automotive and aerospace application, you could search the SAE International website. To find SDOs related to your topic, try a Google search, or browse this list of SDOs.

Search tips:

  • If possible, ask stakeholders or professionals in the field what standards might be relevant for your project. They may be able to give you a good starting point for your work.
  • If you find a potentially useful standard, see if there's a preview or summary you can review to decide if the standard is important for your work.
  • If you're having trouble finding relevant standards, consider synonyms. For example, "life jacket" could be referred to as "life preserver" or "personal flotation device". Don't forget to use parentheses to search key terms as a phrase, rather than individual words.
  • Another starting point may be looking for similar products to see what standards they have used.