In recent blogs I covered how to read standards and how to understand the terminology used in standards. In this week’s blog I would like to give you information on how to access standards and where it's possible read them for free. In a future blog I will try to cover how standards are written.
The two main international standards bodies are the IEC and ISO. Standards from these bodies typically cost around 250 Euro/Dollars per part of the standard. Many standards are multi-part and so you can easily run up a cost of 1,000 Euro/Dollars to access all the information you need. The most annoying thing I find is that you really don’t know whether a standard is worth buying until you see it and there doesn’t seem to be any way to rent it.
The bad news for non-native speakers is that most standards are only available in English, many are available in French and thereafter I believe it is up to the national standards body in your country as to whether the standard will be available in Russian, Chinese, Japanese or whatever is your language of choice. Given that most IEC and ISO standards writers are not native speakers themselves, a lot of effort goes into making the standards readable to non-native speakers, but this is a tough goal to meet.
I will close with some insights from Dilbert on the standards writing process.