Engineers work with some unique forms of information and codes and standards are one such form. This guide will help you understand what codes and standards are and how they are used in engineering practice, as well as learn how to access codes and standards through the Vanderbilt University Libraries.
Generally speaking, a code is a set of recommended rules to follow. Often (but not always), codes are adopted into law. You may have heard of "building codes" or "fire codes" -- these are examples of codes that have been made into law. Codes don't provide a great deal of detail, just what is required.
A standard is a document that describes a best practice. Standards are much more detailed. They are often used to provide the particulars in how to follow a code. There are all kinds of standards -- standard ways to design, to build, or to test something. Standards give engineers some guidance so that they know the work they are doing conforms to the the agreed upon best practice.
Wondering how to find a standard if you don't know the name or standard number? The IHS Standards store will let you search for standards by subject or keyword. Once you have a standard number, check this guide to see if Vanderbilt has access to that standard. If Vanderbilt doesn't have a standard, ask us to order it.