Public Release: 

Free CD demystifies complex standards system

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

A new CD from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) can help steer engineers, novice trade-association representatives and new government staffers through the thicket of organizations, activities, policies and laws related to standards and measurement in the United States.

With an easily digested helping of technical detail, the free electronic primer* provides an integrated view of major public and private-sector components of the nation's measurement and standards system. These elements are sized up from several key perspectives, including global trade and regulatory affairs.

Capsulized descriptions are supplemented by pointers to copies of trade agreements, federal laws and other background documents. Links to relevant Internet resources, such as Web sites of standards development organizations and regional measurement alliances, are found throughout. For example, the section on conformity assessment (the umbrella term for testing and other means of assessing whether a product meets regulatory and customer requirements) contains pointers to copies of international agreements and other efforts to harmonize such formal requirements. It also features links to multinational organizations working to eliminate duplication or needless variation in the standards and regulations of trading partners.

Five major sections survey relevant topics and activities in the areas of measurements, standards, conformity assessment, regulations and global activities. An additional section describes NIST, its programs, and its supporting technical roles and services.

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To get a copy of the compendium-like CD, contact the editor, Elisabeth Parker, at 301-975-3089; or elisabeth.parker@nist.gov.

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