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Edmon Low Library

Government Information: Standards and Specifications

Government Standards and Specifications

This page includes information for standards issued by the U.S. Government. See the Standards & Specifications page at the Yale University Library for an overview of U.S. Government standards and specifications.

See the Standards page on the Engineering Guide for links to Standards.

"Standards and specifications provide guidance and instruction on how goods and services are to be designed, constructed, manufactured, handled, conducted or tested.

  • Standards provide guidance for more general applications.
  • Specifications outline requirements for specific items or services.

The federal agencies develop and issue standards and specifications:

The General Services Administration and the Department of Defense are the two primary agencies responsible for issuing procurement standards and specifications. To identify those issued use the Index of Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Descriptions (published by GSA) and The Index of Specifications and Standards (published by the Department of Defense)."

Finding Standards and Specifications

1. The General Services Administration and the Department of Defense are the two primary agencies responsible for issuing procurement standards and specifications.

2. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation. Search the CFR to identify mandatory standards. Updates will be issued in the Federal Register.

3. Other agencies that issue standards and specifications are:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (formerly the National Bureau of Standards) under the U.S. Department of Commerce

Environmental Protection Agency

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

4. The Department of Defense (DoD), GSA, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) jointly issue the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) for use by executive agencies in acquiring goods and services.