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Standards are codes of best practice containing technical specifications and guidelines. They are used to ensure consistency, reliability, and provide a quality benchmark.


  • A standard is an agreed way of doing something. It could be about making a product, managing a process, delivering a service or supplying materials. Standards cover a wide range of subjects from nanotechnology to health and safety. The point of a standard is to provide a reliable basis for people to share the same expectations about a product or service.


  • A standard is a published documents that establish specifications and procedures designed to certify the reliability, quality and safety of products, systems, materials, methods, and/or services.


  • A standard. as well as making things work protect your health, safety, and the environment. There are standards for virtually everything we can think of, and new ones can be devised if there is a requirement for them.

The primary aim of standardization is to facilitate the exchange of goods and services through the elimination of procedural barriers to trade i.e. European Free Trade systems, and as a result provide benefits to consumers, users, manufacturers and suppliers.

Types of Standards


  • Fundamental Standards

Terminology, signs, symbols etc.


  • Management Systems Standards

Describe the functions and structure/relationships within an organisation


  • Product Specification Standards

Define characteristics of a product or service with performance thresholds


  • Test Method Standards

Detail test and analysis methods for products

Key Organizations for Standardization


The BSI (British Standards Institution) is the national standards body of the United Kingdom.

BSI produces technical standards on a wide range of products and services and also supplies certification and standards-related services to businesses.

The NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland) is Ireland's official standards body.

NSAI Standards is responsible for the development of Irish Standards, representing Irish interests in the work of the European and International standards bodies CEN/CENELEC and ISO/IEC, and for the publication and sale of Irish Standards.

As Ireland’s Official standards body, NSAI aims to inspire consumer confidence and create the infrastructure for products and services to be recognized and relied on, all over the world. Where a standard already exists, NSAI works with businesses to help them apply it. Where a standard may be needed, NSAI will work with relevant parties at national or international level to create and develop the appropriate standard. NSAI improves the performance of Irish business and protects consumers through the setting of standards and issuing of certification in the quality and safety of goods and services.

The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations.

THe ISO creates documents that provide requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.

European Standards

European Standards (EN) are standards that have been approved by the CEN - European Committee for Standardization, CENELEC - European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization or ETSI - European Telecommunications Standards Institute. They have the status of a national standard in all member countries of the European Union.

Finding Standards

The Library provides access to the full text of standards via subscriptions to the following database:


This database provides full text access to Irish (IS), European (EN) and International (ISO) standards. 

Please note: Some standard require users to register for the service.


Please note: Standards are not searchable via Search + Find you need to go to the Databases & eResources page and click on the database name (i2i National Standards) then search for the standard you require.

You can search for standards in these databases using either the Standard number, Title or Keyword, or by using the ICS codes in i2i.


  • Irish - IS

  • British - BS

  • European - EN

  • International - ISO

Many Irish Standards (IS) are developed nationally or adapted from European or International standards and can be found in the i2i National Standards Database.

Examples of everyday products covered by standards:

  • Clothes
  • Credit cards
  • Furniture
  • Road signs
  • Phone Chargers
  • Plugs
  • Toys

Need Help?

If you need to access a standard which is not available via the library's online subscriptions, you can request it via our Document Supply Service.

If you have any difficulty identifying or obtaining standards, please:

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