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Standards Roundtable at SLA Toronto Conference

:: On June 6, 2005, I moderated the annual Standards Roundtable session at the SLA Conference in Toronto. Despite having a room that was half the size requested, and one in which the convention centre staff actually put roundtables instead of rows of chairs, the session was a good one. With twelve speakers, it was a challenge to keep everyone within a 5-7 minute time limit, but all participants did their best to stay within their assigned time, which was appreciated. Feedback from the session was received, and included suggestions for improving the session for 2006.

Keith Martin of NIST was one of the participants, and he provided the following summary of the standards roundtable:

The Standards Roundtable met with a standing room only crowd. Twelve speakers representing the U.S. Government, Canadian industry, a UN agency, standards developers and standards vendors presented, followed by a vigorous question and answer period. Selected highlights from each speaker are presented here:
  • A representative from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Research Library discussed the standards and standard reference data available for free from NIST.
  • The Canadian Standards Association discussed their work with academic institutions to provide students access to standards and codes.
  • The Standards Council of Canada described itself as a Canadian equivalent of ANSI, with a mission to encourage standards use in Canada. The Council also accredits standards labs, and approves voluntary Canadian standards.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) develops nuclear safety standards, which may be downloaded from their site or purchased from standards vendors.
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) noted that its ACSE 7 standard, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, has recently been updated.
  • The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) would like to hear from its library customers if they would prefer to get ASME standards directly from ASME or through a vendor, and why.
  • The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is working to offer redlined standards. ASTM International is expanding to cover standards in the areas of homeland security and biotechnology.
  • IEEE will add draft standards to the IEEE Electronic Library and also integrate “smart objects”, such as mathematical equations, into their publications.

  • From the standards vendors, Techstreet was purchased by Thomson, and ILI Infodesk has a new website and offers a 40% discount to academic libraries. IHS will soon offer historical SAE standards.
    Topics raised during the question and answer period covered digital rights management, document management software, and the availability of online taxonomies.
My thanks to Keith for providing his notes from the session.

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