Standards are indexed in their respective databases using descriptive fields. These fields contain the following:
Ironically, there is not a standard method of numbering standards that cuts across all standards bodies. However, there are similarities among them: most standard designations include a number that is assigned serially at the time of issue. Some also include meaningful elements such as prefixes that help with classification of the standard. Some of the major designation schemes are below:
Occasionally, multiple standards organizations may have shared (dual reference) standards - these are typically denoted by multiple organizational acronyms in the standard title. If multiple versions of a standard are active (e.g. ISO vs EN ISO) there may be small differences in the standards due to translation imperfections or regional requirements.
International Classification for Standards (ICS)
The ICS is a standard method of classification for standards created by ISO (see ISO Standard). It provides categories for all products or activities for which standards are used. By so doing, searchers have a very useful tool by which standards can be found.
ICS Hierarchy Example
The following example illustrates the hierarchical structure of the ICS, including fields of activity, groups within each field, and subgroups within some of the groups:
Other Methods of Classification
Other classification systems exist, which are used by individual standards organizations. A few of these are as follows: