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Research Guides

ESC101: Praxis I

What are standards?


"A standard can be defined as a set of technical definitions and guidelines that function as instructions for designers, manufacturers, operators, or users of equipment." - ASME

"A redline version of a standard indicates the changes made, during the standards revision process, between the active standard and its previous version." - IEEE

Standards are documents that describe the important features of a product, service or system. For example, CSA Standard Z262.34-00 Ice Hockey Pucks specifies a hockey puck's material, size, mass, hardness at room temperature and test methods.

Why use standards?

"Because it’s a catastrophe when a screw doesn’t fit." - ASME

Standards help to ensure quality of products, safety of consumers and interchangabilty of parts.  Use of standards can help companies improve their profit margins and customer satisfaction.  There may also be important ethical reasons to use standards when creating a design.

You can use the Standards  & Code Guide below get more information on standards.

Online standards at U of T

Use the links below to access the different standard collections at U of T:

What are Codes?

"A standard is a code when it has been adopted by one or more governmental bodies and is enforceable by law, or when it has been incorporated into business contract." - ASME

Unlike standards, codes are required to be followed by law.  Codes also help to increase safety of people, structures and infrastructure.

Some examples of codes are the Ontario Building Code and the National Model Construction Codes.


You can use the Standards  & Code Guide below get more information on codes

Find Codes and Legislation/Laws

Since codes are collections of laws, you need to determine whether they are federal, provincial, or municipal in topic.

Many laws are available online on government websites. However, standards-writing organizations such as CSA (Canadian Standards Association) publish other Canadian construction codes and standards, such as the Canadian Electrical Code must be followed by law. The Canadian Electrical Code can be  found in TechStreet.


A patent is protection granted by a national government for an invention. This protection excludes others from making, using or selling an invention for a period of up to 20 years. Many drug companies and university researchers seek patent protection to recover research and development costs for patents related to specific genes and proteins, laboratory techniques and drugs. In order for patents to be issued by a granting agency such as a Patent Office they need to be new, useful and not obvious to others working in the same field.


For more information on patents use the guide below.

Below are some websites to help start your patent search: