Accessing Engineering Standards: A Study in ARL Best Practices for Acquiring and Disseminating Standards

Denise Amanda Wetzel, Kelly Grove, Jake Adam Flaks

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Engineering Standards are seemingly the bane of every engineering librarian's existence. Sometimes it feels like they give collection development a bad name. Librarians want them, researchers want them, students want them, but they are hard to acquire and can cost a fortune. Especially when an institution doesn't have a specific policy for them. Given these (and other) headaches surrounding Standards, librarians at Florida State University (FSU) decided to conduct a study of how Association of Research Libraries (ARL) are accessing their standards. Through a mixed-methods approach, the study sought to understand how and why standards are requested, obtained, and accessed for use by Engineering Researchers (faculty, postdocs, students, and staff) at various institutions. The secondary objective of the study was to help FSU Libraries develop a Standards acquisition policy as part of their collection development duties. This study began with the creation of a spreadsheet of academic ARL Libraries and identifying those with Engineering programs and their librarians. The authors explored institutional websites to ascertain if they supported any type of engineering program, only using freely available public information. The FSU Institutional Review Board approved this study, with the ID: STUDY00000673, prior to the distribution of a targeted emailed Qualtrics Survey to the identified librarians. Over the course of one month, two emails were sent asking librarians to complete the Qualtrics survey. While emails were targeted, collected responses were anonymized. After the survey closed, the authors did an additional perusal of the collected responses and de-identify any content that may be considered to be identifying information such as school names or acronyms. With a response rate of just over 33%, the variances in responses felt beneficial enough for the authors to extrapolate meaningful analyses of collected responses. Data collected from the survey was analyzed using NVivo, a text analysis software used for identifying trends in qualitative data. In this paper, the authors share a discussion on the literature review conducted on Standards collection development. There is a focus on STEM and/or engineering libraries for this section. While also discussing the methods for the study itself, the paper evaluates trends and results. The paper concludes with potential next steps in crafting a Standards collection policy and ideas for further Standards acquisition research needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jul 26 2021
Event2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jul 26 2021Jul 29 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Accessing Engineering Standards: A Study in ARL Best Practices for Acquiring and Disseminating Standards'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this