Status of Technical Manuals Specifications and Standards 8/2000

Claudia Bach


This report covers specifications, standards, and amendments received in the period from 1 July 2000 through 31 August 2000. Special emphasis has been placed on documentation in the category TMSS (Technical Manual Specification & Standards). However, other documents with widespread appeal are also included.

Quality Control/Assurance and Inspection
ISO 9000 final drafts
ISO/FDIS-9000 (Draft): Quality Management Systems--Fundamentals and Vocabulary
ISO/FDIS-9001 (Draft): Quality Management Systems--Requirements
ISO/FDIS-9004 (Draft): Quality Management Systems--Guidelines for Performance Improvements

These three documents are at the final voting stage in the ISO process. Publication of the standards is expected late in 2000. With the acceptance of these new drafts, modification of derivative quality standards, such as AS-9000 and QS-2000, is expected.

Technical Manuals Specifications and Standards No activity to report.
Standards on Standards

The Standards Engineering Society (SES) has recently embarked on two projects that may be of interest to STC members. First, SES-1, American National Standard Recommended Practice for Standards Designation and Organization, is in committee for revision. Second, SES has recently set up a certification program, described below.

With the increasing use of the Internet to exchange standards and standards information among standards developing organizations and their members, a need for standardized format of both standards and related bibliographic information has been recognized at the highest levels. The work of the SES Standards Committee reflects the desire of standards users and developers in the United States for a more consistent format and content structure to facilitate electronic processes.

SES-1 is called the "standard for standards" because it describes a consistent approach to the standards document itself. The primary guidelines provided by SES-1 are for document designation (number and status definition), title, abstract, format within the document, and identification of revisions. Both content and format issues are covered. For example, for titles, there are guidelines on where the title should appear on the cover page, how the title should be constructed, and the preferred length of a title.

Should you like to participate in the committee's work, Paul Mercer is the chair and can be reached at or (425)-747-8443. Information on reaching SES is provided at the end of the column.

Other Administrative Standards

On the topic of administrative standards, additional documents of interest are the ISONET manual, the ICS Codes Manual, and MIL-STD-961 and 962.

The ISONET Manual, 2nd edition, 1998, is published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The manual addresses the exchange of bibliographic and other administrative information among the ISO members (the various national standards bodies). It covers data definitions for document information, committee information, and various adjunct information such as international classification for standards (ICS) codes, thesauri, and organizational data.

The International Classification for Standards, 1999, published by ISO, covers the recent international coding scheme used to classify standards by areas of interest. It is a system that uses three hierarchical levels, with 40 fields of primary activity subdivided into 389 groups and 879 subgroups. An equivalent scheme might be the U.S. Department of Defense's Federal Supply Classification system. The U.S. Department of Commerce has adopted the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) to replace the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes.

MIL-STD-961 and 962 are U.S. Department of Defense publications on content and format of specifications and standards. They describe in detail the various components of these documents (adoption notices, amendments, and the like). They can be very helpful to an understanding of military documentation and, thanks to their completeness, standards documents in general.

SES Certification Program

SES offers an educational program, usually the day before or the day after its annual convention in August. Out of its mission to promote and enhance the profession has come a new certification program. Developed under the direction of Stephen Lowell, a standards specialist with the Defense Logistics Agency and the first recipient of SES certification, the program was launched at the August 2000 convention in Baltimore. It recognizes competence in four areas of standards expertise: Standards Development, Standards Application, Standards Information, and Standards Management.

Those who attain certification are entitled to use the designation "CStd." Benefits include evidence of competence in the standards profession, credentials for use in employment or advancement, criteria for evaluation of knowledge, and the improvement of practitioners and the profession. Requirements include a specific number of years of employment or participation in the field, adherence to the SES Code of Ethics, passing an open-book test, submitting a paper or presentation, and reaching a specific level of points on a personal data form.

Primary resources for the test include The Economics of Standardization, Robert B. Toth, editor; Standards Management--A Handbook for Profit, Robert B. Toth, editor and compiler; and SES-1: 1995, Recommended Practice for Standards Designation and Organization, the document under revision described above.

If you are interested in standards and standards development as a unique topic of study and expertise, the Standards Engineering Society has a lot to offer. Its membership comprises standards experts from both industry and the trade associations that develop standards in the U.S. For more information, contact:

13340 S.W. 96th Avenue
Miami, FL 33176 USA
(305) 971-4798
(305) 971-4799 (fax)

Claudia Bach is President of Document Center, Inc., an information delivery service based in Belmont, CA. The company has complete collections of specifications and standards from both government sources and industry associations. She can be reached by phone at (650) 591-7600, by fax at (650) 591-7617, or by e-mail at, or see  

For more information on standards see Document Center's Home page Welcome to Document Center . This article was originally published by the Society for Technical Communication. If you'd like to know more about this association for technical writers see: