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Accreditation:  Assessment and approval of the process by which standards bodies develop standards, and by which conformity assessment bodies certify products, services, and systems in accordance with recognized accreditation standards.  When used in relation to testing facilities, accreditation refers to the process of evaluating testing facilities for competence to perform specific tests using standards test methods.

Accredited Standards Developer:  An entity whose procedures satisfy the requirements set forth in the ANSI Procedures for the Development and Coordination of American National Standards, and that has been approved as such by the ANSI Executive Standards Council (ExSC) for the development of American National Standards.

Ad hoc standard:  See “De facto standard.”

Amendment:  A normative document developed according to consensus procedures.  It changes the technical normative elements of a particular international standard.

American National Standards (ANS):  American National Standards are essential tools used in everyday life.  Today, there are more than 1,420 such standards that have been created and approved through the INCITS process, with another 1,100 in development.  American National Standards are voluntary and serve U.S. interests well because all materially affected stakeholders have the opportunity to work together to create them.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI):  ANSI is a private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system.  The Institute oversees the creation, promulgation and use of thousands of norms and guidelines that directly impact businesses in nearly every sector, from acoustical devices to construction equipment, from dairy and livestock production to energy distribution, and many more.  ANSI is also actively engaged in accrediting programs that assess conformance to standards -- including globally-recognized cross-sector programs such as the ISO 9000 (quality) and ISO 14000 (environmental) management systems.

Antitrust:  Opposing or intended to restrain trusts, monopolies, or other large combinations of business and capital, with a view to maintaining and promoting competition.

Attestation:  Issue of a statement, based on a decision following review, that fulfillment of specified requirements has been demonstrated.


Balance:  Participants from diverse interest categories (stakeholders) are sought to participate in the standard development process (e.g., committee) with the objective of achieving balance in the process.


Certification:  A scheme, structure or process that ensures that the origin, material, quality, mode of manufacture, accuracy, or other characteristics of a product or service has met certain agreed upon-criteria developed for that product, service or profession.

Code:  Laws or regulations that specify minimum standards to protect public safety and health such as codes for construction of buildings. Voluntary standards are incorporated into building codes.

Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA):  CDMA is a form of wireless multiplexing, in which data can be sent over multiple frequencies simultaneously, optimizing the use of available bandwidth. In a CDMA system, data is broken into packets, each of which are given a unique identifier, so that they can be sent out over multiple frequencies and then re-built in the correct order by the receiver.  The technology is used in cellular telephone systems in the 800-MHz and 1.9-GHz bands.

Code of good practice:  Acceptable procedures and behavior delineated in a written document.

Codify:  To arrange and condense laws, rules, etc. into a systematic collection as a code.

Committee draft (CD):  This is the first public form of a proposed international standard.  

Company standards:  Internal documents prepared by a company for its own use that define such activities as production processes, material characteristics, and purchasing requirements.

Compliance:  Conformity, acting according to certain accepted standards.

Conformity Assessment:  Demonstration that specified requirements relating to a product, process, system, person, or body are fulfilled. (This may include any activity concerned with determining directly or indirectly that relevant requirements are fulfilled).

Conformity Assessment Procedures:  Any procedure used, directly or indirectly, to determine that relevant requirements in technical regulations or standards are fulfilled (e.g., testing, inspection, certification, accreditation).

Consensus:  Represents a common viewpoint of those parties concerned with its provisions, namely producers, users, consumers and general interest groups.  General agreement that involves seeking and taking into account the view of all parties concerned, and to reconciling any conflicting arguments.  Consensus does not imply unanimity.

Consortia:  An open and informal group of independent organizations joined by common interests.

Copyright:  The exclusive right, granted by law to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a published work.


De facto standard:  Standards that have come into use by general acceptance, custom or convention but have no formal recognition.

Design standard:  Standards that specify the design or technical characteristics of a product in terms of how it is to be constructed, assembled or manufactured.

Due process:  Any organization, company, government agency, or individual with a direct and material interest has a right to participate by expressing a position and its basis, having that position considered, and appealing if adversely affected.


European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI):  A private sector standards development organization accredited by the European Union to write Pan-European standards for Telecommunications.


Federal Communications Commission (FCC):  The FCC is an independent U.S. government agency.  The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable.

Final draft international standard (FDIS):  This is the final form of a proposed standard before it is approved as an International Standard.


Guidance documents: A document that describes a particular procedure or process but that does not include any requirements.

Guide (IEC definition):  Deals with non-normative matters related to international standardization.  An example is the application of “horizontal” standards.


Harmonized standards:  Equivalent standards on the same subject approved by different standardization bodies, which allow for establishment of interchangeability of products, processes and services, and for mutual understanding of test results or information provided according to these standards.


IEC: The purpose of the International Electrotechnical Commission (founded in 1906) is to promote international cooperation in standardization in the fields of electricity, electronics and related technologies.

Industry standard:  A voluntary, industry-developed document that establishes requirements for products, practices, or operations.

Industry technical agreement (ITA):  A normative or informative document that specifies the parameters of a new product or service.  It is developed outside the technical structures of the IEC and it helps to enable production and/or market launch of industry products to proceed.  It is similar to an industrial de facto standard or specification.  

Informative reference:  Included in a standard for information purposes only and are not an official part of the standard.  An example of an informative annex is a bibliography.

IEEE:  The IEEE is a non-profit, technical professional association of more than 360,000 individual members in approximately 175 countries.  Through its members, the IEEE is a leading authority in technical areas ranging from computer engineering, biomedical technology and telecommunications, to electric power, aerospace and consumer electronics, among others.

INCITS Organizational Entity (IOE): Any entity (Executive Board, committee, board, group, TC, TG, Ad Hoc, etc.) operating at any level under the auspices of INCITS.

Intellectual property:  Property that results from original creative thought such as patents, copyright materials, and trademarks.

Interchangeability:  Ability of a system or product to be compatible with or to be used in place of other systems or products without special effort by the user.

InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS):  INCITS is the central U.S. forum dedicated to creating standards for the next generation of technology and innovation. INCITS members create the building blocks for globally transformative technologies, from cloud computing to communications, from biometrics to software engineering.  INCITS is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a Standards Developing Organization (SDO) and the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO/IEC JTC 1.    

International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC):  IEC is the global organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies.  These are known collectively as “electrotechnology.”  IEC provides a platform to companies, industries, and governments for meeting, discussing and developing the international standards they require.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO):  ISO (pronounced “eye-so”) is the world’s largest developer of voluntary international standards.  International standards give state-of-the-art specifications for products, services, and good practice, helping to make industry more efficient and effective. Developed through global consensus, ISO standards help to break down barriers to international trade. ISO standards include technical product specifications, procedures and guidelines for services, personnel, and management system standards for quality (ISO 9000) and the environment (ISO 14000).

International standard (IS):  A standard adopted or developed for global use.  As defined in IEC/ISO Guide 2, an IS is a document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body, that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.  An international standard is a standard adopted by an international standardizing/standards organization and made available to the public.

Interoperability: Ability of a system or a product to work with other systems or products without special effort on the part of the customer. Interoperability is made possible by the implementation of standards.

ISO 14000:  The ISO 14000 series of standards provide guidance on several aspects of environmental management, including environmental auditing, performance evaluation, and life cycle assessment. The series addresses the needs of organizations worldwide by providing a common framework for managing environmental issues. Developed by an ISO Technical Committee that has as its scope of work “standardization in the field of environmental management tools and systems,” ISO 14000 is a series of international, voluntary environmental management standards, guides and technical reports.

ISO 9000:  The ISO 9000 family of standards represents an international consensus on good management practices with the aim of ensuring that the organization can time and time again deliver the product or services that meet the client's quality requirements developed by an ISO Technical Committee. These good practices have been distilled into a set of standardized requirements for a quality management system, regardless of what an organization does, its size, or whether it's in the private, or public sector.


JEDEC: The JEDEC Solid State Technology Association (Once known as the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council), is the semiconductor engineering standardization body of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), a trade association that represents all areas of the electronics industry.  JEDEC is the leading developer of standards for the solid-state industry.

Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC 1):  JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) was formed in 1987 to develop standards for information technology for business and consumer applications.  Additionally, JTC 1 provides the standards approval environment for integrating diverse and complex ICT technologies. These standards rely upon the core infrastructure technologies developed by JTC 1 centers of expertise complemented by specifications developed in other organizations.

JTC 1/SC22:  The sub-committee of JTC1 which has the responsibility for the development of International Standards in the area of “programming languages, their environments and system software interfaces.”


Management system registration:  Filing of management systems registrations with a recognized registration authority.

Management system standard:  Standards that specify process requirements that can be applied to any organization, regardless of the product it makes or the service it performs.

Mandatory government standard:  A standard set by government that prescribes safety, health, or environmental requirements.

Mandatory standards:  Standards incorporated into laws or technical regulations for the protection of public health, safety, and the environment; or when incorporated into contractual agreements, between buyers and sellers.

Market Acceptance:  The private sector standards and conformity assessment measures that retailers and consumers expect products to meet to be placed in a particular market.  These measures sometimes differ from and exceed the applicable market access requirements.


National Electrical Code (NEC):  A nationally recognized safety standard for the design, construction and maintenance of electrical circuits.  The NEC, sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), generally covers electrical wiring within buildings.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST):  A government agency that develops technologies, measurement methods, and standards that help U.S. companies to compete in the global marketplace, and that coordinates U.S. federal government use of voluntary standards.

National Member Body (NB):  Every country that participates in the work of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) nominates a single body that will represent it within ISO and those of its various sub-committees and working groups that it wishes to be involved with. These national member bodies may choose to participate in any, or all, of the various fields of standardization that are the responsibility of ISO by becoming either a Participating Member or an Observer Member.

National standard:  An American National Standard developed primarily for domestic use. U.S. national standards may be adopted as international standards and international standards may be adopted as U.S. national standards.

National standard development:  The process by which U.S. standards are developed.
National Standards Strategy for the United States.  The primary focus of the NSS is to improve U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace while continuing to provide strong support for domestic markets and key quality-of-life issues such as the environment.

New work item proposal (NP):  Before any technical work may start on developing an International Standard, an NP for the work must be approved by JTC1 and the work allocated to the appropriate Sub-Committee. In order for the NP to be approved it must be supported by a majority of Participating members, with at least five Participating members of the relevant Sub-Committee committing themselves to active participation in the associated work.

Non-consensus standards:  Industry standards,” “Company standards,” or “de facto standards,” which are developed in the private sector but not in the full consensus process.

Normative annex:  Official parts of the standard that are placed after the body of the standard for reasons of convenience or create a hierarchical distinction.  Used for conformance test procedures or tables.  Some standards place syntax definitions, list of keywords, or printed source code in normative annexes, or as normative annexes for content-specific applications of a standard.

Normative Reference:  Normative references are a list of the referenced documents cited in the document in such a way as to make them indispensable for the application of the document and required to implement the standard.

NTTAA:  The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 is legislation that requires government agencies to use voluntary standards from the private sector where feasible.


Observing member (O-member):  Any national member body may elect to be an O-member of JTC1 or of any of its Sub-Committees.  O-members may attend meetings, make contributions and receive documents, but are not eligible to vote.

“One Country, One Vote” Standards:  International Standards developed in a formal voting process where each country is represented through a “national body” carrying one vote each, regardless of the size of its economy, population, or the number of technical experts that participate from each country.

Openness:  Participation in the standard development process shall be open to all persons who are directly and materially affected by the activity in question, and the committee's activities are publicly available.

Overview:  Succinct description of the scope of the standards, and may include the purpose, applications and other areas that are considered relevant.


Participating member (P-member):  Any national member body may elect to be a P-member of JTC1 or of any of its Sub-Committees.  P-members have an obligation to take an active part in the work of JTC1 or of the SC, and to attend meetings; they also have an obligation to vote on all questions submitted for voting.

Patent:  The exclusive right granted by the government to an inventor (individual, company or organization) to manufacture, use or sell an invention for a certain number of years.

Personnel certification:  Personnel certification verifies that individuals in various professions have the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to perform their work.  The purpose of certification of personnel is to provide improvement in professional competence, a more highly skilled workforce, particularly within industries that have an impact on public safety and protection.

Process standard:  Process standards relate a series of actions or operations used in making a product and provide the methodology to perform these processes in a consistent and reproducible way.

Product standard:  Product standards can either define how the product should perform or how it should be designed.

Professional association or society:  Professional societies are generally membership organizations that represent the individual professionals in a specific profession from diverse industries, and have activities and programs that support the profession.

Proprietary standards:  Documentation by a commercial entity specifying equipment, practices, or operations unique to that commercial entity.

Publicly Available Specification (PAS):  A normative document that represents a consensus among experts.  A simple majority of the Participating Members of a technical committee or subcommittee approves the document.  An IEC-PAS responds to an urgent market need for such a normative document and is designed to bring the work of industry consortia into the realm of the IEC.

Purpose:  Explain why the standard project is needed.


References: See Normative Reference and Non-normative Reference

Regional standard:  A standard developed by a specific region of the world, such as Latin America, that may be adopted as an international standard.

Regulation:  A rule adopted by a federal or state regulatory agency to implement, interpret, or make specific the law enforced or administered by it, or to govern its procedure.

Right of appeal:  The right to take steps to have a case heard.  Must follow policies and procedures.  Bases of appeal can be technical (within sponsor) and procedural.


Scope: The technical boundaries of the document.  The scope explains what is covered in the document, and may explain what is not covered in the document.

Specification: A set of conditions and requirements of precise and limited application that provide a detailed description of a procedure, process, material, product, or service for use primarily in procurement and manufacturing. Standards may be referenced or included in specifications.

Standard: A standard is a document that describes rules, conditions, requirements, or characteristics that are applied to a product or service’s definition to ensure that it meets a specific expectation.    A standard can also delineate procedures involved with a product or service or the measurement of quantity or quality.  Given that the use or implementation of standards in the ITC marketplace is generally voluntary (in some situations they may be mandated or regulated, such as in nuclear power plants or in consumer safety), products that do not comply with industry or international standards can still be sold.  However, incentives to comply with standards are substantial, as those products that do not meet relevant standards often are less appealing to global consumers.

Standard developer or standard developing organization (SDO): A standards developing organization is an organization whose primary activities are developing, coordinating, promulgating, revising, amending, reissuing, interpreting, or otherwise producing technical standards that are intended to address the needs of some relatively wide base of affected adopters and users.  Accredited SDOs have been officially recognized or authorized to develop standards using open and transparent processes at the national level.

Standard development process: A step-by-step formalized committee process for developing voluntary consensus standards.  

Standardization: The use of common products, processes, procedures, and policies to facilitate attainment of business objectives.

Standards bodies: National, regional, and international standards bodies that develop standards and/or that coordinate the standards activities of a specific country, region or the world.  Standards bodies may be supported by the private sector, the government, or some combination thereof.  Some standard bodies facilitate the development of standards through support of technical committee activities, and some may be directly involved in standards development.

Strategic standardization: Strategic standardization is a management discipline that investigates all aspects of standardization across a business or industry, then defines, recommends, and implements appropriate strategies and policies that can give a company a competitive advantage, or avoid a competitive disadvantage.


Technical Advisory Group (TAG): TAG is the ANSI-recognized group that has the primary responsibility for participation in the ISO or JTC 1 Technical Committee or Subcommittee work. It is the TAG’s job to recruit delegations, supervise their work, and determine U.S. positions on proposed standards.

Technical barriers to trade: Differences in product requirements and approval schemes, occurring in laws, regulations and standards, which restrict trade between countries.

Technical corrigendum: Corrects a technical error or ambiguity in an IS.  It also corrects information that has become outdated, provided the modification has no effect on the technical normative elements of the document it corrects.

Technical regulation: A mandatory government requirement that defines the characteristics and/or the performance requirements of a product, service, or process.

Technical report (TR): More descriptive than normative, this is an informative document of a different kind from normative documents (e.g. collection of data).  A TR is approved by simple majority of Participating Members of an IEC technical committee or subcommittee.

Technical specification (TS): Similar to an IS in that it is normative in nature, developed according to consensus procedures and is approved by two/thirds of the Participating Members of an IEC technical committee or subcommittee.  A TS is published when required support for an IS cannot be obtained, or when the subject is still under technical development, or when there is a future -- but no immediate -- possibility of an IS.

Technology trend assessment (TTA): Highlights certain aspects of a technology that might conceivably become an area for standardization in the near-to-medium term.  It responds to the need for global collaboration on standardization questions during the early stages of technical innovation.  A TTA gives the state of the art or trend in emerging fields.  It is typically the result of pre-standardization work or research.

Time division multiple access (TDMA): A technology for delivering digital wireless service using time-division multiplexing (TDM).  TDMA works by dividing a radio frequency into time slots and then allocating slots to multiple calls.  In this way, a single frequency can support multiple, simultaneous data channels.

Trade secret: A trade secret is a confidential practice, method, process, design, the “know-how” or other information used by a business to compete with other businesses.  It is also referred to in some jurisdictions as confidential information, and in others is a subset or example of confidential information.

Transmission control protocol (TCP): TCP is one of the main protocols in TCP/IP networks.  Whereas the IP protocol deals only with packets, TCP enables two hosts to establish a connection and exchange streams of data.  TCP guarantees delivery of data and also guarantees that packets will be delivered in the same order in which they were sent.


U.S. National Body:  ANSI is the U.S. member body to the ISO and the IEC, via the U.S. National Committee to IEC, representing United States interests in international standards development.  National standards bodies in other countries are the member bodies to ISO and IEC for their countries.


Voluntary consensus standard:  The term “voluntary” distinguishes the standards development process from governmental or regulatory processes.  All interested stakeholders participate, including producers, users, consumers, and representatives of government and academia.  Voluntary standards are also made mandatory at times by being incorporated into law by governmental bodies.

Voluntary consensus standards:  Standards developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies, both domestic and international, and it defines voluntary consensus standards bodies as domestic or international organizations which plan, develop, establish, or coordinate voluntary consensus standards using agreed-upon procedures.

Voluntary Government Standard:  A standard written by a government department or agency that prescribes requirements for a product or service, such as food grade standards developed to facilitate the marketing process. Use of the standard is voluntary.

Voluntary standard:  The term “voluntary” distinguishes the standards development process from governmental or regulatory processes.  Voluntary standards are also made mandatory at times by being incorporated into law by governmental bodies.

Voluntary standards system:  A system used to develop voluntary standards wherein participation in the system itself is voluntary.  All interested stakeholders participate, including producers, users, consumers, and representatives of government and academia.


Wide-band code-division multiple access (WCDMA):  A 3G technology that increases data transmission rates in GSM systems by using the CDMA air interface instead of TDMA.  WCDMA is based on CDMA and is the technology used in UMTS.  WCDMA was adopted as a standard by the ITU under the name “IMT-2000 direct spread”.

Working draft (WD):  This is the first stage that a document goes through, during which it is still a purely internal document to the Working Group that is responsible for it.  It is actually the third of six possible stages in the production of an International Standard.

American National Standard Dictionary of Information Technology (ANSDIT)