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Reference sheets

ASTM publishes ASTM Standards as well as journals, manuals, and the ASTM Special Technical Publications.

Searching ASTM Compass

Retrieving known documents

Many users will want to retrieve a known document which they have seen cited elsewhere. In this case, at the Compass home page, simply enter the specific document identifier in the search box. For example, every ASTM standard is designated by an alphanumeric code such as D2609 - 93 or E571 - 92. The letter prefix designates a general classification such as ferrous metals, nonferrous metals, etc. The serial number, such as 2609, identifies the standard , and the two digits following the dash show the year of revision. To search for a standard , enter the letter and number, for instance D2609 , without the year designation. Compass will retrieve matches to the search, and will allow retrieval of full text of the current version of the standard. Our subscription includes historical standards so if the standard has been withdrawn and is no longer active, or if there are historical versions of the current standard, the link to that older standard will be provided. If there is a need for older versions of a standard not available online, see the following section for print standard retrieval.

To retrieve other entire ASTM documents, enter the identifying number associated with each. For example, STP1555 (for an STP), or manual 62 (for a manual).

To retrieve individual papers it may be easier to use the Advanced Search function which will allow searches by author, title, and other specific fields.

Searching by subject

To search topically for ASTM documents, it is probably best to use the Advanced Search option. This will give more control of the search. For instance, someone looking for standards related to a toy box, could uncheck the “digital library” box, and search only in standards. A search on toy box pulls up several standards, the first of which are not relevant. Scrolling through the results, there is a standard for toy chests.

ASTM historical standards

Researchers who are developing products are interested in current ASTM standards in order that the product they design will be in compliance. Lawyers in the midst of litigation are often interested in older ASTM standards that were in effect at the time the product was manufactured. Individual ASTM standards, perhaps around 10% of the total collection, are updated annually. Our subscription to Compass contains historical standards. However, the comprehensiveness of the historical collection is unclear. Users may need to access an older standard from our hardcopy sets. Each annual hardcopy set contains approximately 70 volumes. Each volume within the set covers a specific subject area and contains the ASTM standards relevant to its subject, such as:

  • Section 4 - Construction: Volume 04.01 Cement; Lime; Gypsum
  • Section 4 - Construction: Volume 04.06 Thermal Insulation; Environmental Acoustics.

In order to retrieve the correct volume which contains the needed historical standard, it is necessary to use the index, which is Section 00, Volume 00.01 , the first volume of each set, in order to identify the volume in which the standard resides. We have retained the hardcopy ASTM standards at 5 year intervals in storage. In order to retrieve a historical ASTM standard from storage, retrieve the index for the year most closely following the year of the needed standard revision. For example, if needing a standard with revision date 1993, use the 1995 index. In the alphanumeric section of the index, determine which volume of the ASTM set contains the needed standard. Retrieve that volume from storage.