|Each year about this time, ASTM provides its members an overview
of the state of the Society. As we review the events of the past
12 months, the impact that technology has had on the way we do
business is most noteworthy. Over the past decade, ASTM has used
technology to assist in serving its members and customers, and
this past year we have raised the level of technology implementation
to new heights. Nowhere is this more noticeable than on the ASTM
ASTM Web SiteEver-Improving Service to Members
Many ASTM members may have first-hand experience with the new
features that have been added to the technical committee home
pages. Now, each committee has its own page containing important
information about the committee as well as information reserved
strictly for committee members (see the HowTo article for more information). New features now on the committee home
-- Committee scopes;
-- Standards by subcommittee;
-- Online committee applications;
-- Search for publications;
-- Committee officers;
-- Committee week information;
-- Enhanced standards development forums; and
-- New standards development tools.
The recently-implemented members only section of these committee
pages allows members to access minutes of recent and past meetings
in a searchable format, view committee contact information, and
update their own contact information online.
Beginning with the January 2000 meetings, the minutes of technical
committee meetings have been posted on this members only section
of the committee home pages. Committee members are informed of
the availability of the minutes by e-mail. In addition, minutes
of one prior meeting will be online.
New online committee rosters enable members to view contact information
for any member of the committee, or even check and update their
own information. This information includes current mailing addresses,
phone and fax numbers, and e-mail addresses. Voting status and
classification are also listed here. A nice feature is the ability
to link directly to a fellow members e-mail address.
A series of new standards development tools are accessible from
the committee home pages.
Development and balloting tools available on the Standards Development
Tools Web page include:
-- The Blue BookForm and Style Guide for ASTM Standards;
-- Draft standard templates in MS Word;
-- Request forms for using Interactive Standards Development Forums;
-- Request forms for the development of a new standard;
-- Ballot item submittal forms; and
-- A format guide for research reports.
Member and officer tools include:
-- The Green BookRegulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees;
-- The Red Bookthe Technical Committee Officers Handbook; and
-- A strategic planning manual.
Voting tools include:
-- Proxy forms in MS Word.
Online draft standard templates help speed up the drafting process.
These templates insert all of the required form and style elements
specified in the Blue Book. Templates exist for all types of standards:
test methods, specs, practices and guides, classifications, and
Todays standards developers must not only develop standards more
efficiently, but also deliver documents in the formats users need.
ASTM is keenly aware that todays customers require:
-- Twenty-four-hour desktop access for all of their employees,
-- Current as well as historical standards;
-- Project information, including draft standards;
-- Notice of new, revised, and withdrawn documents;
-- Standards that are easy to obtain; and
-- Standards that are reasonably priced.
More and more, users of ASTM information are obtaining standards
via electronic means. Users prefer the Web for quick ordering
and delivery. Customers have the option of obtaining the standards
they want in their delivery mode of choice. They can download
standards, receive them by fax, or by mail.
This year ASTM has made the individual volumes of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards available on CD ROM. Prior to this new development, the entire
book of standards collection had been available on CD, but not
the individual volumes. This new, individual CD-ROM book is now
a member benefit option, whereby ASTM members working on technical
committees can choose between a hard copy volume of the book of
standards or a CD for their one free volume.
Also new this year, technical papers are available online. The
first ASTM journal with papers on the Web is the Journal of Forensic Sciences. Papers are in PDF format and can be downloaded individually.
Look for individual papers of all ASTM journals to be on the Web
later this year.
Last September we launched a new section of the ASTM Web page
for students learning about standards and instructors teaching
standards. On this pageInformation for Students and Educatorsyou will find the Handbook of Standardization, which briefly sums up the basics of standards in an easy-to-understand
format. The Handbook is also available in print. Other information in the student Web page includes a first-hand story of ASTM standards being taught in a university classroom, historical
information on ASTM, and easy availability of the ASTM video.
As of the beginning of this year, Standardization News went online.
Now on the ASTM Web site, you can access most sections of the
magazine each month from the main home page, including all news
sections of SN. The online version of the magazine is available
about two weeks prior to delivery of the printed magazine. You
may have noticed SNs updated design, also launched this year
in January. You can read the column Plain Talk for a New Generation by ASTM President Jim Thomas on the Web, as well as in the hard
copy of SN. This one-page installment contains commentary on pertinent
issues relating to ASTM and the standards scene.
We are pleased with the reader interest in the column. We are
hearing from members as well as those outside the ASTM membership
with their views on ASTM and the subjects covered in the column.
A new ASTM technical committee was formed this year. Committee
F34 on Rolling Element Bearings has 60 members and 11 subcommittees,
covering a broad range of applications for bearings found in numerous
products. The committee will begin ASTM standards development
with the conversion of over 200 military standards and specs to
ASTM documents. A symposium on rolling element bearings is scheduled
for November 2001 and the development of a training course is
ASTM in the National and International Scene
On the national front, Jim Thomas is a member of a task force
of the National Issues Committee of the American National Standards
Institute, charged with developing a national standards strategy
for the United States. This group developed a draft strategy that
the ANSI executive committee has embraced in principal. The task
group is now working on developing language to address strategy
ASTM was pleased to accept an invitation to attend the Organization
for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) special meeting
on technical barriers to trade in Paris in March. There, ASTM
had the opportunity to explain its mode of standards development
and state its position on elements of the World Trade Organizations
Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement. ASTM urged that various
types of international standards, such as those developed by ASTM,
need to be considered in the WTO process.
Last October, the ASTM chairman and president attended the International
Organization for Standardization (ISO) general assembly in Beijing,
China. The ASTM pilot projectwherein ISO standards are developed
within the ASTM committee structure, with the ASTM technical committee
maintaining responsibility for the standards upkeepwas referenced
several times during the general assembly. Currently, the documents
included in the pilot project deal with standards in the area
of radiation processing dosimetry and are out to ballot within
ISO Technical Committee 85. The ISO secretary general complimented
ASTM for the progress that has been made and offered his support
for moving the project forward.
While things are moving along satisfactorily, ASTM has had to,
for the success of the project, compromise on items that may become
issues for the Society in the future.
In addition to the general assembly, the ASTM delegation participated
in the grand opening of an ASTM standards distribution center
in Beijing. While in Beijing, ASTM representatives visited the
China Association for Standardization (CAS), with whom ASTM has
jointly published the Chinese-language edition of Standardization
News. The seventh installment was published in June and is being
distributed to 18,000 technical experts and industry representatives
ASTMs Technical and Professional Training program continues to
be a sought-after resource on the use of ASTM standards. This
years new course, titled Technical Requirements for Entry into
the European Union, expands the program beyond the ASTM standard.
This course was offered for the first time last month and drew
attendance from a broad range of industries all across the United
ASTM is pleased to have signed a three-year agreement with the
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to conduct
the ASTM volatile organic compounds course for DEP employees.
ASTM will work with the DEP to educate state employees in the
regulation and enforcement of state laws regarding volatile organic
On March 1, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a direct final rule to
update references to more than 150 ASTM standards. Some of the
standards had been over 30 years out of date. The Federal Register
notice announced that the Coast Guard was amending the Code of
Federal Regulations to render current the standards incorporated
by reference from ASTM.
Our Members Make It Work
Now for some membership statistics. As of the end of 1999, ASTM
-- 30,932 members;
-- 20,391 main committee members;
-- 129 technical committees;
-- 1,992 subcommittees; and
-- 101,611 units of participation in the standards development
This activity resulted in:
-- 286 new standards;
-- 1,624 revised standards; and
-- 2,754 total standards actions.
Readers can see from the ASTM Annual Report, published as an insert in the June issue of SN and available
from Headquarters, that ASTM continues to operate from a healthy
financial position. The society derives most of its income, 74
percent, from the sale of publications. Demand for the ASTM standard
is strong, as customers shift from preferring the traditional
print copy to electronic delivery.
Every day, ASTM works to improve its already outstanding history
of service to its members and to the worldwide community through
the promulgation of quality standards. I thank you, the ASTM membership,
for your role in making ASTM one of the first and finest standards
developing organizations in the world.