The following is adapted from a speech delivered by ASTM Chairman Wayne N. Holliday at the ASTM Annual Business Meeting held in Kansas City, Mo., on May 7.
These are certainly exciting times for everyone involved with ASTM International. We are energized and fully committed to being a responsive, best-in-class standards development organization, dedicated to the timely development and delivery of high-quality, market-relevant standards.
I would like to review how ASTM is delivering on this commitment, sharing with you some of the new steps we are undertaking to reach out and support our constituents around the globe.
Promoting ASTM Membership
In March, ASTM established a new type of membership student membership. Undergraduate and graduate-level students can now take advantage of numerous benefits free of charge, including educational materials about standardization, access to ASTM publications, and free attendance at ASTM symposia. Since todays college students are tomorrows technical experts and business leaders, we are helping to foster future growth in the society for generations to come.
Aided by a promotional campaign that includes campus distribution of posters, an internationally circulated press release, and a new student membership section of our Web site, we have already added numerous student members from schools in the United States, and countries as far away as Saudi Arabia.
We have also embarked on a campaign to add new informational members to the society. This group includes professionals who want to stay abreast of the latest developments in standardization, without participating in ASTM standards writing committees. This campaign is targeted at four major vertical markets, including steel/metals, building construction, petroleum, and the environment. Industry specific advertisements have been placed in leading magazines. Advertising efforts were supported by an international direct mail campaign and a special promotional section on the ASTM Web site.
A New Technical Committee Promotion
A dynamic new group that came together under the ASTM umbrella during the second half of 2002 was the new ASTM Committee F37 on Light-Sport Aircraft. Following the FAA ruling regarding the industry developing its own voluntary consensus standards for the design, operation and maintenance of light- sport aircraft, a broad range of industry stakeholders from around the world came together within ASTM to develop the needed safety and performance standards.
To jumpstart membership in the new committee, a major communications initiative was implemented. A membership flyer was developed and mailed to targeted F37 member contacts. Similar marketing and communications efforts were utilized to promote membership in Committee F36 on Technology and Underground Utilities in the early part of 2002, and will be implemented as new ASTM committees continue to form in the future.
Technology Advancements for Standards Development
ASTM continues to be at the forefront in the use of technology to help our members do standards development work, while also increasing the accessibility of ASTM standards to the global community. ASTM is leveraging technology to achieve these goals via a number of recent and upcoming initiatives including:
Introduction of work item registration ;
Redlined and historical versions of standards;
ASTM University; and
Major Web site enhancements.
ASTM now offers its members a Virtual Meeting solution that combines teleconferencing with Internet document viewing and editing. It offers another way for ASTM members to interact between meetings, complementing the existing ASTM Internet-based Standards Development Forums.
ASTM has also recently implemented a dynamic new system designed to initiate and track draft standards and revisions before and during balloting. With this new work item registration system, anyone who wants to know whether ASTM is developing or revising a specific standard will now be able to perform a search for keywords, sign up for an e-mail advisory service that provides notification of new work items in their area of interest, and view a committees jurisdiction over the item in question. For ASTM members, the new system will enable the development of easy to understand ballot items faster and more conveniently than in the past.
Two additional online capabilities recently released are the availability of redlined and historical standards. Redlines are PDF documents that provide a quick and easy way to compare all of the changes between an active standard and the most recent previous version. This means youll no longer have to spend time determining what has changed in the new standard.
Historical standards are versions of ASTM standards that have been superseded by more current versions. Currently there are approximately 4,000 historical standards available in PDF format.
Also recently launched is ASTM International University, a Web-based training resource providing instruction on ASTM standards and other related technical information, as well as on-line training modules for ASTM members. ASTM University complements our existing Technical and Professional Training program of courses by expanding the availability of ASTM training to anyone, anywhere in the world.
New online courses that have been developed include:
Phase One environmental site assessment process;
Performance testing of transport packaging;
Flash point testing using ASTM standard D 93;
Entry into the European Union;
Kinematic viscosity testing;
Tensile properties of plastics; and
In addition to ASTM University, there are free on-line training modules on our Web site. These modules cover various aspects of ASTM regulations, procedures and policies to assist in the development of voluntary consensus standards. ASTM members have unlimited access to these modules.
Numerous enhancements have been made to our Web site, providing new tools for ASTM members and customers. These enhancements include a new comprehensive site search tool that enables any user to quickly search every ASTM Web page and receive ranked results of relevant pages.
To aid international visitors using the ASTM Web site, several pages are available in Spanish through a pull down menu on the home page. The home page has been translated as well as all the top-level, landing pages. Customers purchasing an item from the ASTM store will also have the benefit of a translated checkout process. A pull-down menu also leads users to a capability that can translate the entire ASTM Web site into multiple languages.
Scheduled to debut in mid-2003 is a revamp of the look and feel of the ASTM Web site. This enhancement will improve the overall graphical appearance of the site, provide enhanced navigation, and an even stronger depth of informational content.
Other related news is the planned 2004 launch of the Journal of ASTM International. This will be ASTMs first online-only journal and will provide a rapid method for the publication of technical papers. Articles will be peer reviewed and edited and will include published papers from symposia, as well as solicited and unsolicited papers. The current plan is to publish the Journal 10 times a year with approximately 15 papers per issue.
When it comes to continuing in the Societys longstanding role as an international standards development organization, our actions have always spoken loud and clear.
There has been much communication about ASTMs efforts to reach out and serve the standards development needs of developing nations through memorandums of understanding. The purpose of these agreements is to strengthen the relationship between ASTM and signatories in developing countries and allow ASTM to assist those countries, national standards bodies in their standards development and adoption efforts. Since our last annual business meeting, seven more MOUs have been signed, bringing the total number of these agreements to 18.
An outgrowth of the MOUs with developing nations is co-sponsored technical training sessions. ASTM conducted two such sessions in 2002 a course on fuels technology with INEN, the Ecuadoran standards body, and two courses with the Bureau of Standards Jamaica addressing environmental management for auditors and managers.
In the past year, ASTM has also worked in close cooperation with its colleagues at the American National Standards Institute and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in building bridges with other regions of the world. ASTM representatives participated in two of ANSIs Regional Standing Committees, which allow the United States to intensify and broaden its participation in regional standardization and conformity assessment activities at policy levels. ASTM participated in ANSIs RSCs for the Americas and the Asia Pacific region. As part of NISTs Standards in Trade programs, ASTM helped provide training in standards use in specific industry areas to professionals and government officials in developing nations.
Further emphasizing our commitment in this area is the upcoming Open House for member countries of the Asia Pacific Economic Congress. This event will be held at ASTM Headquarters in September and will welcome the executive directors of the national standards bodies of the countries in the APEC region including Australia, Fiji, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
ASTM remains committed to maintaining our core mission of providing high-quality, market-relevant standards for the world. I hope this overview has given you some sense of the related initiatives ASTM staff and members are undertaking to provide educational opportunities to current and future standards developers and users, expand its universe of technical committees, add value to our Web site as a standards development and delivery tool, and establish ever better relationships with standards professionals worldwide.
Wayne N. Holliday
Chairman of the Board
Copyright 2003, ASTM