The traditional concept of measurement traceability in the United States has focussed on an unbroken hierarchial pathway of measurement compatisons to national standards Also ingrained in tradition is the tendency to focus on the audit trail rather than on a quality measurement assurance program in which there is sufficient accuracy to accomplish the intended purpose. Evolutionary changes in the U.S. concept of traceability and the forces producing them will be reviewed. Specific examples are used to illustrate the traditional approach to traceability as well as options that might be exercised in the future.
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