Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Citation for Engineering and Energy

A guide to using citation styles in Engineering and Applied Science, including those used for standards and patents.

Some Guidelines

There is no single correct way to cite standards (and most citation styles do not have a category for standards), but it is important to be consistent. Before choosing a style, check to see if your instructor has provided any guidelines or expressed any preference.

The most important thing is to include enough information that anyone reading your citation can go and find the exact document you referenced. Standards can appear in different forms (draft, active, etc.) and the same standard can be issued by different bodies. Make sure you cite the right version.

Most standards citations include:

  • Title
  • Standard number
  • Publisher
  • Date
  • URL

Standards citations may also include:

  • Publisher location
  • Version 

Exporting Standard Information into a Citation Manager

Some standard databases provide an export feature or other option to automatically export data. Citation managers such as Zotero that basically "grab" information aren't always successful with standards.

If you do decide to use a citation manager to collect standard information, always double check the results against the original information in the standard itself.

The following databases provide options for exporting standard citations:

  • IEEE (to BiBTeX, EndNote, and Plain Text)

Citation Style Examples

If your instructor has not identified a preferred citation style, you can use one of the formats below.

Note: Standards can be reprinted or altered/reissued by different standards organizations. Remember to cite the specific version you used.


(Source: IEEE Standards Style Manual)

Format: [Citation number] Title of standard, Standard number, Date.

Example: [1] Letter Symbols for Quantities, ANSI Standard Y10.5-1968.



(Source: ASME Style Citation Guide)

Format: [Citation number] Year, Standard issing body/Standard number: Title of Standard.

Example: [2] 2001, ASTM 905: Standard Test Method for Determining Thermal Performance of Tracking Concentrating Solar Collections.



Source (Referencing ASTM Standards)

Format: Standard issuing body/Standard number, Edition/version, "Title," Publisher, City, State or Province, Publication year, DOI, Publisher website.

Example: ASTM Standard C33, 2003, "Specification for Concrete Aggregates," ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2003, DOI: 10.1520/C0033-03,


Chicago (recommended by ANSI)

Source: Chicago Manual of Style (section 14:249 on "Pamphlets and the Like") and OWL Purdue Writing Lab: General Citation

Format: Chicago does not mention how to cite standards explicitly, but they will be treated like a book, journal, or book series (depending on the situation and where it's published). Section 14:249 notes that "[d]ata on author and publisher may not fit the normal pattern, but sufficient information should be given to identify the document." Make sure you provide enough information that someone can track down the document later: namely, identify it as a standard, and provide the issuing agency/publication name, the standard number, and the standard title, and publication date (if not obvious from the standard number).



Source (APA Referencing: A Brief Guide)

Format: Standard issuing body. (Year). Standard title (Standard number). City, State / Country: Publisher.

Example: CSA. (2014). Human factors in design for nuclear power plants (N290.12). Toronto, Canada: Canadian Standards Association.

chat loading...