The Library has extensive, though imperfect, holdings of British Standards from the early 1900s to 1997.


Copying of standards by our Copies Direct service is provided in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968.

Visit the National Library in person to request and view standards in the Main Reading Room. 

British standards are available for interlibrary loan. Enquire at your local library.


The BSI Group oversees the creation, promulgation and use of British Standards.

BSI has had several name changes since its formation:

  • Engineering Standards Committee, 1901 to 1918
  • British Engineering Standards Association, 1918 to 1931
  • British Standards Institution (BSI), 1931 to 1998
  • BSI Group, 1998 to date

How do you request a printed British standard in the Catalogue?

If you know the number of the standard:

1. Go to the Catalogue record for British Standards

Note The standards are not listed individually, but grouped within a number range.  Not all issues within these number ranges are held.

2. Type in the number of the standard in the space provided for the volume number.

e.g. Volume/No.: BS 4894:1993

If you do not know the number of the standard, you can look it up in an index.

Case Study

Finding an historical British Standard

How do you find historical British Standards, if you don't know the number?

Identify the standard number by searching an index

1. Find the Library Catalogue record for the relevant index date range.

2. Submit an online request for the index volume/s in your period of interest.

3. When the volumes are delivered:

  • search for the standard by subject
  • identify the number of the standard you need

4. Go to the Library catalogue record for British Standards to submit your online request.

Please note that the Library's collection of British Standards is imperfect, so we may not have the one you need.

Tip If you're not able to visit the National Library of Australia in person, search Trove to find other Australian libraries that have Brtitish Standards.


'Operating theatre towel TL 11'

Detail of representative material for 'Operating theatre towel TL 11'. In British Standard 1781 P: 1967, Standard patterns for linen textiles. For use by Government Departments, Hospitals and Local Authorities. (London: British Standards Association, 1967).


The Library does not provide full text online access to British standards.

You can also purchase these standards from: