How to Cite ISO Standards

Updated February 21, 2017

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an organisation comprising the members of national standardisation organisations around the world. The ISO's goal is to establish standards for international trade. Citing ISO standards in trade publications and magazines is not done in a similar manner as using MLA or APA format. Instead, ISO standards have their own unique citation method.

Begin your citation with the ISO designation.

Indicate the source of the standard. If it is the result of work done by the International Electrotechnical Commission, use the term /IEC. Use the term /ASTM if the standard is the result of work made in cooperation with the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Place the international standard designation after the source of the standard unless the standard is incomplete.

List the standard number, followed by a colon and the date of the standard.

List the topic of the standard.


An example of the ISO citation may read ISO/IEC IS 13250-2:2006: Information Technology---Document Description and Processing Languages---Topic Maps---Data Model.

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Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.