The A to Z of drafting IEC publications

New IEC website section provides comprehensive guide for standards developers

By Claire Marchand

Drafting standards is a long and complex process that obeys strict rules and requires a certain amount of discipline. To help the thousands of experts around the world who participate in standardization work, the IEC Editing and Document Preparation team has developed an A-to-Z guide on how to draft IEC publications; it is available now on the IEC website.

All elements pertaining to the drafting of IEC publications are covered by this section of the IEC website

A step-by-step approach

This new section, entitled Drafting IEC Publications, is designed as a one-stop shop that provides standards developers with all of the elements – rules and recommendations, templates, advice and tips – that are needed for drafting IEC publications.

The section provides experts with a well-documented and comprehensive guide that assists them in the process of drafting a new publication or maintaining an existing one and helps them with the layout and formatting of IEC publications. It also aids the presentation of graphics and figures and provides the IEC templates to be used in standardization work.

The Guidance by keywords page facilitates searches through the whole section. Although the list of topics is quite long, filters help narrow down searches. When a keyword is entered – image, for example – all entries dealing with images will be brought up.

This step-by-step approach should ease considerably the life of all those who participate in the drafting process.

Grouping the information

Most of the information contained in the Drafting IEC Publications section was already in existence on the IEC website, but it was scattered across the site and, with the exception of the ISO/IEC Directives, often difficult to find.

The ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2, provide the framework for structuring and drafting documents published as International Standards, Technical Reports or Technical Specifications. These are the core documents that standards developers have to comply with when drafting new publications or revising existing ones.

Over the years, the IEC has developed in-house rules and recommendations that cannot appear in the Directives (which are presented in a more general document) but have to be taken into consideration when preparing IEC publications.

The IEC also has templates that have to be used when creating and revising publications.

A valuable complement to training

The IEC Technical Department receives daily phone calls and emails from experts, requesting assistance and asking questions related to the drafting process. IEC TC/SC (Technical Committee and Subcommittee) Chairmen and Secretaries benefit from specific training sessions that, among other things, address the topic of publication drafting. On the other hand, the vast majority of TC/SC convenors, project leaders and experts have less direct contact with the IEC, and therefore reduced opportunity to receive direct training from the IEC. In both cases, a single training session will never be enough to cover all aspects linked to the drafting of documents. This makes it the more important to have a primary source of information which can both provide further training and also assist in resolving any questions that may arise in the course of drafting an IEC document.

The IEC Editing and Document Preparation team therefore undertook the task of going through all these requests and grouping them by topic. This served as the basis for the Guidance by keywordpage. Having this search function should save precious time both for experts and the IEC Editing and Document Preparation team.

Dynamic process

The Drafting IEC Publications section has been designed in such a way that it can be further developed and expanded as new questions and topics arise. If experts cannot find the answer to their questions in the section, they can still contact the IEC team directly and the issues they raise may provide updates for the site.

entry All elements pertaining to the drafting of IEC publications are covered by this section of the IEC website
filter The section's entry page gives an overview of what information is available to standards developers
equation_page Filters help narrow down searches