Reference materials: global harmonization and the assurance of data quality
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The need for reference materials, and the problems of locating information about them, are discussed. The first steps in the construction of a database on reference materials are described. The term reference materials was taken to mean any substance used to give a baseline or reference value for a measurement. A broadly-phrased questionnaire was sent out to 264 different organizations. So far 67 replies have been received representing a wide range of manufacturers, suppliers, and users of reference materials from 23 different countries. These replies have been compiled to form a Survey of Institutions, Organizations and Laboratories Manufacturing, Supplying, or Using Reference Materials, which will soon be available in printing form. The first edition will serve as a basis for defining user needs more precisely, and developing a more detailed questionnaire. The information will be included in digitized form as a part of the HEM metadatabase information system HEMIS.