When is a standard not a standard? - dilemmas in geoanalytical terminology

Potts, Philip J. (2010). When is a standard not a standard? - dilemmas in geoanalytical terminology. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, 34(4) pp. 313–314.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-908X.2010.00937.x


There is a strong and defensible argument that the analysis of rocks and minerals is one of the most challenging fields of analytical metrology. Not only does the field encompass every element in the periodic table, it extends to isotopes and even the characterisation of the same range of analytes on a micrometre scale. Little wonder then, that a huge amount of effort is expended in developing geoanalytical techniques complimented by the substantial analytical expertise that resides within the geoanalytical community. Key characteristics of any analytical methods are the accuracy and precision with which measurements are made. But here lies the first of the dilemmas – why is this focus on accuracy and precision not always reflected in the accurate and precise use of analytical terminology and to what extent is the geoanalytical community supported by
clarity offered by developments in definitions of these terms at an international level?

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