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The ASHRAE Handbook is the four-volume flagship publication of the nonprofit technical organization ASHRAE (formerly American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers). This Handbook is considered the practical repository of knowledge on the various topics that form the field of heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC&R).
The four volumes are Fundamentals, Refrigeration, HVAC Applications ("Applications"), and HVAC Systems and Equipment ("Systems and Equipment"). Members of ASHRAE receive the current volume, in both print and CD-ROM form, each year as a basic membership benefit. An enhanced electronic version, known as ASHRAE Handbook Online is a web-based version updated annually that contains the four latest volumes as well as extra content such as calculations, demonstration videos, and spreadsheets. The various versions of the Handbook are typically available to the public via technical, and other, libraries and bookstores.
The ASHRAE Handbook has had a variety of titles. It began in 1922 as the ASH&VE Guide. In 1973 it became the ASHRAE Handbook, and in 1985 separate publication of inch-pound (I-P) and international system (SI) units versions of the volumes began. The current publisher of record is W. Stephen Comstock, and the Editor is Mark S. Owen. The Handbook is published by ASHRAE from its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
Review and Revision
The Handbook's content is created and modified by volunteers via ASHRAE's many Technical Committees (TCs), and then edited and formatted by professional staff at ASHRAE. For example, three chapters, in three different volumes, are maintained by TC 5.3, Room Air Distribution. Each chapter within a particular volume is reviewed and revised in a repeating four-year cycle; one volume is printed each year. In the summer of 2013, the new Fundamentals volume was released. ASHRAE's Handbook Committee maintains an Authors and Revisers Guide which can be obtained freely via the Handbook portion of the ASHRAE Web site.
While each new or revised chapter manuscript is to be reviewed for technical content by each TC voting and corresponding member before publication, there are often many other pre- and post-publication reviewers. For example, members of the Society's Handbook Committee and the College of Fellows review chapters each year. Reviews, from basic comments to detailed new content, are encouraged from all users of the Handbook and may be submitted through an on-line commenting system.