Standards are everywhere, yet go mostly unnoticed. They define how products, processes, and people interact, assessing these entities' features and performance and signaling their level of quality and reliability. They can convey important benefits to trade, productivity, and technological progress and play an important role in the health and safety of individual consumers and the environment. Firms' ability to produce competitive products depends on the availability of adequate quality-support services. A "national quality infrastructure" denotes the chain of public and private services (standardization, metrology, inspection, testing, certification, and accreditation) needed to ascertain that products and services introduced in the marketplace meet defined requirements, whether demanded by authorities or by consumers. In much of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, national quality infrastructure systems are underdeveloped and not harmonized with those of their trading partners. This imbalance increases trade costs, hinders local firms' competitiveness, and weakens overall export performance. The objective of Harnessing Quality for Global Competitiveness in Eastern Europe and Central Asia is to highlight the need to reform and modernize the institutions in the region toward better quality and standards. The book ties in with much of the work done in the World Bank on the business environment, trade facilitation, economic diversification, and enterprise innovation. The countries in the region can improve this situation, revising mandatory standards, streamlining technical regulations, and harmonizing their national quality infrastructure with those of regional and international trade partners. Most governments will need to invest strategically in their national quality infrastructure, including pooling services with neighboring countries and stimulating local awareness and demand for quality. Specifically for the countries of the former Soviet Union, the restructuring process will need to improve governance, thus eliminating conflicts of interest and providing technically credible services to the economy.
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Here is an overview of the specialized formats that Bookshare offers its members with links that go to the Help Center for more information.
- Bookshare Web Reader - a customized reading tool for Bookshare members offering all the features of DAISY with a single click of the "Read Now" link.
- DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) - a digital book file format. DAISY books from Bookshare are DAISY 3.0 text files that work with just about every type of access technology that reads text. Books that contain images will have the download option of ‘DAISY Text with Images’.
- BRF (Braille Refreshable Format) - digital Braille for use with refreshable Braille devices and Braille embossers.
- MP3 (Mpeg audio layer 3) - Provides audio only with no text. These books are created with a text-to-speech engine and spoken by Kendra, a high quality synthetic voice from Ivona. Any device that supports MP3 playback is compatible.
- DAISY Audio - Similar to the Daisy 3.0 option above; however, this option uses MP3 files created with our text-to-speech engine that utilizes Ivonas Kendra voice. This format will work with Daisy Audio compatible players such as Victor Reader Stream and Read2Go.