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Climate change, driven by the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, poses serious, wide-ranging threats to human societies and natural ecosystems around the world. The largest overall source of greenhouse gas emissions is the burning of fossil fuels. The global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, the dominant greenhouse gas of concern, is increasing by roughly two parts per million per year, and the United States is currently the second-largest contributor to global emissions behind China. Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change , part of the congressionally requested America's Climate Choices suite of studies, focuses on the role of the United States in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The book concludes that in order to ensure that all levels of government, the private sector, and millions of households and individuals are contributing to shared national goals, the United States should establish a "budget" that sets a limit on total domestic greenhouse emissions from 2010-2050. Meeting such a budget would require a major departure from business as usual in the way the nation produces and uses energy-and that the nation act now to aggressively deploy all available energy efficiencies and less carbon-intensive technologies and to develop new ones. With no financial incentives or regulatory pressure, the nation will continue to rely upon and "lock in" carbon-intensive technologies and systems unless a carbon pricing system is established-either cap-and-trade, a system of taxing emissions, or a combination of the two. Complementary policies are also needed to accelerate progress in key areas: developing more efficient, less carbon-intense energy sources in electricity and transportation; advancing full-scale development of new-generation nuclear power, carbon capture, and storage systems; and amending emissions-intensive energy infrastructure. Research and development of new technologies that could help reduce emissions more cost effectively than current options is also strongly recommended.
Global climate change is one of America's most significant long-term policy challenges. Human activity--especially the use of fossil fuels, industrial processes, livestock production, waste disposal, and land use change--is affecting global average temperatures, snow and ice cover, sea-level, ocean acidity, growing seasons and precipitation patterns, ecosystems, and human health. Climate-related decisions are being carried out by almost every agency of the federal government, as well as many state and local government leaders and agencies, businesses and individual citizens. Decision makers must contend with the availability and quality of information, the efficacy of proposed solutions, the unanticipated consequences resulting from decisions, the challenge of implementing chosen actions, and must consider how to sustain the action over time and respond to new information. Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change, a volume in the America's Climate Choices series, describes and assesses different activities, products, strategies, and tools for informing decision makers about climate change and helping them plan and execute effective, integrated responses. It discusses who is making decisions (on the local, state, and national levels), who should be providing information to make decisions, and how that information should be provided. It covers all levels of decision making, including international, state, and individual decision making. While most existing research has focused on the physical aspect of climate change, Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change employs theory and case study to describe the efforts undertaken so far, and to guide the development of future decision-making resources. Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change offers much-needed guidance to those creating public policy and assists in implementing that policy. The information presented in this book will be invaluable to the research community, especially social scientists studying climate change; practitioners of decision-making assistance, including advocacy organizations, non-profits, and government agencies; and college-level teachers and students.
Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for-and in many cases is already affecting-a broad range of human and natural systems. The compelling case for these conclusions is provided in Advancing the Science of Climate Change , part of a congressionally requested suite of studies known as America's Climate Choices. While noting that there is always more to learn and that the scientific process is never closed, the book shows that hypotheses about climate change are supported by multiple lines of evidence and have stood firm in the face of serious debate and careful evaluation of alternative explanations. As decision makers respond to these risks, the nation's scientific enterprise can contribute through research that improves understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change and also is useful to decision makers at the local, regional, national, and international levels. The book identifies decisions being made in 12 sectors, ranging from agriculture to transportation, to identify decisions being made in response to climate change. Advancing the Science of Climate Change calls for a single federal entity or program to coordinate a national, multidisciplinary research effort aimed at improving both understanding and responses to climate change. Seven cross-cutting research themes are identified to support this scientific enterprise. In addition, leaders of federal climate research should redouble efforts to deploy a comprehensive climate observing system, improve climate models and other analytical tools, invest in human capital, and improve linkages between research and decisions by forming partnerships with action-oriented programs.
One of the challenges in treating cancer is the disease's complexity and variation among patients. Cancer manifests differently in each patient, so treatments that are effective in one patient may not be effective in another. As cancer care becomes more personalized, subpopulations of individuals will be given preventive or therapeutic interventions based on their susceptibility to a particular disease or their predicted response to a specific treatment. However, before the use of personalized cancer care can reach its full potential, the health care system must resolve a number of technological, regulatory, and reimbursement issues. To explore these policy challenges, the National Cancer Policy Forum held the workshop Policy Issues in the Development of Personalized Medicine in Oncology in June 2009. Experts provided presentations on the current state of personalized medicine technology, as well as issues in the validation of, regulation of, and reimbursement for the predictive tests that underpin personalized medicine. Participants discussed the obstacles and possible solutions to further developing and using personalized medicine technologies. This document summarizes the workshop.
The deficiencies that many children experience from birth to school age--in health care, nutrition, emotional support, and intellectual stimulation, for example--play a major role in academic achievement gaps that persist for years, as well as in behavior and other problems. There are many intervention programs designed to strengthen families, provide disadvantaged children with the critical elements of healthy development, and prevent adverse experiences that can have lasting negative effects. In a climate of economic uncertainty and tight budgets, hard evidence not only that such interventions provide lasting benefits for children, their families, and society, but also that the benefits translate into savings that outweigh the costs is an extremely important asset in policy discussions. Convincing analysis of benefits and costs would provide a guide to the best ways to spend scarce resources for early childhood programs. Benefit-Cost Analysis for Early Childhood Interventions summarizes a workshop that was held to explore ways to strengthen benefit-cost analysis so it can be used to support effective policy decisions. This book describes the information and analysis that were presented at the workshop and the discussions that ensued.
The U.S. academic research fleet is an essential national resource, and it is likely that scientific demands on the fleet will increase. Oceanographers are embracing a host of remote technologies that can facilitate the collection of data, but will continue to require capable, adaptable research vessels for access to the sea for the foreseeable future. Maintaining U.S. leadership in ocean research will require investing in larger and more capable general purpose Global and Regional class ships; involving the scientific community in all phases of ship design and acquisition; and improving coordination between agencies that operate research fleets.
Approaches to Reducing the Use of Forced or Child Labor: Summary of a Workshop on Assessing Practiceby National Research Council of the National Academies
Globally, child labor and forced labor are widespread and complex problems. They are conceptually different phenomena, requiring different policy responses, though they may also overlap in practice. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) was designed to reduce the use of child and forced labor in the production of goods consumed in the United States. The Act was reauthorized in 2003, 2005, and 2008. In response to provisions of TVPA, the the Bureau of International Labor Affairs requested that the National Research Council organize a two-day workshop. The workshop, summarized in this volume, discusses methods for identifying and organizing a standard set of practices that will reduce the likelihood that persons will use forced labor or child labor to produce goods, with a focus on business and governmental practices.
An emerging body of research suggests that a set of broad "21st century skills"--such as adaptability, complex communication skills, and the ability to solve non-routine problems--are valuable across a wide range of jobs in the national economy. However, the role of K-12 education in helping students learn these skills is a subject of current debate. Some business and education groups have advocated infusing 21st century skills into the school curriculum, and several states have launched such efforts. Other observers argue that focusing on skills detracts attention from learning of important content knowledge. To explore these issues, the National Research Council conducted a workshop, summarized in this volume, on science education as a context for development of 21st century skills. Science is seen as a promising context because it is not only a body of accepted knowledge, but also involves processes that lead to this knowledge. Engaging students in scientific processes--including talk and argument, modeling and representation, and learning from investigations--builds science proficiency. At the same time, this engagement may develop 21st century skills. Exploring the Intersection of Science Education and 21st Century Skills addresses key questions about the overlap between 21st century skills and scientific content and knowledge; explores promising models or approaches for teaching these abilities; and reviews the evidence about the transferability of these skills to real workplace applications.
Now more than ever, biology has the potential to contribute practical solutions to many of the major challenges confronting the United States and the world. A New Biology for the 21st Century recommends that a "New Biology" approach--one that depends on greater integration within biology, and closer collaboration with physical, computational, and earth scientists, mathematicians and engineers--be used to find solutions to four key societal needs: sustainable food production, ecosystem restoration, optimized biofuel production, and improvement in human health. The approach calls for a coordinated effort to leverage resources across the federal, private, and academic sectors to help meet challenges and improve the return on life science research in general.
Modern transportation allows people, animals, and plants--and the pathogens they carry--to travel more easily than ever before. The ease and speed of travel, tourism, and international trade connect once-remote areas with one another, eliminating many of the geographic and cultural barriers that once limited the spread of disease. Because of our global interconnectedness through transportation, tourism and trade, infectious diseases emerge more frequently; spread greater distances; pass more easily between humans and animals; and evolve into new and more virulent strains. The IOM's Forum on Microbial Threats hosted the workshop "Globalization, Movement of Pathogens (and Their Hosts) and the Revised International Health Regulations" December 16-17, 2008 in order to explore issues related to infectious disease spread in a "borderless" world. Participants discussed the global emergence, establishment, and surveillance of infectious diseases; the complex relationship between travel, trade, tourism, and the spread of infectious diseases; national and international policies for mitigating disease movement locally and globally; and obstacles and opportunities for detecting and containing these potentially wide-reaching and devastating diseases. This document summarizes the workshop.
Ensuring that the food provided to children in schools is consistent with current dietary recommendations is an important national focus. Various laws and regulations govern the operation of school meal programs. In 1995, Nutrition Standards and Meal Requirements were put in place to ensure that all meals offered would be high in nutritional quality. School Meals reviews and provides recommendations to update the nutrition standard and the meal requirements for the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs. The recommendations reflect new developments in nutrition science, increase the availability of key food groups in the school meal programs, and allow these programs to better meet the nutritional needs of children, foster healthy eating habits, and safeguard children's health. School Meals sets standards for menu planning that focus on food groups, calories, saturated fat, and sodium and that incorporate Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Dietary Reference Intakes. This book will be used as a guide for school food authorities, food producers, policy leaders, state/local governments, and parents.
The United States has the highest per capita spending on health care of any industrialized nation but continually lags behind other nations in health care outcomes including life expectancy and infant mortality. National health expenditures are projected to exceed $2.5 trillion in 2009. Given healthcare's direct impact on the economy, there is a critical need to control health care spending. According to The Health Imperative: Lowering Costs and Improving Outcomes, the costs of health care have strained the federal budget, and negatively affected state governments, the private sector and individuals. Healthcare expenditures have restricted the ability of state and local governments to fund other priorities and have contributed to slowing growth in wages and jobs in the private sector. Moreover, the number of uninsured has risen from 45.7 million in 2007 to 46.3 million in 2008. The Health Imperative: Lowering Costs and Improving Outcomes identifies a number of factors driving expenditure growth including scientific uncertainty, perverse economic and practice incentives, system fragmentation, lack of patient involvement, and under-investment in population health. Experts discussed key levers for catalyzing transformation of the delivery system. A few included streamlined health insurance regulation, administrative simplification and clarification and quality and consistency in treatment. The book is an excellent guide for policymakers at all levels of government, as well as private sector healthcare workers.
The influenza pandemic caused by the 2009 H1N1 virus underscores the immediate and critical need to prepare for a public health emergency in which thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people suddenly seek and require medical care in communities across the United States. Guidance for Establishing Crisis Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations draws from a broad spectrum of expertise--including state and local public health, emergency medicine and response, primary care, nursing, palliative care, ethics, the law, behavioral health, and risk communication--to offer guidance toward establishing standards of care that should apply to disaster situations, both naturally occurring and manmade, under conditions in which resources are scarce. Guidance for Establishing Crisis Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations explores two case studies that illustrate the application of the guidance and principles laid out in the report. One scenario focuses on a gradual-onset pandemic flu. The other scenario focuses on an earthquake and the particular issues that would arise during a no-notice event. Outlining current concepts and offering guidance, this book will prove an asset to state and local public health officials, healthcare facilities, and professionals in the development of systematic and comprehensive policies and protocols for standards of care in disasters where resources are scarce. In addition, the extensive "operations" section of the book provides guidance to clinicians, healthcare institutions, and state and local public health officials for how those crisis standards of care should be implemented in a disaster situation.
Childhood Obesity Prevention in Texas summarizes the information gathered at a workshop held February 5-6, 2009, in Austin, Texas. At this workshop, committee members met with Texas lawmakers, public officials, and community leaders to exchange ideas and to view first-hand strategies that are being implemented effectively at the state and local levels to prevent and reverse childhood obesity. Texas leaders at the workshop expressed the strong belief that the state's economic vitality and security depend on the health of its population. Accordingly, the state is no longer simply describing the personal, community, and financial costs of its obesity crisis; it is taking proactive steps to address the problem through strategic initiatives. An overarching strategy is to address obesity by targeting the state's youth, in whom it may be possible to instill healthy behaviors and lifestyles to last a lifetime. A guiding principle of these efforts is that they should be evidence based, community specific, sustainable, cost-effective, and supported by effective partnerships. Moreover, the goal is for the responsibility to be broadly shared by individuals, families, communities, and the public and private sectors.
Intangible Assets: Measuring and Enhancing their Contribution to Corporate Value and Economic Growthby National Research Council of the National Academies
Intangible assets--which include computer software, research and development (R&D), intellectual property, workforce training, and spending to raise the efficiency and brand identification of firms--comprise a subset of services, which, in turn, accounts for three-quarters of all economic activity. Increasingly, intangibles are a principal driver of the competitiveness of U.S.-based firms, economic growth, and opportunities for U.S. workers. Yet, despite these developments, many intangible assets are not reported by companies, and, in the national economic accounts, they are treated as expenses rather than investments. On June 23, 2008, a workshop was held to examine measurement of intangibles and their role in the U.S. and global economies. The workshop, summarized in the present volume, included discussions of a range of policy-relevant topics, including: what intangibles are and how they work; the variety and scale of emerging markets in intangibles; and what the government's role should be in supporting markets and promoting investment in intangibles.
Global Sources of Local Pollution: An Assessment of Long-Range Transport of Key Air Pollutants to and from the United Statesby National Research Council of the National Academies
Recent advances in air pollution monitoring and modeling capabilities have made it possible to show that air pollution can be transported long distances and that adverse impacts of emitted pollutants cannot be confined to one country or even one continent. Pollutants from traffic, cooking stoves, and factories emitted half a world away can make the air we inhale today more hazardous for our health. The relative importance of this "imported" pollution is likely to increase, as emissions in developing countries grow, and air quality standards in industrial countries are tightened. Global Sources of Local Pollution examines the impact of the long-range transport of four key air pollutants (ozone, particulate matter, mercury, and persistent organic pollutants) on air quality and pollutant deposition in the United States. It also explores the environmental impacts of U.S. emissions on other parts of the world. The book recommends that the United States work with the international community to develop an integrated system for determining pollution sources and impacts and to design effective response strategies. This book will be useful to international, federal, state, and local policy makers responsible for understanding and managing air pollution and its impacts on human health and well-being.
U.S. Navy personnel who work on submarines are in an enclosed and isolated environment for days or weeks at a time when at sea. Unlike a typical work environment, they are potentially exposed to air contaminants 24 hours a day. To protect workers from potential adverse health effects due to those conditions, the U.S. Navy has established exposure guidance levels for a number of contaminants. The Navy asked a subcommittee of the National Research Council (NRC) to review, and develop when necessary, exposure guidance levels for specific contaminants. This volume, the third in a series, recommends 1-hour and 24-hour emergency exposure guidance levels (EEGLs) and 90-day continuous exposure guidance levels (CEGLs) for acetaldehyde, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen sulfide, and propylene glycol dinitrate.
Improving the Measurement of Late-Life Disability in Population Surveys: Beyond ADLs and IADLs - Summary of a Workshopby National Research Council of the National Academies
Improving the Measurement of Late-Life Disability in Population Surveys summarizes a workshop organized to draw upon recent advances to improve the measurement of physical and cognitive disability in population surveys of the elderly population. The book questions whether or not the measures of activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living used in many population surveys are sufficient as the primary survey-based indicators of late-life disability. If not, should they be refined or should they be supplemented by other measures of disability in surveys? If yes, in what ways should disability measures be changed or modified to produce population estimates of late-life disability and to monitor trends? The book also discusses what further research is needed to advance this effort.
Nurturing and Sustaining Effective Programs in Science Education for Grades K-8: Building a Village in Californiaby National Academy Of Sciences National Academy of Engineering of the National Academies
K-8 science education in California (as in many other parts of the country) is in a state of crisis. K-8 students in California spend too little time studying science, many of their teachers are not well prepared in the subject, and the support system for science instruction has deteriorated. A proliferation of overly detailed standards and poorly conceived assessments has trivialized science education. And all these problems are likely to intensify: an ongoing fiscal crisis in the state threatens further cutbacks, teacher and administrator layoffs, and less money for professional development. A convocation held on April 29-30, 2009, sought to confront the crisis in California science education, particularly at the kindergarten through eighth grade level. The convocation, summarized in this volume, brought together key stakeholders in the science education system to enable and facilitate an exploration of ways to more effectively, efficiently, and collectively support, sustain, and communicate across the state concerning promising research and practices in K-8 science education and how such programs can be nurtured by communities of stakeholders.
The St. Johns River is the longest river in Florida, containing extensive freshwater wetlands, numerous large lakes, a wide estuarine channel, and a correspondingly diverse array of native flora and fauna. Water resource management in the river's watershed is the responsibility of the St. Johns River Water Management District (the District). The District must provide water for the region's 4.4 million residents as well as numerous industrial and agricultural users, all while protecting natural systems within the river basin. With population growth in the watershed expected to surpass 7.2 million in 2030, the District, through its water resources planning process, has begun to identify alternative sources of water beyond its traditional groundwater sources, including the potential withdrawal of 262 million gallons per day from the St. Johns River. To more comprehensively evaluate the environmental impacts of withdrawing this water from the river, the District embarked on a two-year Water Supply Impact Study (WSIS), and requested the involvement of the National Research Council. The present volume reviews the Phase I work of the WSIS and provides recommendations for improving Phase II.
The symposia, held in April and July 2009, were part of an ongoing program to analyze and evaluate state and local incentives to attract manufacturing. Representatives of producers of photovoltaics, congressional staff, academics, industry analysts, and representatives from relevant government agencies discussed opportunities and challenges facing photovoltaic manufacturing in the US, national and international consortia, the economics of photovoltaics in the US, flex display as the next generation, state and regional innovation initiatives, the Department of Energy advancing solar technologies, contributions from other federal agencies, intermediating institutions, and building a solar photovoltaic roadmap. The summary is not indexed. Annotation Â©2012 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Biometric recognition--the automated recognition of individuals based on their behavioral and biological characteristic--is promoted as a way to help identify terrorists, provide better control of access to physical facilities and financial accounts, and increase the efficiency of access to services and their utilization. Biometric recognition has been applied to identification of criminals, patient tracking in medical informatics, and the personalization of social services, among other things. In spite of substantial effort, however, there remain unresolved questions about the effectiveness and management of systems for biometric recognition, as well as the appropriateness and societal impact of their use. Moreover, the general public has been exposed to biometrics largely as high-technology gadgets in spy thrillers or as fear-instilling instruments of state or corporate surveillance in speculative fiction. Now, as biometric technologies appear poised for broader use, increased concerns about national security and the tracking of individuals as they cross borders have caused passports, visas, and border-crossing records to be linked to biometric data. A focus on fighting insurgencies and terrorism has led to the military deployment of biometric tools to enable recognition of individuals as friend or foe. Commercially, finger-imaging sensors, whose cost and physical size have been reduced, now appear on many laptop personal computers, handheld devices, mobile phones, and other consumer devices. Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities addresses the issues surrounding broader implementation of this technology, making two main points: first, biometric recognition systems are incredibly complex, and need to be addressed as such. Second, biometric recognition is an inherently probabilistic endeavor. Consequently, even when the technology and the system in which it is embedded are behaving as designed, there is inevitable uncertainty and risk of error. This book elaborates on these themes in detail to provide policy makers, developers, and researchers a comprehensive assessment of biometric recognition that examines current capabilities, future possibilities, and the role of government in technology and system development.
The U.S. Capitol Complex in Washington, D.C., comprises some of the most historic and symbolic buildings in the nation. The steam and chilled water required to heat and cool these buildings and related equipment is generated and distributed by the Capitol Power Plant (CPP) district energy system. Portions of the CPP system are now 50 to 100 years old and require renewal so that reliable utility services can be provided to the U.S. Capitol Complex for the foreseeable future. Evaluation of Future Strategic and Energy Efficient Options for the U.S. Capitol Power Plant provides comments on an interim set of publicly available consultant-generated options for the delivery of utility services to the U.S. Capitol Complex. The report provides recommendations to bring the interim options to completion, including suggestions for additional analyses, so that the CPP can be best positioned to meet the future strategic and energy efficiency requirements of the U.S. Capitol Complex.
Examination of the U.S. Air Force's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and its Strategy to Meet Those Needsby National Research Council of the National Academies
The Air Force requires technical skills and expertise across the entire range of activities and processes associated with the development, fielding, and employment of air, space, and cyber operational capabilities. The growing complexity of both traditional and emerging missions is placing new demands on education, training, career development, system acquisition, platform sustainment, and development of operational systems. While in the past the Air Force's technologically intensive mission has been highly attractive to individuals educated in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, force reductions, ongoing military operations, and budget pressures are creating new challenges for attracting and managing personnel with the needed technical skills. Assessments of recent development and acquisition process failures have identified a loss of technical competence within the Air Force (that is, in house or organic competence, as opposed to contractor support) as an underlying problem. These challenges come at a time of increased competition for technical graduates who are U.S. citizens, an aging industry and government workforce, and consolidations of the industrial base that supports military systems. In response to a request from the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering, the National Research Council conducted five fact-finding meetings at which senior Air Force commanders in the science and engineering, acquisition, test, operations, and logistics domains provided assessments of the adequacy of the current workforce in terms of quality and quantity.
Construction productivity--how well, how quickly, and at what cost buildings and infrastructure can be constructed--directly affects prices for homes and consumer goods and the robustness of the national economy. Industry analysts differ on whether construction industry productivity is improving or declining. Still, advances in available and emerging technologies offer significant opportunities to improve construction efficiency substantially in the 21st century and to help meet other national challenges, such as environmental sustainability. Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry identifies five interrelated activities that could significantly improve the quality, timeliness, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability of construction projects. These activities include widespread deployment and use of interoperable technology applications; improved job-site efficiency through more effective interfacing of people, processes, materials, equipment, and information; greater use of prefabrication, preassembly, modularization, and off-site fabrication techniques and processes; innovative, widespread use of demonstration installations; and effective performance measurement to drive efficiency and support innovation. The book recommends that the National Institute of Standards and Technology work with industry leaders to develop a collaborative strategy to fully implement and deploy the five activities
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