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NLS BARD: Frequently Asked Questions

The BARD website

How do I change my password?

Under the heading My BARD, click the Account settings link. Click the designated link to change your password.

On this page, you can enter a new password. You will need to enter it twice to confirm it. If the two entries don’t match exactly, the new password won’t be accepted.

Your password must contain:

  • at least eight characters
  • at least one letter
  • at least one number

In addition, your new password:

  • cannot be any of your 11 previous passwords
  • cannot be your first or last name
  • cannot have repeated characters
  • cannot contain any special characters

Once your new password is accepted, you will receive an email message confirming that you have changed your password.

Note that you cannot change your password more than once in a 24-hour period.

What do I do if I lose my password?

To recover a lost or forgotten password yourself, direct your web browser to the reset your lost password page and fill out the form. You will be prompted to answer a question that you set during your initial login. You will receive an email message with a new, temporary password. That temporary password will be valid for two weeks.

If you have not previously set a secret question and answer, you will need to email your talking book library and ask them to reset your password. You will receive an email message with a temporary password. If you don’t have your library’s email address, our Find Your Library tool can help.

What do I do if I am locked out of my account after ten attempts to log in?

If you receive the message that you have exceeded the maximum number of invalid login attempts, you must wait 15 minutes before trying again. If you do not know your password, please follow the instructions in the FAQ above for resetting your password.

Can I change my user ID?  Can I change my email address?

Your user ID is your email address. To change it, go to the Account Settings link under the heading My BARD. Click the appropriate link to change your email address.

On this page you can enter a new email address. You will need to enter it twice to make sure you have entered it correctly. If the two entries don’t match exactly, the new address won’t be accepted.

Your new email address becomes your user ID. A new temporary password will be sent to this address, so make sure you use an email address to which you have immediate access.

Books, musical scores, magazines, and other materials

How many books are available for download?

As of August 2021, there were more than 116,000 books available. The number increases daily.

What books are being added?

NLS adds every new digital book (braille and audio) it produces. Additionally, NLS adds digital books submitted by network libraries, some commercial audiobook producers, and foreign-language books acquired through the Marrakesh Treaty.

When are books added?

NLS-produced books are added to the downloadable collection as soon as they meet our rigorous quality checks. Books submitted by other agencies are added soon after they are submitted.

In what languages are books available on BARD?

Books are available on BARD in the following languages:

English
Arabic
Chinese
Dutch
French
German
Greek
Hindi
Hungarian
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Latvian
Lithuanian
Nepali
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Russian
Serbo-Croatian
Spanish
Swahili
Ukrainian
Vietnamese

Why are some books from a series missing?  Why are some magazine issues missing?

While NLS always makes an effort to offer the complete book series, some books in a series are not available in a digital form. NLS will convert these missing books from analog recordings when possible.

NLS-produced magazine issues must meet our strict quality-control standards. In some cases, individual issues can be held up by production problems that cause them not to meet these standards. NLS works with its magazine producers to solve problems as quickly as possible so the magazine issue can be posted to the website.

What do I do if I find a problem in a book or magazine?

Please report the problem—including the title, author, book prefix, and book number—to [email protected] .  In the case of digital talking books, your player can tell you the time elapsed as of your current reading position. If possible, please include this information in your message. Listing the book number and its prefix in your message’s subject line is also helpful.

In cases where the book is produced by a library in the NLS network, contact the producing library to report quality control issues.

What is available here that I can’t get from my NLS library?

All NLS-produced materials are available at your library on another medium.

The downloadable collection includes materials produced by commercial audiobook publishers and network libraries that might not be available at your NLS library. However, your library might be able to get a copy of some materials it does not have for you through interlibrary loan. Contact your library for more information.

Special collection materials, such as music and foreign-language books, also may not be available at your NLS library. Contact the NLS Music Section at [email protected]  to request special format music materials. Foreign-language materials can be obtained by your NLS library through interlibrary loan.

What is not available here that I can get from my NLS library?

Your NLS library has access to the entire NLS collection, which is far more extensive than the downloadable collection on BARD. The absence of a title on BARD does not mean the item is not available at all. You should check your library’s catalog or the NLS catalog.

Can you add a specific title, please?

All books currently selected by NLS are produced in digital format. Check the NLS catalog: if a book is listed as IN PROCESS, it will appear on the BARD site when production and quality checks have been completed.

Please contact your network library if you think you have discovered a title missing from a series, a duplication, or some other kind of inconsistency. The information will be forwarded to appropriate NLS staff for action.

BARD is not a books-on-request service, but patrons are encouraged to bring their reading needs to the attention of NLS by contacting their regional or subregional library. The librarians will then query NLS and report back to the patron.

How long are magazine issues kept on the site?

At this time, NLS plans to keep magazine issues available indefinitely.

Finding books

How do I find a book to read?

The easiest way to find a book is to use the “Search the collection” field on the BARD main page. Enter a word or two that relates to the title, author, or subject you are interested in. You will receive more targeted results if you put an exact phrase from the title or the exact title in quotes. Use the language drop-down box to find books in a particular language. Or, you can browse the entire NLS catalog by author, title, or subject using the links provided.

What is the quickest way to find a specific book?

Use the “Search the collection” field, entering as many words of the title as you can. All the words you enter must appear in the title, so do not use words unless you are certain they are part of the book’s title. If you are looking for a book in a particular language, select that language from the drop-down box before selecting the Go button.

You can also search for a specific author by putting the author’s name in quotation marks. Include the author’s last name, a comma, a space, and the first name, such as: “Shakespeare, William.”

How do I search by narrator?

Enter the narrator’s name, first name first, into the “Search the collection” box.

How do I search by book number?

Enter the book number into the “Search the collection” box. When looking for a book in a particular format, i.e. braille or audio, enter the prefix and the book number into the “Search the collection” box.

Why can’t I search by a combination of factors?

NLS hopes to add this capacity in the near future.

Downloading books

I just downloaded a book to my computer, but now I can’t find it. Where did my download go?

Each web browser handles downloads slightly differently. Unless you have directed the browser to save your downloaded files elsewhere, books will be downloaded to your Downloads folder by default.

In most cases, unless you set a default location for downloads, you will be asked with each download where you would like to save it.
Microsoft Internet Explorer will automatically default to the place you specified during your previous download.

If you know how to search your computer for files and folders you can always search “DB-” (without quotes) to locate audiobooks and “BR-” (without quotes) to locate braille books.

I want to download a volume of a braille book. How do I?

Digital braille volumes are available by accessing the collection through the online catalog.

Accessing braille volumes through the online catalog:

To access digital braille volumes through the online catalog, users should follow these steps:

  1. Go to the NLS website.
  2. Click the “Search the Catalog” link at the top of the page.
  3. Use the “quick search” facility. Type the words “web braille” (no quotes and a space between the two words) in the Keyword box. Note that the star or asterisk (*) may not be used as a wild card when using the keyword edit field to search the main catalog. Interactive links to available downloadable braille volumes are within each record.
  4. After activating a link to the desired downloadable volume (which will always start with “http://hdl.loc.gov”) users are automatically directed to BARD. When prompted, users should enter their BARD log-in ID and password to download their selection. Note that after users log in, they may be prompted to change their password and/or review and agree to the pledge.

Can I put more than one audiobook on a cartridge? How?

This depends on how your player handles multiple books. If you are using a commercial player, please see your player’s instructions for the answer to this question.

If you are using the NLS player, the bookshelf mode and the sequential play feature of the player allow you to have multiple books on a cartridge.

To use the sequential play feature, press the play/stop button to go to the next title when the player announces “End of book.”

To enter bookshelf mode on your NLS player, hold down the “play” button until you hear the player go into bookshelf mode. Release the play button. Now you can use the arrows at each end of the play button to move to the books that are available. When you hear the title you wish to read, simply hit the play button.

If you have further questions about using your NLS player to play multiple books, please contact the library that loaned the player to you. Note: All files must be in the proper format (digital audio) to be read with the NLS players; the players will not recognize .brf (braille) files.

How do I know if the audiobook I want will fit on my cartridge?

The website lists books with their reading times. These translate to file size at a rate of approximately 11 megabytes per hour. A one gigabyte cartridge will hold just under 96 hours and a two gigabyte cartridge will hold about 192 hours.

How do I move an audiobook to my player?

Unzip the file you downloaded to your computer, then copy the unzipped files to your NLS cartridge or thumb drive. There are several popular software packages that handle this function. However, this function is built into all versions of Windows and Mac OS.

When using a Windows-based computer, move to the unzipped files and copy the files to the clipboard by holding down the Control key and pressing the letter C. Navigate to your thumb drive, cartridge, or commercial SD card and paste the folder by holding the Control key and typing the letter V. On a Mac, use the Command key instead of Control. Note that certain commercial players require NLS books and magazines to be in sub-directories in order for them to play.

Reading books

My player says I am not authorized to read this book.  What does that mean?

This can be caused by three things:

  1. If you have purchased your own digital talking-book player, you have not completed the steps needed to enable your player to use NLS materials. Soon after receiving your BARD user ID and password from NLS, you should have received an email from your player’s manufacturer that included one or more files needed to authorize your player, along with instructions on how to do so. If you did not receive these, please contact your player’s manufacturer. If this is your second or later device, or if you indicated a different device type than when you first applied for a download account, go to the BARD home page and simply follow the links called “update account settings” and “add a purchase player,” starting at the home page.
  2. You have not completely transferred your digital talking book to your cartridge. This is usually the result of a copy operation that failed, or an incomplete download from BARD.
  3. You have not transferred your digital talking book into the necessary directory on your commercial player’s memory card. Please refer to your player’s user manual for information on where to place books on the memory card.

Can I listen to downloaded audiobooks on my computer?

No.

How do I read digital braille books?

There are a variety of devices that users can use to read digital braille materials. Ebraille files may be read online or may be downloaded for offline reading or embossing with a braille display, braille-aware notetaker, or braille embosser. Zipped files must always be unzipped before being read.

The mailing list: BARD-Support

How do I subscribe to this mailing list?

To subscribe to the NLS BARD support list, open the subscription page.

Enter your email address and click the Submit button. This will bring you to a confirmation page where you’ll be required to confirm your email address and choose your delivery preferences. Finally, click the Submit button to subscribe to the list.

How do I unsubscribe from the mailing list?

To unsubscribe, click the Subscriber preferences link at the bottom of the most recent message from BARD Support. Enter your email address and click the Submit button. On the subsequent web page, check the box associated with the topic you wish to unsubscribe from, and then click the Submit button.

BARD Mobile for iOS devices

Who can use the NLS BARD Mobile application?

The NLS BARD Mobile application is free to download from the online App Store, but only eligible NLS patrons can use it. You must have a previously established Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) account (user name and password) to download and read materials.

What books and magazines are available for download using the application?

Anything that is available on BARD is available for download. However, materials must be downloaded from either your personal BARD Wish List or the Recently Added Books and Magazines list.

What type of device do I need to use the application?

The BARD Mobile application for iOS can be used with any device that runs iOS 11 or later.

How do I get the iOS application on my device?

From the device you wish to install BARD Mobile on, go to the App store app and enter the words “bard mobile” in the search text field. Once you find the app, click the Install button. The NLS BARD Mobile application will install on your device.

Do I need to register my device on BARD?

No. The device will register itself the first time you log into BARD Mobile using your BARD user name and password.

I lost my device. What do I do?

    1. Immediately change your BARD password

If you lose your device, the first thing you should do is change your BARD password using a web browser. This will prevent anyone using the mobile app on the lost phone from logging in and downloading any further books using your account. You will need to re-log into BARD using your new password from any other mobile device.

    1. Report your lost device to your library

Report your lost device to your library. Make sure to include your BARD login ID, the type of device it was, and the date you started using it (if you can remember). The library will use this information to delete the device from your account. You may also contact [email protected] if you are unable to contact your library.

How do I apply for BARD using my device?

Open a web browser from your device and go to nlsbard.loc.gov. Click the link to the BARD application instructions. From the BARD application instructions page click Link to BARD application for individuals. You will be presented with a drop-down list of network libraries. Choose your library from the list and then click the Submit button.

Fill in all of the information in the application. Note that the field labeled “Please click the type of player you will be using” is for users of commercial talking-book players and/or braille notetakers. You do not need to click anything from this list. Submit your application.

Once your application is processed by your network library, you will be emailed a temporary password. You must log  into BARD using a web browser and change your password before logging into BARD Mobile.

I don’t know how to use my iOS device. Where can I get some help?

There are many resources available for using iOS devices. Here is a free resource  External to get you started.

There are also several resources available for a fee, including these:

What’s New in iOS 13: A Guide for Blind Users  External, by Anna Dresner, $18-$20.50
iPhone: The Missing Manual, 13th Edition  External, by David Pogue, $11.99

Why does downloading stop when I leave the app?

Applications are limited by iOS in what they can do while in the background. BARD Mobile can continue playing an audiobook, but not downloading.

How do I return to a long list of items?

In some long lists of items, such as those in Recently Added Titles, there are More info buttons. If you click one of these buttons, a details screen will appear displaying more information about the book. If you then press the back button in the upper left corner of the screen, you will be returned to the long list. At this point, the VoiceOver focus is on the “get books, back” button. If you flick right, go past the heading, and enter the list from the top of the screen, the display will jump to the top and you will be on the first item of the list. If instead you don’t flick but touch the very center of the screen, the focus will go to the point (or very near the point) from which you left the list.

I need help using VoiceOver. Where can I find it?

You can find several VoiceOver tutorials here  External.

Where can I get help using the BARD Mobile application?

The BARD Mobile user guide is available from the bookshelf in the app, under Help. It is also available in an HTML version online.

Also, NLS produced a series of videos covering how to use BARD Mobile. Access the videos online  External.

Contact your local braille and talking-book library for additional assistance.

BARD Mobile for Android devices

Who can use the NLS BARD Mobile application?

The NLS BARD Mobile application is free to download from the Google Play Store and Amazon Appstore (for Kindle Fire devices), but only eligible NLS patrons can use it. You must have a previously established Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) account (user name and password) to download and read materials.

What books and magazines are available for download using the application?

All audiobooks on BARD are available for download. However, materials must be downloaded from either your personal BARD Wish List or the Recently Added Books and Magazines list.

What type of device do I need to use the application?

The BARD Mobile application for Android works best on devices that run Android OS 7.0 or later. The app will also work on second-generation Kindle Fire devices.

How do I get the Android application on my device?

From the device you wish to install BARD Mobile on, go to the Google Play Store or the Amazon Appstore (for Kindle Fire devices) and enter the words “bard mobile” in the search text field. Once you find the app, follow the prompts to install the app on your device.

Do I need to register my device on BARD?

No. The device will register itself the first time you log into BARD Mobile using your BARD user name and password.

I lost my device. What do I do?

    1. Immediately change your BARD password

If you lose your device, the first thing you should do is change your BARD password using a web browser. This will prevent anyone using the mobile app on the lost phone from logging in and downloading any further books using your account. You will need to re-log into BARD using your new password from any other mobile device.

    1. Report your lost device to your library

Report your lost device to your library. Make sure to include your BARD login ID, the type of device it was, and the date you started using it (if you can remember). The library will use this information to delete the device from your account. You may also contact [email protected] if you are unable to contact your library.

How do I apply for BARD using my device?

Open a web browser from your device and go to nlsbard.loc.gov. Click the link to the BARD application instructions. From the BARD application instructions page click Link to BARD application for individuals. You will be presented with a drop-down list of network libraries. Choose your library from the list and then click the Submit button.

Fill in all of the information in the application. Note that the field labeled “Please click the type of player you will be using” is for users of commercial talking-book players and/or braille notetakers. You do not need to click anything from this list. Submit your application.

Once your application is processed by your network library, you will be emailed a temporary password. You must log  into BARD using a web browser and change your password before logging into BARD Mobile.

I need help using TalkBack. Where can I find it?

Because there are many different Android devices running different versions of the Android operating system it is difficult to make recommendations that will cover all the bases. NLS recommends the following resources.

Where can I get help using the BARD Mobile application?

The BARD Mobile user guide is available from the bookshelf in the app, under Help. It is also available in an HTML version online.

Also, NLS produced a series of videos covering how to use BARD Mobile. Access the videos online  External.

Contact your local braille and talking-book library for additional assistance.

BARD Express

What is BARD Express?

BARD Express is a free downloadable software application designed to simplify searching for, downloading, and transferring audio titles from the BARD website to a cartridge or external USB flash drive for playback in a digital player.

Who can use BARD Express?

BARD Express is available for use by eligible NLS patrons. You must have an established BARD account, with a user name and password, to use BARD Express.

What types of books and magazines are available for download?

BARD Express enables users to download audio and braille materials that are available on BARD.

What type of computer do I need to run BARD Express?

BARD Express is a Windows-based application that runs on personal computers running Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. BARD Express does not run on Apple computers.

Which screen readers work with BARD Express?

NVDA and JAWS for Windows work with BARD Express.

Where do I get BARD Express?

You can download BARD Express from the link on the BARD main page under the heading Additional Links.

How do I access BARD with BARD Express

Use your BARD user name and password to log in to BARD Express.

If you don’t have a BARD account, contact your regional library, or apply for one here: BARD Individual Application. From this page choose your library from the drop-down list of network libraries and click the Submit button. Fill in all of the information in the application.

Note that the field labeled “Please click the type of player you will be using” is for users of commercial talking-book players and/or braille notetakers. You do not need to click anything from this list. Submit your application.

Once your application is processed by your network library, you will be emailed a temporary password. You must log  into BARD using a web browser and change your password before logging into BARD Express.

Where can I get some help using BARD Express?

BARD Express comes with a comprehensive Help system. While running the program, press the F1 key to access the Help system.

full BARD Express user guide is available here.

NLS has also produced a set of tutorial videos, called the BARD Express How-To Series, that describe how to use the functions and features of BARD Express. Click the link below to access the video of your choice.

Browsing the BARD Collection
Transferring Materials to a Cartridge
Browsing the Recently Added and Most Popular Lists
Searching the BARD Collection
Using Your Wish List
Setting and Changing Preferences
Managing Devices
Tips and Tricks

Access the whole series here: BARD Express How-To Series For additional assistance or support contact your local braille and talking-book library.

What if I forget my BARD password?

Option 1: Open the BARD login page using your computer at: https://nlsbard.loc.gov and choose the link “Reset your BARD password here.” Fill out the form to create a new password.

Option 2: Contact your local braille and talking-book library and tell them you’d like assistance resetting your BARD password.

Option 3: Send an email to [email protected]  to request assistance resetting your BARD password. After using the temporary password you are provided, reestablish a permanent password on the BARD website, then log in to BARD Express with your user name and new password.

Note that BARD Express will remember your login credentials after the first time you log in. If you change your username (email address) or password using the BARD web interface you will need to reset your credentials in BARD Express, or simply log in to BARD Express using your new

How can I change my user ID/email address?

Your user ID is your email address. To change it, log in to your BARD account on the BARD website. Choose the link “Update Account Settings,” and then the link “Change Your Email Address.” On this page you can enter a new email address. You will need to enter it twice to make sure you have entered it correctly. If the two entries don’t match exactly, the new address won’t be accepted.
Your new email address becomes your user ID. A new temporary password will be sent to this address, so make sure you use an email address to which you have immediate access.

Any time you update the email address associated with your BARD account, BARD will require you to change your password.

Note that BARD Express will remember your login credentials after the first time you log in. If you change your username (email address) or password using the BARD web interface you will need to reset your credentials in BARD Express, or simply log in to BARD Express using your new username or password.

I just downloaded a title using BARD Express, where did it go?

All materials you download using BARD Express will be stored on your BARD Express Bookshelf, which is accessed using the Bookshelf button from the main menu.

How do I move an audiobook from the computer to a cartridge for playback in my digital talking-book player?

After choosing a title from the BARD Express bookshelf, use the Copy To Cartridge button to begin the process of moving your book or magazine to an external storage device connected to your computer, such as an NLS cartridge or USB flash drive. Highlight the drive to which you want to move the book or magazine, and click the Okay button. BARD Express will unzip the file that was downloaded from BARD and copy it to the storage device. Disconnect the device from your computer and enjoy your book!

For support, please email [email protected] .

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled home page

BARD main page

last updated: 8/9/21

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