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Welcome to BARD

Welcome to the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service from The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled.

Participation

Eligible users may download and read any book, magazine, or other material found on the BARD website.

You may not share any materials downloaded from this site. It is also strictly forbidden to share your user ID and password, except by NLS patrons who rely on trusted personal assistants to access BARD, in which case those users are responsible for ensuring their assistants’ compliance with the BARD user agreement.Your access to BARD can be terminated if you are found in violation of the agreement.

You may be tempted to download as many items as possible right at the start.  There is no need to do that – the materials are not going away. Please download books and other items as you need them.

Using the BARD website

Logging in

The address for the BARD website is https://nlsbard.loc.gov/nlsbardprod/login/NLS.  The site has been tested with Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox web browsers. If you are using a different browser and experience difficulties, please notify NLS. The site has also been tested with some accessibility equipment. If you are using accessibility equipment other than JAWS or NVDA and experience difficulty with the BARD site, please notify NLS.

Once at the website, you will be asked for your user ID and password.  Your user ID is your email address.  Your user ID and password are case-sensitive.

The first time you log in you will be required to choose a new password.  You will also be given the opportunity to set a question and secret answer that can be used later to recover a lost or forgotten password.

To recover a lost or forgotten password yourself, direct your web browser to https://nlsbard.loc.gov/nlsbardprod/recoverpwd and fill in the form. You will receive an email message with a password. BARD will prompt you to choose a new password when you first log in. The password that was emailed to you will be valid for one week.

If you have not set a question and secret answer, you will need to send an email to [email protected] asking for your password to be reset. You will receive an email message with a new password. BARD will prompt you to choose a new password when you first log in. The password that was emailed to you will be valid for one week.

Do not share your user ID and password with anybody, except a trusted personal assistant.

Pledge information

When you first enter your user ID and password, a BARD user pledge will appear. You must click “I agree” in order to use the service. Should you inadvertently click: “I do not agree” you will be given the opportunity to reconsider and the pledge will appear again.

The BARD user pledge will appear any time you change your user ID or password, and will also appear periodically to remind users of BARD practices and copyright laws.

The BARD main page

Once you have successfully logged in, you will be presented with the BARD main page, which is also its main menu. This page contains links to lists of books, magazines, and other materials and links to some other helpful pages.

Following the BARD main page’s heading there are five links to access materials available for download.

Recently added books and magazines: This link lists books and magazines by the date which they were added to the collection, with newer additions appearing at the top. Braille and audio items are listed separately with audio preceding braille. Once you are familiar with the list of available books, magazines, and other materials, you will most likely use this link to see what items were added since you last browsed the site.

Most popular books: The next link lists the most popular audiobooks and most popular braille books during the last 30 days.

Search the collection: The next item on the main page is an entry field labeled “Search the collection.”  This is the best way to find a specific book in the collection. If you wish to limit your search to only books produced by or specially acquired by NLS click the check box labeled “Display only materials produced by or specially acquired by the National Library for the Blind and Print Disabled. Entering a search term in the search the collection field and then selecting the “Go” button that follows it will search for the term in the author, narrator, subject, annotation, and NLS number of all books. You will be presented with a list of these results. Note that putting your search term in quotes (“”) will limit the search to that exact phrase. Also note that author’s names are listed last name, comma, first name and audiobook narrator names are listed first name then last name.

  • To search by author or narrator, type the last name or full name in the search box
  • To search by title, type the entire or partial title into the search box
  • To search by subject, type the subject into the search box
  • To search by annotation, type one or more keywords into the search box
  • To search by item number, type the five-digit NLS item number into the search box (Note that some materials have the same item number but a different prefix, as they are available in multiple formats from different producers. Adding the prefix will limit the results.)

Browsing options: Following the “Search the collection” field are three drop-down lists (sometimes called “combo boxes”) that allow you to browse through lists of books in the collection. Note that the check box applies to the browse features to.

The “Browse by author’s last name” and “Browse by title” options allow you to browse through the listings ordered by the first letter of the author’s last name or through the listings ordered by the first letter of the title (the first word in a title after the article – “the,” “a,” and “an” – will be the word representing the letter you have selected).  Choose a letter from the drop-down list and then click the “Go” button.

The “Browse by subject” option lists all available books grouped by a subject.  To browse the items in a particular subject, choose the subject from the list and then click the “Go” button that follows the list.

Note that these lists do not work in combination, so you cannot search for, say, titles beginning with N on the subject of “The West.”

Foreign-Language Collection: This link will take you to the BARD foreign-language collection main page, where there is a description of the foreign-language materials followed by links to the available titles.

Music Collection: This link will take you to the BARD music collection main page, where there is a description of the music materials available (books and scores). The music collection BARD main page also has search and browse functions identical to those on the BARD main page, but that return results from the music collection only. Entering a term in the field labeled “Search the music collection” and then selecting the “Go” button will search for the term in author, narrator, subject, annotation, and item number of all of the materials in the music collection available on BARD. You will be presented with a list of these results.

  • To search by author or narrator, type the last name or full name in the search box
  • To search by title, type the entire or partial title into the search box
  • To search by subject, type the subject into the search box
  • To search by annotation, type one or more keywords into the search box
  • To search by item number, type the five-digit NLS number into the search box (Note that some materials have the same item number but a different prefix, as they are available in multiple formats from different producers. Adding the prefix will limit the results.)

Browse features identical to those on the main BARD page follow the search box. The “Browse by author’s last name” and “Browse by title” options allow you to browse through the listings in the music collection by the first letter of the author’s last name or through the listings in the music collection by the first letter of the title (the first word in a title after the article—“the,” “a,” and “an”—will be the word representing the letter you have selected). Choose a letter from the drop-down list and then click the “Go” button.

The “Browse by subject” option lists all available materials in the music collection by subject. Choose the subject from the list and then click the “Go” button.

Note that these lists do not work in combination, so you cannot search for, say, titles beginning with N on the subject of “Piano.”

Magazines: The “Most recent issue” option connects to a list of the most recent issues of each available magazine. The “Magazines by title” option is followed by a drop-down list of all of the available magazines.  Selecting one of these and then the “Go” button that follows it will take you to a list of the available issues for that magazine. Note that each magazine in the drop-down list is followed by its format (braille or audio) in parenthesis.

Additional links
Following the magazine drop-down list are five additional links: “My wish list,” “My previous downloads,” “Update account settings,” “Help,” and “Latest DTBM firmware and installation instructions.”

My BARD

Following the magazine drop-down list are four additional links under the heading My BARD: Wish list, Previous downloads, Subscriptions, and Account settings.

Wish List:
This link lists items you have selected for future reading. The list is comingled by format and can be presented in chronological or reverse chronological order by date. Items can be added to your wish list by selecting the link “Add to wish list” on the item’s details page. In most cases, each entry on your wish list displays the title, author, subject, narrator (audiobooks), number of volumes (braille books), a production tagline, and a description (if available). This information is followed by two links: one to download the item and one to remove the item from your wish list. Once an item is downloaded from your wish list it will no longer appear on your list.

Previous Downloads:
This link lists all of the items you have previously downloaded beginning with the most recent.

Subscriptions:
This link takes you to your subscription page. The subscription page lists the magazine and book series you have subscribed to. Click the Unsubscribe link next to titles you wish to unsubscribe from. Note that subscribing to a magazine or book series will cause BARD to automatically place new editions or books in that series on your wish list.

Account settings

Changing your password

Use the “account settings” link under the heading My BARD on the BARD main page. Click “Change your password.” A form will display into which you may enter a new password. You will need to enter it twice to confirm it. The two entries must match exactly.

Your new password should be at least eight characters in length and contain at least one letter and at least one number. It should have no immediately repeated characters. Your password cannot be any of your previous 11 passwords, and cannot be your first or last name.

Once your new password is accepted, you will receive an email message confirming that you have changed your password. Note that you may only change your password once in a 24-hour time period.

Changing your email address

Use the “account settings” link under the heading MY BARD on the BARD main page. Click “Change your email address.”

A form will be displayed into which you can enter a new email address.  You must enter it twice to confirm it. The two entries must match exactly.

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.

BARD will accept only one email address per patron. You must log in again with your temporary password to create a permanent password.

Enable a purchased player (not for digital talking-book players borrowed from your library)

If you have purchased a digital talking-book player, you must enable it for use with BARD downloadable digital talking books and NLS audiobooks. Use the “account settings” link under the heading My BARD on the BARD main page.  Click “Add a new player” and then fill out the form on the resulting page. Notifications will be sent to your player’s manufacturer to authorize the manufacturer to enable your player for use with NLS audio materials.

Additional settings

Language Settings
On the account settings page you have the option to set the language of the BARD interface to Spanish. Choose Español from the drop-down box labeled Language settings and then click the Update button.

Color Settings
Following the language setting, you will find the color settings. Click Black/White from the drop-down list labeled Color settings to change the BARD interface text color to black and white and then click the Update button.

Display results
Following the color settings you will have the option to modify your display results. The default setting is to display both braille and audiobooks. Click Audio Only or Braille Only from the drop-down box labeled Display results and then click the Update button to change your display results.

Display theme
Following the display results setting you will have the option to modify your display theme. Click Theme 1: 1.5XMagnification or Theme 2: 2.0XMagnification from the drop-down box labeled Display theme and then click the Update button to change your display theme.

On the account settings page you have the option to set the number of books per page displayed as a result of searches. Choose 25, 50, 100, or 250 from the drop-down box labeled Maximum number of books to be displayed. Then click the Update button.

On the account settings page you also have the option to set BARD to remove magazine issues that have been on your wish list for more than one year and to alert you by email when new subscription items are available and added to your wish list.

Also on the account settings page you have the option to set a question and secret answer for password maintenance.

Additional links

Following the account settings link are nine links under the heading additional links: “BARD Express,” “BARD Mobile for iOS,” “BARD Mobile for Android,” “BARD Mobile for Kindle,” “NLS Catalog Quick Search,” “Braille Book Review,” “Talking Book Topics,” “Latest DTBM firmware and installation instructions,” and “Help.”

BARD Express

The BARD Express link provides information and download access to the windows-based software that simplifies searching for, downloading, managing, and transferring BARD audio materials to cartridges.

BARD Mobile for iOS

The BARD Mobile for iOS link provides information and download access to the BARD Mobile application for iOS devices.

BARD Mobile for Android

The BARD Mobile for Android link provides information and download access to the BARD Mobile application for Android devices.

BARD Mobile for Kindle

The BARD Mobile for Kindle link provides information and download access to the BARD Mobile application for Kindle devices.

NLS Catalog Quick Search

The NLS Catalog Quick Search link will take you to the interface where you can search the braille and audio book collection.

Braille Book Review

The Braille Book Review link will take you to HTML versions of the publication Braille Book Review.

Talking Book Topics

The Talking Book Topics link will take you to HTML versions of the publication Talking Book Topics.

Latest DTBM firmware and installations instructions

This link will take you to a web page that contains instructions and an installer package for obtaining the latest DTBM firmware.

Help

This link will take you to the BARD Frequently Asked Questions and Instructions.

Navigating the titles

The lists of titles (books, magazines, musical scores) have been designed to be easily navigable both with screen readers and visually. When available, the lists will always begin with audio selections. There will be a link at the top of each list to the beginning of the braille selections. In most cases, each entry includes the title, author, subject, narrator (audiobooks), number of volumes (braille books), a description (if available), and a link to download the item. Note that each title is a link to a page containing additional details about the item..

On all pages entries (book, musical score, and magazine titles) are listed at heading level 4. JAWS users can jump from title to title by pressing the 4 key.

Similarly, heading level 2 is used for each page’s main grouping. On the Books by Author page, the author names are at level 2. On the Books by Subject page, the subjects are at level 2. And on The Recently Added Books and Magazines page, the dates are at level 2. On the Most Popular page, the categories fiction and nonfiction are at level 2. JAWS users can jump from one to the next by pressing the 2 key.

On each page the format headings “Audiobooks” and “Braille Books” are listed at heading level 1. JAWS users can jump from one format heading to the next by pressing the 1 key. Note that the Main page, Magazines by Title page, and the Wish List page do not have format headings.

In summary: Format level 1, the main groupings at level 2, and individual entries are at level 4.

How to download an item

After you have found the item you wish to download, use the download link to initiate transfer of the item to your computer.  During the download process you will be given the opportunity to save the file to a specified location.  Where to save the file is your decision. To help with finding the files later, each audio file starts with the letters DB and each braille file starts with the letters BR. All file names contains as much of the author’s name and title as is possible. All audio files end in zip; all braille files end in either zip or BRF.

Reading a DB file on your player

The file you download from the website is a single DB zip file. Once the download is complete, use the software of your choice to unzip the contents of the zip file. It is recommended that users unzip each item to a folder on their hard drive and copy the folder onto a blank cartridge. You can also unzip to your hard drive, and then copy the individual files to a blank cartridge, which may then be inserted into your digital talking-book player. Note that the number and placement of navigational markers in the items themselves (e.g., chapter boundaries) will vary according to the type of item it is, it’s production date, and anticipated use. The downloaded items do not carry the text of the print copy, only a narrated version that adheres to the print copy’s contents as closely as possible.

Reading a BR file

If you downloaded a zip BR file from the website, you will need to unzip the contents onto your hard drive. If you download a BRF BR file, you can read it without further action.

BARD-Support mailing list for announcements

All program participants have the option of subscribing to an email-based list called BARD-Support.  This is a closed, one-way list to which NLS will post information of interest to the BARD community. Replies to BARD-Support messages will not reach us. If you have questions, please feel free to contact your local or regional NLS cooperating library or [email protected].

If you would like to subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message including your email address and your first and last name to [email protected] .

Privacy

The NLS Privacy Policy for the BARD website can be found here.

Troubleshooting

1) If you have any technical problems using the BARD website or NLS digital talking-book player, check these instructions and the FAQ page of the BARD website to determine if a solution to the problem has already been posted:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

2) If you do not find a solution in the FAQs, please contact your library for help.  If you need further assistance you can email BARD support at [email protected].  BARD support will try to answer all emails as quickly as possible, but cannot guarantee a specific turnaround time for problem resolution.

Be sure to include a complete description of the problem and of your computing environment, including any assistive technology products you are using.  Remember that this email address is only monitored during library business hours.

If you have a purchased digital talking-book player, technical problems with your player should be directed to its manufacturer.

If you have a purchased braille device, technical problems with the device should be directed to its manufacturer.

Canceling your BARD account

If for any reason you would like to cancel your account, please contact your library. Your  user ID and password will be deactivated.

For support, please email [email protected].

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

BARD main page