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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): BARD

What is BARD?

BARD is a free Braille and Audio Download service for active Talking Book members. The BARD web site was developed by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The site offers over 87,000 books and over 100 magazine titles. More books are added weekly.

How do I register?

Go to Application Instructions to apply for a BARD login. You must be an active Talking Book member, and have an email address.

What machines will play the downloaded books and magazines?

You cannot play downloaded BARD materials on your computer; you must use an authorized player.

If you have received your NLS Digital Talking Book Machine (DTBM), either the Standard or the Advanced model, you can play BARD downloads on it.

There are also commercial machines that are able to play BARD downloads.  We do not sell or loan these but can provide you the names of some of these devices, as follows: APH Braille Plus Mobile Manager. HIMS BookSense, Humanware Victor Reader Stream, and PLEXTALK Pocket PTP1 Book Storage.

What do I use to store the book or magazine?

If you are using the NLS Digital Talking Book Machine you may store the book or magazine on a NLS-Flash blank cartridge or a USB flash drive. If using a commercial machine, check the documentation for what type of storage media is used.

What kind of flash drive can I use?

Blank digital cartridge

  • 4G; holds approximately 386 hours of NLS books
  • Requires a cable to connect to your computer
  • Talking Books Plus will provide new BARD users with a cartridge and cable when they sign up for BARD. The blank cartridge is also available from Perkins Library Products.
  • Advantages: Designed for NLS player; fits in cartridge slot; easier to insert/remove from machine

Flash drive

  • Also called jump drive, thumb drive
  • Fits in USB port on the side of the NLS machine
  • Some brands work better than others; look for those without built-in U3 software.  Brands we have found to work include: Dane Elec, Verbatim, Lexar, Sony, PNY, Kingston
  • Look for 1G to 16G of memory; those with more memory may not work
  • Advantage: Available locally at most discount, electronic, or department stores; can be found for $10-$15; available in larger sizes that hold more books.

Can I store more than one book on the same cartridge, or flash drive?

Yes, you can access the Bookshelf feature on your NLS Digital Talking Book Machine by pressing and holding the Play/Stop key until it says “Bookshelf,” then using the FF and RW keys to move forward and backward between titles. When you reach the title you want, press Play. 

How do I get to the books and magazines?

Go to BARD LogIn to browse and download books and magazines—you must have received your BARD login to access this site or browse and link through the main BARD NLS catalog. You will also need high-speed Internet access for downloading.

How do I download books or magazines from BARD?

Downloading from BARD does require some basic computer skills, including navigating the Web, filling out online forms, downloading, unzipping, and transferring files. If you have experience with these processes downloading from BARD is not difficult.

Since computer software and configuration vary widely, as well as any screen readers or other assistive technologies you may be using, TBP staff can offer limited download support, but we have supplied links on, How to Download Books from BARD Using Windows 7 (provided by NYSED.gov-Talking Book and Braille Library), Windows XP and How to Download using a Mac OS 10 (provided by NYSED.gov-Talking Book and Braille Library). However, you may find it helpful to use your usual local technical supports, such as friend or family member, or other knowledgeable sources.

Where can I get more help?

BARD-specific questions may be answered through the BARD online instructions and NLS BARD: Frequently Asked Questions under the NLS BARD support links. You may also contact TBP at olis.tbplus@olis.ri.gov or by phone at 401-574-9310 (Mon.-Fri. 8:30am - 4pm). NLS also answers questions by email at NLSDownload@loc.gov.

Where can I get BARD updates?

BARD-Support is a listserv intended for periodic announcements only. This one-way source of communication is to provide useful information and tips for BARD users. Only NLS posts to the list. To subscribe to BARD-Support, send a message to NLSDownload@loc.gov stating your wish to join the listserv. See NLS BARD: Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the mailing list: BARD-Support.

More FAQ

NLS BARD: Frequently Asked Questions