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BARD Information

Overview

BARD, which stands for Braille and Audio Reading Download, grants users instant online access to books, magazines, and even some musical scores made available by the National Library Service in both audio and Braille formats.  These are the same titles that you are able to borrow from Talking Book and Braille Services, but instead of receiving them through the mail you can download them for immediate reading, with no due dates and no limit to the number of downloads. 
 
Audio titles are either loaded onto flash drives or blank cartridges you purchase, transferred to a purchased player like the BookSense, or downloaded directly to a compatable iOS device (see the BARD Mobile section below).  Each audio book has the same DB number that a corresponding physical copy would have.  Web-Braille books are in contracted Braille ASCII format.  Each file represents one volume of a Braille book or magazine.  Each volume of an NLS-produced book is named with the book’s BR and volume numbers and has a “.brf” file extension.  Web-Braille books can be downloaded for reading off-line or for embossing.  Reading Web-Braille files requires a Braille display, Braille-aware note taker, or Braille embosser.  In addition, Web-Braille files may be listened to with a player that has text-to-speech capabilities such as a Victor Reader Stream.
 
Any person interested in using BARD must be a registered user of Talking Books, and have access to a computer with a high-speed Internet connection and a compatible audio book player (all new patrons receive the Talking Books digital player, which is a compatible audio player) or Braille devise.  An email address and password are required to use BARD.  If you are already a registered user of Talking Books you can fill out the BARD application here.
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Requirements for Using BARD

Downloading books from the BARD website requires the following:
  • NLS digital player or an authorized purchased player for audio; Braille-aware note taker, Braille display, or Braille embosser for Web-Braille
  • Computer with high-speed internet access
  • Active email address
  • Purchased blank cartridge or USB flash drive (recommended 1-2 GB)
 
Also, there are a few computer skills that users need to have in order to use BARD, including:
  • Navigating a web page using a web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc)
  • Sending and receiving email
  • Filling out online forms
  • Downloading files
  • Locating a downloaded file on your computer
  • Connecting a cartridge or USB flash drive to your computer
  • Creating new folders
  • Extracting files from a zipped format
  • Copying and pasting files
  • Removing a cartridge or USB flash drive safely from your computer
  • Erasing files from a cartridge or USB flash drive
  • Loading files onto a purchased player or Braille device
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How to Download a BARD Book

This section contains detailed step-by-step intructions for how to download a book (or magazine) from BARD using either a PC or a Mac, as well as a video tutorial designed to take you through the whole BARD process from beginning to end, and an audio tutorial for users with screen readers.

How to Download a Book (or Magazine) from BARD (for PC users)

-          NOTE: the download process is the same for audio and Braille books until you come to the point where you need to load the extracted files onto your flash drive or blank cartridge (indicated below).  Braille users will be expected to know how to load files onto their own players, as the process may differ from one device to another.
-          Log in to BARD.  Your username is your email address.
-          Find the book you are interested in downloading.
o   You can browse recently added or most popular titles using the links towards the top of the main page, or you can search for specific books by author, title, subject, keyword, book number, or narrator by using the search feature.
-          When you find the book you want click the blue download link below the book’s description.
-          A small window will appear asking if you would like to Open or Save the book you are downloading.  Click Save.
-          Another small window will usually pop up asking you where you would like to save the file.  Choose where you would like to save the file, then click Save.
o   We recommend saving books to your desktop.
o   Some browsers will automatically download files to a pre-designated folder usually in My Documents called Downloads.  If you are not given the option of choosing where to download your book to, try to locate a folder like this one.
o   You do not have to change the file name in order to continue; just leave the default settings as they appear.
o   DO NOT change the file type.
-          The book will download.  This process may take a few minutes, depending on the size of the book and your internet connection’s speed.  Most audio books are about 100-120 Megabytes (MB) and take a few minutes to download.
o   The speed of the download may vary as it ticks along, and the time remaining may go up or down rapidly.  These occurrences are normal whenever you download something from the internet.
-          While you are waiting for your book to download, plug your USB flash drive or blank cartridge into your computer.
-          When the book finishes downloading, it will appear as a zipped file (i.e. booktitleandnumber.zip).  The icon will most likely look like a folder with a zipper on it.
o   You CANNOT simply copy and paste or drag-and-drop the zipped file onto your USB flash drive.  Your digital player will not recognize the book.
-          Right click on the zipped file and select the Extract All option.
o   If this option does not appear, you will need to install an unzipping program onto your computer.  However, the vast majority of Windows computers will have this program build into them.
-          The Extraction Wizard will open.  Down at the bottom of the initial page, click Next
-          You will be asked to designate a destination for the extracted files (where you want the files to end up after they have been extracted).  We recommend leaving the default option as it appears.
o   By leaving the defaults as they appear, your computer will automatically create a new folder containing all the extracted files in the same place the original zipped folder is located.
o   You can select an alternative destination (i.e. a folder you’ve created on your USB flash drive) for the extracted files in that system works better for you.
-          The files will begin extraction into the new folder.  When they are finished, you will be given the option to view them if you want by checking the box.  It is not necessary to view the files, so feel free to uncheck the box.  Which ever way you choose, click Finish.
-          Locate the new folder with the extracted files in it (it will have the same name as the zipped folder, but it will not have a zipper on the folder icon and it will not have the .zip file extension) and drag-and-drop or copy and paste it onto your USB flash drive or blank cartridge.
o   NOTE: this process may be different for users with purchased players for audio books or Web-Braille users.  Unfortunately, we can only provide instructions past this point for audio books being played on the National Library Service Digital Talking Book Player.  Users with purchased players or Web-Braille devices are required to know how to load and play files onto their own device, and are encouraged to seek technical support from the device manufacturer in the event of an error.
-          Safely remove your USB flash drive from your computer.
-          Plug your USB flash drive into your digital player WHILE THE PLAYER IS OFF.
-          Turn your digital player on.  The player will recognize the book(s) on your USB flash drive.
-          You CANNOT have both a USB flash drive and a book cartridge in the machine at the same time.
-          You CAN rename folders with the extracted files in them to better suit your personal folder organizational preferences.  The digital player does not use the folder name to recognize the book.
-          You CAN put multiple books on your USB flash drive, depending on the amount of available space.  Just repeat the above process for each book.
-          You CAN organize folders however you want on your USB flash drive.  Many people find it helpful to organize books by fiction and non-fiction or by author.  Just be sure to always keep all the files for a book in the same folder.  Folders can be moved or placed within other folders.
-          You CAN delete the zipped file once you are done with the extraction process.  Doing so will not jeopardize the extracted files elsewhere.
-          You CAN delete old books off your USB flash drive to make room for new ones.  Just delete the whole folder.  This option is why we recommend keeping extracted files in folders so you can delete one book without having to worry about affecting files for another book.

 

  
How to Download a Book (or Magazine) from BARD (for Mac users) 
-          NOTE: the download process is the same for audio and Braille books until you come to the point where you need to load the extracted files onto your flash drive or blank cartridge (indicated below).  Braille users will be expected to know how to load files onto their own players, as the process may differ from one device to another.
-          Log in to BARD.  Your username is your email address.
-          Find the book you are interested in downloading.
o   You can browse recently added or most popular titles using the links towards the top of the main page, or you can search for specific books by author, title, subject, keyword, book number, or narrator by using the search feature.
-          When you find the book you want click the blue download link below the book’s description.
-          A small box will open asking if you would like to Open or Save the book you are downloading.  Click Save.
o   Most Macs default to saving files to the Downloads folder on your hard drive.  If you have not changed this default setting, then the book will most likely be saved to the Downloads folder.  The download process will therefore begin automatically when you click Save.
o   If you don’t know where the Downloads folder is on your computer, you can still easily locate the book on your hard drive by opening your finder and searching for the title or DB number of the book using the search bar at the top right corner.
-          The book will download.  This process may take a few minutes, depending on the size of the book and your internet connection’s speed.  Most books are about 100-120 Megabytes (MB) and take 6-9 minutes to download.
o   The speed of the download may vary as it ticks along, and the time remaining may go up or down rapidly.  These occurrences are normal whenever you download something from the internet.
-          While you are waiting for your book to download, plug your USB flash drive or blank cartridge into your computer.
o   An icon for your USB flash drive will usually appear on your desktop when it is connected, and the icon is usually named either No Name or the brand or model name of the USB flash drive.
o   If you have the finder open, you may also see your USB flash drive listed under Devices.
-          When the book finishes downloading, it will appear as a zipped file.  The icon will most likely look like a piece of paper or a folder with a zipper on it.
o   You CANNOT simply copy and paste the zipped file onto your USB flash drive.  Your digital player will not recognize the book.
-          Locate and double left-click on the zipped file.  The files inside will automatically be unarchived (same as extracted for PC users, just a different name for the process) into a new folder with the same name as the original zipped file, which will also be saved in the same place as the original zipped file.
o   You may want to change the name of this new folder when the unarchiving process is finished, since the default name can be quite long (default name = author name, title, DB number).
-          Drag and drop the new folder onto your USB flash drive.
o   NOTE: this process may be different for users with purchased players for audio books or Web-Braille users.  Unfortunately, we can only provide instructions past this point for audio books being played on the National Library Service Digital Talking Book Player.  Users with purchased players or Web-Braille devices are required to know how to load and play files onto their own device, and are encouraged to seek technical support from the device manufacturer in the event of an error.
-          Eject your USB flash drive from your computer.
-          Plug your USB flash drive into your digital player WHILE THE PLAYER IS OFF.
-          Turn your digital player on.  The player will recognize the book(s) on your USB flash drive.
-          You CANNOT have both a USB flash drive and a book cartridge in the machine at the same time.
-          You CAN rename folders with the extracted files in them to better suit your personal folder organizational preferences.  The digital player does not use the folder name to recognize the book.
-          You CAN put multiple books on your USB flash drive, depending on the amount of available space.  Just repeat the above process for each book.
-          You CAN organize folders however you want on your USB flash drive.  Many people find it helpful to organize books by fiction and non-fiction or by author.  Just be sure to always keep all the files for a book in the same folder.  Folders can be moved or placed within other folders.
-          You CAN delete the zipped file once you are done with the extraction process.  Doing so will not jeopardize the extracted files elsewhere.
-          You CAN delete old books off your USB flash drive to make room for new ones.  Just delete the whole folder.  This option is why we recommend keeping extracted files in folders so you can delete one book without having to worry about affecting files for another book.
 

Step-By-Step Video Tutorial 
  • This video will take you through the whole BARD process, starting with filling out the application, then moving on to logging in, searching for books, downloading them, and transferring them onto your flash drive.
 

 

 


For Patrons Using a Screen Reader
  • We have created an audio tutorial describing the process of downloading a book from BARD for our patrons who use a screen reader.  Since there are several screen readers available on the market, and several different versions of each still used by our patrons, this tutorial is designed more as a general guide to the process.  It does include key stoke and navigation information, but may require some adaptation to your specific screen reader.  To download our BARD Audio Tutorial, click here. 
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BARD Mobile

BARD Mobile logo JPG.jpg
The BARD Mobile app is now available!  You can download this free app from the Apple App Store, either by clicking this link:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bard-mobile/id705229586?mt=8, or by searching for BARD Mobile in the App Store (see icon to the right).  In this section you'll find a bunch of useful information about the BARD Mobile app.

BARD Mobile will work on any iOS device running iOS 4.3.3 or later. This includes the iPhone 3GS and all later iPhones, all iPads, and fourth generation or later iPod touches. If you have one of these devices, be sure it is running iOS 4.3.3 or later.

You can't use a temporary password when logging onto BARD from the app, so be sure you have a working BARD username and permanent password before you attempt to log in with BARD Mobile. The app also will not work if you need to agree to the BARD pledge. If you have a temporary password, log into the BARD website at https://nlsbard.loc.gov to create a new password. And even if you have a working password, it's a good idea to log into the website and take the pledge if requested. Note that you can log into the BARD website using Safari on an iOS device if you like.

The BARD Mobile app allows you to download items from the Recently Added Books and Recently Added Magazines sections of the BARD site and from your wish list. So if there are books you know you're going to want to read right away, add them to your wish list. It is also easy to add books to your wish list from within BARD Mobile because when you browse the site either from within the app or from Safari on your iOS device, the Download link following every book title changes to an Add to Wish List link.

BARD Mobile must be open while books are downloading; if you switch to a different app, downloading will stop. Also, the screen must be unlocked throughout the download process.

We've put together the short video tutorial below to take you on a tour of the app's 4 main tabs and the core features of BARD Mobile, including the download and reading process, how to add books to your wish list, and what settings you can adjust.

 

 BARD Mobile App Tutorial

 

We encourage you to take a look at the BARD Mobile user guide. You can find it at https://nlsbard.loc.gov/apidocs/BARDMobile.userguide.iOS.1.0.html.

The manual is also available in the app, in the Help section of the BARD Mobile bookshelf.

If you want to read braille books with BARD Mobile, you'll need a braille display. Be sure to read Section 7 of the user guide, as it explains how to configure your display and provides keystrokes that make reading braille a smooth experience.

If you have BARD books or magazines on your computer, you can use iTunes file sharing or Dropbox to load them into BARD Mobile. Load them as zip files; BARD Mobile will unpack them automatically. When you open a talking book or magazine that you have loaded in this way for the first time, be sure BARD Mobile has access to the Internet, as the app will need to download an authorization file from the BARD website. This step is not necessary for braille files.

Be sure to carefully monitor your downloads, since BARD books and magazines can be quite large sometimes (50MB - 200MB).  Be especially careful if you are downloading books using your cellular data so you don't go over your limit (if you have one).
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Purchasing Assessories

Blank Cartridges
Blank digital cartridges (like those you receive from Talking Books) are available for purchase from a couple of third party vendors.  NOTE: in order to connect a blank cartridge to your computer, you may also need to purchase a special USB extension cable (can be bundled with the cartridge).
  • American Printing House for the Blind (www.aph.org)
    • Cartridge available in 2 GB; recommended to bundle with the USB extension cable.
  • Perkins School (www.perkins.org)
    • There are options to purchase the 1 GB cartridge or the 2 GB cartridge, with or without the USB extension cable.

USB Flash Drives
USB flash drives can be purchased at any electronics retail store (i.e. Best Buy, Radio Shack, Fred Meyer, Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, etc).
  • We recommend a USB flash drive that is 1-2 GB and that does not come with any additional software (i.e. security software, file organization software, etc)
  • The larger the USB flash drive, the more books you can put on it.  Usually, 1 GB holds about 4-6 books, depending on their size.

Carrying Case
A specially designed carrying case is also available for the digitial players.  The case protects the machine while still leaving access to the cartridge slot, buttons, and USB port.  It also comes with a shoulder strap.  This case is can be purchased from the following vendors:
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BARD FAQ

  • Q: Can I put more than one book onto a blank cartridge or USB flash drive?
    • A: YES, you can put as many books onto a blank cartridge or USB flash drive as will fit.  We recommend putting each book into a separate folder on your cartridge or flash drive in order to keep them organized and avoid potential errors.
  • Q: How do I access multiple BARD books on my blank cartridge or USB flash drive?
    • A: Press and hold the green Play button on your NLS digital player until you hear the player say “bookshelf.”  Then, using the forward or rewind buttons, find the book you want to play and press the play button again.
  • Q: Can I download books on to an SD card?
    • A: Yes, as long as you have a USB SD card reader that you can use to connect your SD card to your computer and/or digital player.  Just follow the same instructions listed above for downloading BARD books onto a USB flash drive your blank cartridge, but be sure not to extract the book files into a pre-formatted folder (i.e. $VSDTB, the one for the Victor Stream).
  • Q: What do I do if I’ve lost or forgotten my password?
    • A: Go to the BARD log in page and click the "Recover your BARD password here" link. Enter the answer to your security question, then click submit.  You will receive an email with a temporary password.  Use the temporary password to log in to BARD, then choose your permanent password.  You will receive another email confirming your permanent password.  Save this email so you have your password on file for later.  If you have any further issues, contact Talking Books at 503-378-5389 or 1-800-452-0292 and ask to have your BARD password reset. 
  • Q: Can I play books that I’ve downloaded on my computer or an MP3 player?
  • Q: Can I play MP3 files on my digital player?
    • A: Yes, you can play MP3 books and even music files on your digital player that are on your USB flash drive or blank cartridge.  If you only put MP3 files on your flash drive or cartridge, you can organize your MP3s however you like.  The digital player will not recognize your MP3 files or the folders they are in by title, but only as a folder and file number (i.e. Folder 1, File 1), and you cannot access your individual MP3 files through the bookshelf feature.  However, if you have also put a BARD book on your flash drive or cartridge along with MP3 files, you must put any MP3 file you want to listen to in a folder called "audio+podcasts" (all one word, all lower case, no spaces).  Within this special folder you can create other sub-folders and organize your MP3 files however you like.  Furthermore, when a BARD book in on your flash drive or cartridge you will be able to access your MP3 files using the bookshelf feature, but only to select the option of listening to whatever is in the "audio+podcasts" folder, not to select individual files.  When using a standard digital player, you can jump from file to file by pressing and holding the Fast Forward or Rewind buttons.  When using an advanced digtial player, use the Next and Previous buttons to toggle through files or folders, and you can use the Menu button to switch between jumping from file to file or folder to folder.
  • Q: Is there a limit to the number of books I can download?
    • A: YES and NO.  There is no limit to the number of books you can download over a period of time (i.e. week or month), but you can only download one book from the BARD website at a time.
  • Q: I'm a Mac user, and my computer is telling me I have no room left on my cartridge even though there are no books on it.  What can I do?
    • A: When you remove a file from a flash drive or cartridge using a Mac, unless you also remove the file from the trash bin on your computer you will not be allowed to use the space on the flash drive or cartridge the book had been taking up.  Once you empty your Mac's trash bin (permanently delete the file), the space on your flash drive or cartridge should once again be available for use.  This issue persists for all files transferred on and off a flash drive using a Mac, not just in regard to BARD books.
  • Q: Can I change my user ID (email address)?
    • A: YES, first log in to BARD using your current user ID, then click on the "Update account settings" link towards the bottom of the page.  Select the "change your email address" link (your email address is your user ID ).  Once you submit your new email address, a temporary password will be emailed to the new address, so be sure you can access the new email account before you request the change.  If you have problems, please contact Talking Books at 503-378-5389 or 1-800-452-0292.
  • Q: Is there any subscription fee for using BARD?
    • A: NO, access to BARD is free for all certified members of the Talking Books program.  The NLS digital player needed to play the books is also made available to you for free.  All you have to provide for yourself is either the blank cartridge or USB flash drive, and a high-speed internet connection.
  • Q: Can someone else download books for me?
    • A: YES, friends and family are welcome to download books for you.  All they need is your user ID, password, and a blank cartridge or USB flash drive.  Your account information is not IP address specific.  You can add or delete books to and from your cartridge or flash drive from any computer, as long as it has the appropriate ports.  Just be careful when sharing your log in information.  Make sure you only give your user ID and password to someone you trust, and don’t connect your blank cartridge or USB flash drive to a computer that may be infected with a virus.
  • Q: How do I navigate through the Bible?
    • A: The Bible can be a tricky book to navigate since it has so many levels of content (testaments, books, chapters, verses, etc).  The best player to use when trying to navigate through the Bible is the advanced digital player (DA1).  When using the advanced digital player, first insert the cartridge or flash drive with the Bible on it before you turn on the player.  Then push the Menu button to select which level you want to navigate by (testament, book, etc).  Keep pressing the Menu button until you hear the level you want:
      • Testament (jump):  This level will take you between the Old Testament and the New Testament
      • Book (jump):  This level will navigate in order through the books of the testament
      • Chapter (jump): You will navigate through the chapters of the book you are in
      • Phrase (jump): move through the chapter by phrases (verses)
      • Bookmark:  You can place bookmarks at your favorite verses by pushing the Mark button.  This level will jump from one bookmark to another.
    • When you've found the desired level, use the Next and Prev buttons to jump ahead or go back.  For example, if you select the book layer, the player will jump from Matthew to Mark to Luke to John each time you press the next button from the start of the New Testament.  These navigation features also works for other books as well, not just for the Bible.  If you do not have an advanced digital player and would like one, contact us at 800-452-0292 or tbabs.info@state.or.us and we'll be happy to send you one.
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