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Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)

Digital talking book player

About BARD

BARD is an acronym for “Braille and Audio Reading Download.”  On February 2, 2010, the Florida Bureau of Braille and Talking Books Library assumed administration of the BARD program for the State of Florida from the National Library Service, Library of Congress. Books and magazines on BARD can be downloaded to your computer and then transferred to a flash drive or digital cartridge and played on the NLS digital player. There are currently over 72,400 titles from which to choose. You must have a high speed internet connection to download materials from BARD.

Only patrons who are in good standing with the Florida Bureau of Braille and Talking Books Library are eligible for BARD services. If you are not currently receiving services from the library, you must first apply for library services. Please contact them at (800) 226-6075 or e-mail OPAC_Librarian@dbs.fldoe.org.

Apply for a BARD Account

Access to the BARD website is restricted to eligible readers. You will need a login ID and password. Review the criteria for participation by reading the BARD Application Instructions and, if you qualify, request an account. 

Fill out the BARD application form completely. Library staff will check your information against their records. If you are approved to participate, you will receive an e-mail message with login information. If there is a problem, you will receive a message explaining the problem. If you are planning to use a purchased digital talking-book player, you must register it once you have access to the BARD site.

Please note that the information you provide will be shared with the National Library Service, Library of Congress and with the manufacturer of your purchased digital talking-book player (if necessary).

  1. Access the online application form: https://nlsbard.loc.gov/cgi-bin/public/nlsbardprod/accountrequest.cgi?libcode=FL1A
  2. Choose the library that serves your area.
  3. Complete the application, including the type of player. 
  4. Push the submit button when all fields have been completed.
  5. You will receive a message screen saying, “Your request has been entered into our database. Thank you for your interest.”
  6. You should receive an acceptance or rejection e-mail for the BARD program within one business day.
  7. Once accepted, a password will be e-mailed to you.
  8. Use this link to enter the BARD catalog: https://nlsbard.loc.gov.  Enter your ID (which is your e-mail address) and the password that was sent with the confirmation e-mail you received.  You will be asked to create a new password and to answer a security question that can be used later to recover a lost or forgotten password. You might want to bookmark this site or enter it into your favorites.

BARD Subscriber Update

Recently, NLS performed a review of BARD accounts that have not been logged into for twelve consecutive months and updated them to reflect an Inactive/Suspended status.

If you are having trouble logging on to your BARD account and resetting your password does not work, please contact your reader advisor to have you account reactivated with a few simple steps, and get you back to enjoying downloaded materials again.

Thank you for your understanding!

What You Will Need

Books and magazines on BARD can be downloaded to your computer and then transferred to a flash drive or digital cartridge.  Once the flash drive is plugged into the USB port on the right side of the NLS digital player or the digital cartridge is inserted into the front of the player, the book or magazine will start playing automatically.  The USB port is located under a plastic cap which you must remove. 

Flash Drives

Also called a jump drive or a thumb drive, a flash drive plugs into the USB port on the right side of the NLS machine (remove plastic insert).  We recommend a flash drive no larger than eight gigabytes. Those with more memory may not work.  It is important that the flash drive not contain built in partitions.  Look for those without built-in U3 software or ask a knowledgeable sales clerk for assistance in locating a simple, non-partitioned USB flash drive. Brands we have found to work include:

  • Dane Elec
  • Verbatim
  • Lexar
  • Sony
  • PNY
  • Kingston
  • Ativa 8 GB

Flash drives are available locally at most discount, electronic, or department stores.

Digital cartridges

You may purchase digital cartridges from Adaptive Technology, a division of Perkins Products of the Perkins School for the Blind. Blank one gigabyte cartridges alone cost $14.95, while blank one gig cartridges bundled with a compatible 36-inch USB cable cost $17.95. The USB cable may also be purchased separately for $3.95.

Contact Adaptive Technology, a division of Perkins Products:
E-mail: adaptivetech@perkins.org
Phone: (978) 462-3817
Fax: (978) 462-3928

Digital cartridges may also be purchased from the American Printing House for the Blind.  Their two gigabyte digital talking-book cartridges, designed to be used with the NLS digital-talking book machine, sell for $11.99.

To place an order, contact the American Printing House for the Blind at http://shop.aph.org/ or call 1-800-223-1839. Customer service questions may be sent by e-mail to cs@aph.org.

Digital talking book player and talking books on shelf

How to Download from BARD

  1. You must have a high speed internet connection to download materials from BARD.
  2. Access the BARD catalog: https://nlsbard.loc.gov/cgi-bin/nlsbardprod/index.cgi.  Enter your ID (which is your e-mail address) and the password that was sent with the confirmation e-mail you received.  The first time you log in you will be asked to create a new password and to answer a security question that can be used later to recover a lost or forgotten password. You might also want to bookmark this site or enter it into your favorites.
  3. Create a folder on your computer where you will save downloaded books and magazines.  You will need it later.
  4. Once you have accessed the catalog, you can search for books and magazines in several ways:  recently added books; most popular books; search by subject; search by author; search by title; browse by author last name, subject, or title; search recently added magazines; or search magazines by title.
  5. Once you have found an item you want, click the link below the annotation to download it. The link will be in a different color and will begin with the word “Download” followed by the title and book number.
  6. You will get a pop-up asking if you want to open or save the file.
  7. Click “Save” and a “Save as” dialog box will open. By default, the “Save in” combo box at the top of this dialog may show “Desktop” or “My Documents” as a location to save your downloaded file.  Browse to the folder that you created to store your books and magazines.  Then click the “Save” button and the download will start.  The BARD Web site only allows three books to be downloaded simultaneously.
  8. The download progress window will display the amount of time it should take to download the file.  Once the download is complete, you will get a notification either visually or aurally.

How to Unzip a Downloaded File

Books and magazines are downloaded in a special compressed archive format called a “zip” file. Do not unzip the archive file to a folder on your computer because the extracted files will take up even more space than does the zipped file.

  1. Insert the flash drive into a USB port on your computer.  Be sure to notice and remember which drive letter it is assigned.  Usually a screen will pop up with a sound indicating the drive letter assigned to your flash drive.  You may need to insert it and remove it several times to figure this out. 
  2. Now you can extract the contents of the Zip file onto your flash drive.  Go to the Download folder that you created and locate the Zip file.  Right click the file or press the context menu key.
  3. Depending upon your system and the software installed, one of several choices may be presented: “Extract” or “Extract all” or “Unzip to.”  In some cases, you will need to go to the main file menu to find this option.  Find the menu choice for unzipping files, make note of the highlighted letter that your screen reader tells you.  Press the Context Menu key and then the letter.  In Windows XP that letter is “A”.  Press this letter.  A ZIP file extraction wizard of some type may be launched.  Whether assisted by a wizard or not, it is necessary to browse to the location of the flash drive so the extracted files can be sent straight to it.
  4. If you are putting only one book or magazine on your flash drive, it will need to be extracted into the root directory of the Drive.  The file name should look something like this: “E:\DB_ 12345”.  If you are storing several books or magazines on the one flash drive, each item must be in its own folder.
  5. Often the “Select a Destination” window will pop up, allowing you to choose where the files will be extracted.  Select the browse option and browse to the drive letter your flash drive was assigned.  If you are only putting one book or magazine on your drive, this is where you want to extract the files—in the root directory of your flash drive.  If you will be placing more than one book or magazine on the drive, you will want to tell the zip wizard to create a new folder and place the extracted files into it.  Look for a “New Folder” button, select it, and type a folder name.
  6. Select the “Next” button to begin the extraction process.
  7. The computer will notify you by pop-up or sound when the extraction is complete.
  8. Follow the recommended procedure to safely remove the flash drive from your computer.

How to Play a Downloaded Book or Magazine

  1. Insert the flash drive into the USB port on the right side of the NLS digital player.  Power up the player.  The book or magazine will start playing automatically.  If nothing happens or a message appears that no book was found, please contact the library for assistance. 
  2. If you have several books on your flash drive or cartridge, you can use the “Bookshelf” feature to move from one book to another. Insert the flash drive into the USB port of the player.  Turn on the player.  Push and hold down the Play/Stop button until the narrator announces “bookshelf.” Now press the Fast Forward (FF) or Rewind (RW) buttons to step forward and backward from book to book.  This is not a circular list.  Once you reach the last item in the list, pressing the FF key will not take you back to the beginning of the list.  It will only produce a beep.  The same is true for the RW key when you are already at the first item in the list.  Once you have found the book you wish to read, press the Play/Stop button.  If the book does not start playing automatically, press the Play/Stop button a second time.

Contact the library at 1-800-226-6075 if you need further assistance.