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Talking Books

Background
Recorded materials loaned free (by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress), are available on digital talking-book cartridges. Digital recordings require specially designed playback equipment that is loaned free to eligible individuals and institutions.

Every patron is allowed to have one Digital book machine (either Standard or Advanced).

Your playback equipment comes with both recorded, large print, and Braille instructions. If you have questions regarding the instructions, call your reader advisor. Please keep the box in which your machine arrived. DO NOT THROW AWAY THE BOX OR THE RETURN CARD THAT IS ATTACHED. You may need to return your machine at some point if it breaks.

Recorded books from TBBL will only play on the equipment provided. This special format protects the copyright.

The Playback Equipment

Digital Standard Player
• Plays NLS digital talking books;
• Has eight controls;
• Includes a variable speed control that permits speeding up or slowing down playback speed without changing the pitch;
• Is portable;
• Is equipped with a rechargeable battery and an electrical cord; and
• Includes built-in audio instructions for using the digital machine.

Digital Advanced Player
• Plays NLS digital talking books;
• Has thirteen controls, including a row of controls for setting and retrieving bookmarks and navigating through the structured levels of a book;
• Includes a variable speed control that permits speeding up or slowing down playback speed without changing the pitch;
• Is portable;
• Is equipped with a rechargeable battery and an electrical cord; and
• Includes built-in audio instructions for using the digital player.

Additional Information:

Bookshelf
Braille and Audio Reading Download (Bard)
Computer Expertise
Digital Talking Books
NLS Type Digital Cartridge
Returning Your Machine
Standard USB Flash Drives



Standard USB Flash Drives

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Standard USB flash drives, also called thumb drives or jump drives, are available at most large retail stores or electronics stores. It is most beneficial to buy a smaller USB flash drive size (2-4 GB) without any additional software already pre-loaded onto it. The number of books that will fit onto a flash drive depends on the size of the books being downloaded. A 1GB flash drive will hold 96 hours of audio books. Almost any NLS book will be smaller than 256 MB, so you should be able to fit several titles on a 1GB or 2GB flash drive.

 

Computer Expertise

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Downloading books or magazines from BARD requires computer expertise, including navigating the Web, filling out online forms, and downloading, unzipping, and transferring files. If you have experience with these processes, or have assistance from someone who does, downloading from BARD is not difficult.

If you are not comfortable working with computers, you may find that you need local help familiar with your particular set-up for some of these processes. The specific step-by-step sequence varies somewhat based on which machine you are using to play your downloads as well as the operating system, software and settings of your computer, as well as any screen readers or other assistive technologies you may be using.

 

Braille and Audio Reading Download or BARD

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BARD Login

BARD Mobile APP

BARD Training Videos

 The BARD – Braille and Audio Reading Download – program is the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped's free digital book download service. More than 21,000 digital books and over 40 digital magazine titles are available in BARD with new items added weekly.

To qualify for BARD, you must first have active TBBL library service, be in good standing, have an e-mail address, and a high-speed Internet connection. Downloading books or magazines from BARD also requires some computer expertise.

To register for BARD, you must first fill out the BARD Application Instructions.

After you receive your BARD Login, current users can browse and download digital books and magazines from the BARD website or you can browse and download titles through the main NLS Online Catalog.

You cannot play downloaded BARD materials on your computer. You must use an authorized player. If you received your NLS Digital Talking Book Machine, either the Standard or the Advanced model, you can play BARD downloads on it. There are also currently five commercial machines that are able to play BARD downloads. TBBL does not sell or loan commercial machines.

Depending on which machine you are using, you may store a book or magazine on a digital cartridge or a USB flash drive. If you are using the NLS Digital Talking Book Machine, then use either an NLS-type digital cartridge or a standard USB flash drive (also called thumb drive or jump drive). If using a commercial machine, check the documentation to see which option is best. TBBL does not supply any of these storage media; you will need to purchase them yourself.

The BARD Mobile APP is available for download to iOS devices such as the iPad, iPhone, and iPod.  Click here to for a Quick Guide the BARD Mobile APP.

 

Commercial Machines

NLS compatible digital talking-book players for purchase include:

APH Book Port Plus
www.aph.org

APH Braille Plus Mobile Manager
www.aph.org

APEX BrailleNote/VoiceNote
www.humanware.com

HIMS BookSense
www.hims-inc.com

HIMS BookSense DS
www.hims-inc.com

HIMS BookSense XT
www.hims-inc.com

HIMS Sense Notetakers (includes Braille Sense and Voice Sense)
www.hims-inc.com

Humanware Victor Reader Stratus
www.humanware.com

Humanware Victor Reader Stream
www.humanware.com

LevelStar Icon
www.levelstar.com

Milestone 212
www.independentliving.com

Milestone 312
www.independentliving.com

Plextalk PTN2
www.plextalk.com

Plextalk Pocket PTP1
www.plextalk.com

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Quick Guide to 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 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.

 

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If you have any general questions about operating the NLS digital players or if you have any digital book recommendations, please contact TBBL at 1-800-543-4702 or (225) 342-0035 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

NLS-Type Digital Cartridge

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An NLS digital cartridge with a USB connector and separate special USB cable is an alternative to using a USB flash drive to download digital talking books. 

A separate special USB cable is required to connect the cartridge to a computer during the download/transfer process.

The cartridge and cable are available for purchase from a number of vendors including:

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. (APH)
1839 Frankfort Avenue
P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, KY 40206-0085
(502) 895-2405
800-223-1839 (Toll-free customer service in the U.S. and Canada)
www.APH.org
Contact: Customer Service
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Howell Mobility Products
717 Louis Avenue
Royal Oak, MI 48067-4603
(248) 548-1788
(248) 548-1788 Fax (call first)
www.howellmobility.com
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


National Federation of the Blind
Independence Market
200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
www.nfb.org
(410) 659-9314, extension 2216
(410) 685-2340 Fax
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Perkins Products
175 North Beacon St
Watertown, MA 02472
(617) 972 7308
(617) 926 2027 (fax)
www.perkinsproducts.org,  Talking Book Accessories section
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Twin Ports Low Vision Center
Duluth Lighthouse for the Blind
4505 W. Superior Street
Duluth, MN 55807
218) 624-4828 Ext. 119
(800) 422-0833 (toll free)
(218) 624-4479 Fax
http://www.lighthousefortheblind-duluth.org/lvstore/

Vistas
Braille Institute
741 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 663-1111, Ext. 1245
(323) 663-0867 Fax
www.brailleinstitute.org

 

 

 

Digital Talking Books

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In 2009, the National Library Service began offering digital talking books and players to our readers. The digital talking book is a new type of book that replaces the cassette tape. Instead of a magnetic cassette tape, the new players use a USB Flash Drive embedded inside a hard plastic cartridge digital talking book.

The new format offers improved audio quality while being more durable and easier to use. These books, recorded and played using digital audio technology, provide the same high quality narration that NLS patrons have come to expect.

If you are interested in borrowing a digital talking book machine and digital talking books, please contact the TBBL at 1-800-543-4702 or (225) 342-0035 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

By law, TBBL gives priority service to veterans of the United States armed forces who have received honorable discharges from military service. Documentation that verifies a veteran's status, such as a copy of the DD-214 form, must be submitted to the library in order to give veterans priority in receiving the new digital player.

BARD Application Instructions -

BARD - Braille and Audio Reading Download 

Log in at this web address: https://nlsbard.loc.gov/cgi-bin/nlsbardprod/index.cgi

for the free Braille and Audio Reading Download program which includes over 21,000 downloadable digital talking books and over 40 digital magazines.


Resources
• Frequently Asked Questions: Digital Books
• Digital Talking Book Player and Cartridge  - See pictures of the digital player and cartridge.
• NLS Flash  - This is a bulletin about digital talking book news.

 
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