By Sandy Marsiglia, Chair
Braille and Accessible Formats Committee
Did you ever call your library only to find out that the book you wanted to order in audio or braille was not available? You were probably then told they could put the book on your request list. There is a solution to this problem by accessing books through the National Library Service’s BARD website. BARD stands for Braille and Audio Reading download. This process requires you to have a USB or thumb drive, or a cartridge that will fit the NLS talking digital player. Read below for further instructions on how to access a book and begin reading immediately.
For those who use JAWS screen reader, here are instructions for finding and downloading books from the BARD main page. Window Eyes users, the instructions will be in a future article. Before using these instructions, you must have a login ID and password from the library where you receive your digital talking books. You must also have a digital talking book player to read the downloaded file type. These instructions will work with Windows 7 running Office 2007 and above with JAWS 12 or later. Using these instructions, you can download to either a thumb drive (sometimes called a memory stick) which would then fit into the side of the book machine, or a blank NLS cartridge with its necessary cord.
Go to the following website to get started: nlsbard.loc.gov/nlsbardprod/login/mainpage/nls
Tab to the email edit field. Type in your login ID which is an email address. Tab to the password edit field and type in your password. Tab to the login button and press Enter or the space bar.
Searching BARD and Downloading Books
You are at the BARD main page. This page has several links on it which will get you to a list of books. Press Insert + F7 for the links list. The links widely used are “Most popular books” and “Recently added books.”
For these instructions, I will use the link “Most popular books.” Down arrow to the link “Most popular books” then press Enter. List headers with Insert + F6 and down arrow to “Audiobooks” then press Enter. Down arrow to the first book.
Begin reading the summary of the book with down arrow or “say all” with Insert + 2 on the number pad. If you realize you do not want to read the specific summary, press “H” for the next book.
Once you find the book you want to read, take the following steps. Down arrow through the summary of the book. Directly below the summary JAWS will announce “download” and the name of the book. Press Enter. You also could list links with Insert + F7 and choose the “Download book title” link. JAWS will be silent at this point. Press Alt + N for the notification bar, tab to the save split button and press Enter. JAWS will begin to count. If JAWS does not continue counting to around 100, it is safe to assume that the book has downloaded after three minutes. Repeat the steps to download another book.
You can also search for a specific author, title, or series of books. After logging in and you are on the BARD main page, press E for the first edit field. If you type in an author use last name first then first name. No commas are necessary. A list of books will appear. Press Insert + F6 for headers. Down arrow to “Audiobooks” and press Enter. Press H for the first book’s header. Continue pressing H until you find the book you are interested in reading. Follow the steps above beginning with “Once you find the book …” for download instructions.
You can also search by subject or author on the main page. For these instructions, I will choose subject. After logging in, List headers with Insert + F6. Down arrow to “Browse by subject” and press Enter. Down arrow once to the subject combo box. Press Alt + down arrow to open the combo box. Browse the choices using the up and down arrows or use first-letter navigation to find the subject you want. Tab to the Go button and press Enter. The results will appear. List headers with Insert + F6 and down arrow to “Audiobooks” then press Enter. Down arrow to the first book. Begin reading the summary of the book with down arrow or “say all” with Insert + 2 on the number pad. If you realize you do not want to read the specific summary, press H for the next book. Follow the steps above beginning with “Once you find the book …” for download instructions.
Accessing & Transferring Downloaded Books
After downloading is complete, go to your computer’s start menu. Type the word downloads into the search box. Down arrow to “downloads” and Press Enter. Your list of books will appear. Use the up and down arrows to find your book, then press Enter. The files of your book will open. JAWS may announce the first file name but not selected. Press Ctrl + A to select all of the files. Press Ctrl + C to copy the files.
Transferring the Book Files
Plug the USB drive or cartridge cord into your computer. JAWS will announce, “Autoplay Dialog: Do you want to open files using Windows Explorer?” Press Enter to accept. If you do not get this message, Press “Windows + E on the keyboard. Down arrow to “Removable disk” with a letter and press Enter.
When you are sure you are accessing the external drive, press Alt + F for file. Press W for new folder. JAWS will announce “new folder.” Give the folder a name such as the book title, then press Enter. The folder name is saved. Press Enter again to open the folder which is empty. Press Ctrl + V to paste the files of the book in the folder. Press Insert + F11 and down arrow to “Eject media,” then press Enter. JAWS will announce, “Safe to remove hardware.” Press Alt + F4, then remove the thumb drive or cord from the computer.
Playing Downloaded Books
As the player is in your lap with the play button at the bottom center, the thumb drive slot is on the right side of the player. You may have to remove a small plastic piece from the player. Insert the memory stick or thumb drive. This may be a tight fit, but it will fit the slot. If you transferred the book onto a cartridge, place the cartridge inside the player. Enjoy reading.