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BARD Express: Easy way to access audio NLS books

BARD Express is the new, simplified way to browse and download BARD audio books and magazines.

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has recently released BARD Express – a simplified way to browse and download NLS audio books and magazines.  The BARD Express process provides a menu-driven interface, requiring as few as four keyboard commands. BARD Express is free Windows-based software that enables patrons to download audio titles from the BARD website to a cartridge or external USB flash drive for playback in a digital recorder.

For more information about BARD Express, go to Bard Express page on the NLS website.

Jim Flusche shared his experinces with BARD Express with the Windows 10 and JAWS Facebook group:

Good afternoon W-10 and Jaws group. After hearing many of you talk about the BARD express program, I downloaded it. I like it. I played around with it for about an hour. I downloaded three books and moved them to my flash drive. Pretty cool. Below is information about using the BARD express program for the first time, followed by the BARD express users guide. The BARD express program is not off topic. I am very impressed about how easy it is to use. I really like the book series look-up feature, works great. Read below about all the information about using the BARD express program. Thanks for letting me know about the program.

Welcome to BARD Express

This document will help to get you started using BARD Express, a software program that makes it easier to download, save, and read books from BARD, the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download website.

Logging in for the first time

To start using BARD Express, sign in to the software using your existing BARD credentials, which are your email address and password. If you do not yet have a BARD account, apply for an account.

Navigating BARD Express

There are two distinct ways to work with BARD Express.

Standard View

  1. Navigate the Main menu by pressing the Tab key to move between the submenus, which include Bookshelf, Wish List, Most Recently Added Books and Magazines, Most Popular Books, and more. If you use screen-reading software and a keyboard, you can navigate the menu by pressing the Tab key to move between submenus and by pressing the Enter key to open one of the submenus.
  2. After you have opened a submenu, use the arrow keys to navigate through title lists and press the Enter key to explore a book’s details. Once a book’s detail screen has been opened, use the Tab key to hear the author, narrator, annotation, and more.
  3. Use the buttons at the bottom of the book’s detail screen to download the title or add/remove it from your Wish List. Select the button, then press the Enter key or the spacebar. To return to the top of the book’s detail screen, hit Tab. Another button at the top of the page will allow you to return to the list of titles screen.

Advanced View

  1. A second way to work with BARD Express is to use the Advanced View. This view presents more information on a title without having to press Enter to get the book details.
  2. Navigate the Main menu and open a submenu such as Most Recently Added Books and Magazines the same way as in the Standard View.
  3. Switch to the Advanced View by using the keyboard command Control+L (press the Control and L keys at the same time). As you down-arrow through a list of titles, you will hear the book’s title, its author and narrator, and its description.
  4. Press the spacebar to select one or more books.
  5. Download or add your selections to the Wish List by choosing the appropriate button or use the assigned shortcut key.

Exploring the Menu Bar

The BARD Express Menu Bar contains three selections: Files, View, and Help.

The Files Menu

This menu lets you log in and out of your BARD account. If you want to log out of your account, open the Files menu and choose Log Out. BARD Express will ask if you’re sure you want to log out. Choose Log Out if that is your intention or choose Remain Logged In if you wish to remain logged in to your account.

The View Menu

This menu contains shortcuts to the Main menu and submenus such as Bookshelf, Wish List, and Preferences.

From within the View menu, you can select Items Per Page, which lets you choose the number of titles you want BARD Express to display at one time. The View menu also lets you increase or decrease the font size used in lists of titles and book detail pages.

At the bottom of the View menu is an item called Column Configuration. Choosing this item allows you to control how much of a book’s information displays directly on the list screen or is read by your screen-reading software as  you navigate from title to title using Advanced View.

The Help Menu

This menu contains three items: Help, About, and Getting Started.

Choose Help to access the help information for your current window. Close the window and return to BARD Express by pressing Alt+F4 or selecting the X in the top right corner of the window.

Choose About to learn the software version and find the address for support.

Choose Getting Started to refer back to this document.

Getting Help

Another way to access the Help item in the Help menu is to press the F1 key. Choose a topic in the tree view you want to learn more about. Any part of the tree view that has sub-topics related to the main topic, can be expanded by pressing the right arrow. Scroll through the subtopics by using the down arrow. To read the information on that topic, press enter on the topic of interest. After pressing the F6 key to display the information, use your standard reading keys to read about the topic.

To close Help, use the keyboard command Alt+F4 or select X.

Closing BARD Express

When you’re finished using BARD Express, there is no need to log out (if you wish to log out, follow the directions under the Files menu in the menu bar).

Simply close the software using the keyboard command Alt+F4 or select the X in the top right corner of the BARD Express window. BARD Express remembers your account credentials, so the next time you want to use BARD, just open BARD Express and it will log into your account; you won’t need to enter your email address and password.

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