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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)

Beginning Thursday, April 30, 2009.

NLS has hosted a pilot site for the downloading of books for the blind and visually impaired. NLS appreciates all who have participated in the pilot test. Your feedback has allowed them to continuously improve the original site and to look into many expansions, such as the inclusion of braille books. The pilot phase has ended, and a new site has been launched.

Users who know their passwords to the original pilot site will be able to log on to the new site; users who rely on their browsers to remember their passwords will need new ones (follow instructions in Section II). All user accounts have been migrated to the new system, so you do not need to reapply. All materials previously downloaded will remain usable, so you will not need to redownload your reading material.

This message from NLS describes what’s new about BARD and explains what steps must be taken to access the site. Please read the entire message carefully.

Section I. What’s different about BARD:

  1. Unlimited downloading. The BARD service will no longer limit the number of books and magazines that you may download. Any account holder may download any item at any time. During heavy demand, however, NLS may limit the number of simultaneous downloads for each account.
  2. New logon page. The site login uses a form rather than a dialog box. It is the same type of logon found on most internet pages and should be immediately familiar to users of other sites. This is an important note for screen-reader users.
  3. Better search results. BARD searches will yield more effective results. The use of multiple search terms will return only results containing all of the terms.
  4. “Most Popular Books” list. By selecting the “Most Popular Book” link from the home page, users may access a list of the top twenty most downloaded books on the BARD service in the last ninety days. Fiction and nonfiction titles will be listed separately.
  5. Redesigned magazine section. The “Recently Added Magazines” link will now display links to only the most recent issue of each magazine. Magazines older than one year may be accessed from each title’s magazine archive. Links to the archive are at the bottom of each magazine’s page.

Section II. Take the following steps to access the site:

  1. You must know your login ID and password from the pilot site to log on to the new site. For all users, your login ID is your email address.
  2. If you know your login ID and password, you will not need to do anything. Simply access the new site.
  3. If you have forgotten your password, you must obtain a new one before you can log on to the new site. Since the new site has a different address from the pilot site, you cannot rely on your web browser to automatically log in to BARD.
  4. If you do not know your password but you are able to automatically log on to the pilot site because your browser knows your password, you must choose a new password. To do so, select the link “Update My Settings” from the site home page. From the settings page, select the first link, “Change Your Password.” Enter your new password twice, and then select the “Change Password” button. Remember this new password to access BARD.
  5. If you cannot log on to the site because you do not know your password, you may have a new one sent to you. Click this link to access the password recovery page. Enter your email address and then select the “Send Me a New Password” button. A new temporary password will be generated and sent to your email address. Once you retrieve the password, log on to the site and choose your new password. Remember this new password to access BARD.
  6. If for some reason you are not able to use any of these options, please send a request for a new password to Because of the large number of requests, please expect your new password within two business days.
Click this link to visit the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) website from NLS:

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