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NLS: That All May Read

What's New? 2012

What's New? is an annual update for those already familiar with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). It describes the most recent developments in the NLS program. Please contact your cooperating network library to request any item mentioned, unless otherwise indicated.

BARD Updates

Web-Braille. With the next upgrade to the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD), users will notice some significant changes—most notably, the presence of electronic braille materials. While the goal of this modification is to incorporate braille materials, NLS will also introduce some new pages and features that will provide more types of materials and enhance the user experience. Web-Braille users should note that Web-Braille materials will continue to be accessible through active links in the NLS catalog as well as through the web version of Braille Book Review. Once the merger is complete users will be prompted to enter their BARD username and password when they access Web-Braille materials from these locations. Those who have not registered for the BARD service will need to do so. Go to https://nlsbard.loc.gov/cgi-bin/public/nlsbardprod/accountrequest.cgi?libcode= and complete the online application.

New web pages. Throughout BARD braille listings will always follow audio listings with the exception of those in each user's individual wish and download history lists, where the formats will be comingled. Whenever braille materials are available a Skip to Braille link at the top of the page will take users directly to the braille results.

Another change that users will notice is the alteration of all summary pages. The download links have been removed from the summary pages and replaced with links to details about each title. Every book and magazine title now has its own details page, which features all of the information from the summary page and includes some additional bulleted notes such as navigation information for audiobooks, the transcribing agency for braille books, and the producer (for both braille and audio titles), as well as other information from the NLS catalog. Each title's details page will also feature links to other books by the same author, other books read by the same narrator (audiobooks), other books in the same subject, and other books in the same series (if the title is part of a series). Below the bulleted notes users will find the link to download the title and a link to add the title to their wish list.

Foreign-language and music materials. Other updates to BARD include pages with new braille and audio materials for download, such as foreign-language books and music books and scores; a customizable wish list that allows users to store and access titles that they want to download later; and a download history feature that displays a list of all of the titles a user has downloaded.

Digital Materials

Digital Talking-Book Machines

If you haven't received your new free digital talking-book player, please contact your local library. The player comes in standard and advanced models and offers a variety of features to enhance reading. It will be useful as NLS makes the changes described below.

Digital magazines. Later this year, NLS will begin providing audio magazines on cartridge. Each person's monthly magazines will be consolidated onto one cartridge. Weekly magazines will be distributed on weekly cartridges, which will also contain monthly magazines as applicable. Individual magazines on these cartridges can be read using the player's bookshelf mode. Magazine cartridges will be labeled in print and braille with the word "Magazines" and the issue date. The mailing container of the magazine cartridge will be maroon in color and is designed to be distinguishable by touch from the book container. Patrons will be required to return cartridges.

Digital books. All new books added to the collection are available as digital books. Most digital talking books will fit on one cartridge and are produced with navigation features used by NLS players. The NLS International Union Catalog record for each digital book includes a reference to the number of mark-up levels and navigation points.

Noteworthy recent additions to the collection include the 75th anniversary edition of The Joy of Cooking (2006) in audio (DB 64227, 122 hours and 16 minutes) and braille (BR 17462, 30 volumes). The Bible in Spanish in audio, Sagrada Biblia (DB 68999, 111 hours and 10 minutes), and The University of Chicago Spanish-English/English-Spanish Dictionary (1985) in braille (BRF0010, 27 volumes on Web-Braille) also were added. Through the generosity of the Economist Group in London we have acquired permission to post a full audio edition of The Economist magazine on BARD each week, which is professionally produced in the United Kingdom. (The Economist will be available on cartridge when the magazine program transitions to a digital cartridge circulation system later this year.)

Music Materials

The new titles added this year to the NLS music collection—which come from contractual arrangements, gifts, and purchases, domestic and international, and are in braille, recorded, and large-print formats—are too numerous and too diverse to detail. A sampling follows.

Braille. We have added new transcriptions of Sarasate's Carmen Concert Fantasy, op. 25; Mendelssohn's Fantasy, op. 28; and the Boogie Woogie Hanon, all for piano. For organ, Handel's Concerto in F Major; for flute, Telemann's Douze Fantaisies; for violin, Bruch's Romance in A minor; and The First Book of Soprano Solos.

Additions to the growing collection of digital braille scores on Web-Braille continue unabated. These come from new transcriptions and scans of existing scores in the collection. The 1,900 titles now constitute 10 percent of our complete holdings.

Audio. New audio titles include opera commentary on Handel's Rodelinda and Britten's Peter Grimes and The Turn of the Screw, as well as more than 100 new titles for guitar, piano, and flute from Bill Brown. Two new instructional audio courses for keyboard are How to Play the Blues and Diminished Chord Progressions.

Large print. We have added the choral parts to the Mozart Requiem and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, fourth movement.

New opera librettos, both embossed and digital braille, include Verdi's Nabucco and Attila, Philip Glass's Satyagraha, Prokofiev's The Gambler, and Janáček's Kat'a Kabanova.

Publications and Media

Beginning with the July–August 2012 issue, Talking Book Topics will list 500 titles. The expansion is the result of a backlog of unannounced titles from the increased production of digital books in 2010. One-line annotations will be used in lieu of full descriptions to keep the page count and printing costs in line. Notices of violence, strong language, or explicit descriptions of sex; book length in hours and minutes; and other such pertinent information will still be provided.

Digital Talking Books Plus 2011 will be available in large print and online this summer. The large-print and online versions of For Younger Readers 2010–2011 and the braille and online versions of Braille Books 2009–2010 will be released this fall. The braille, online, and recorded versions of For Younger Readers 2008–2009 are available.

Consumer Input

NLS receives information and advice on its program through two standing committees: the Collection Development Advisory Group and the National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee. If you have ideas on the development of the NLS book collection or on playback equipment, contact your consumer organization or your local library for the name of your representatives on these committees.

In addition, your comments and suggestions concerning the NLS program are always welcome. Address them to the NLS consumer relations officer at the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, or e-mail jdix@loc.gov, telephone (202) 707-0722, or fax (202) 707-0712. Requests sent through the U.S. Postal Service may be considerably delayed.

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Posted on 2013-06-28