BARD Mobile vs BARD Express

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

As many may know, Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) allows users to download copies of available books from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped’s records. With the new service, BARD Express, patrons now have a simpler way of receiving content from the library without it having to go through the mail.

With BARD Express, everything is done from the software. Users may search for books or magazines and download the content to their computer. There is also the Manage Devices option that searches for external drives for the users. BARD Express keeps track of what users have downloaded in its Bookshelf so the talking book files won’t be lumped together with other different file types.
Users had two options to download books and magazines before BARD Express. Users 
could either use the BARD Mobile application used on Android, Kindle and IOS devices, or they could go to the BARD website and then add it to their flash drive to play it on their Talking Book Player. The most difficult part of the latter process is being responsible for managing all of the files. Once the book is downloaded, unless the download destination is already set to the flash drive, users have to search for the file, then transfer it to the flash drive. Searching for the file could be even more of a nightmare if users had many files in their download folder.

BARD Express Bookshelf Unread Items menu

Just like with BARD Mobile, users can add books to their wish list, however the biggest difference between the two programs is that users will not be able to listen to the downloaded content on their computer. The talking book files will only work on a flash drive that is plugged into a talking book player. 

BARD Express Main Menu

Here are some quick break downs. 

BARD Mobile:

Pros Cons
  • Available on all mobile devices(phones/tablets)
  • Downloaded books don’t expire or have to be returned
  • Access to all of the books and magazines in the national collection
  • Play it as soon as finishes downloading
  • Unlimited copies for all users
  • Uses data if not on Wi-Fi
  • Takes up memory space on device
  • It’s not on the Cloud, so it can only be listened to on the device that downloaded it.


BARD Express:

Pros Cons
  • Download books to your computers without using data
  • Extremely easy to use interface
  • It’s a way to use BARD services without a mobile device
  • Can easily be transferred to a travel drive
  • Downloaded books don’t expire or have to be returned
  • Access to all of the books and magazines in the national collection
  • Unlimited copies for the users, so inventory can’t run out
  • Must be transferred to a cartridge or travel drive to listen to materials
  • Only available on Windows OS (for now)


Clint Exum