by Susan Povinelli
From the Editor: This article is reprinted from the winter 2014 issue of The Focus, the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Alabama. This is an excellent review of an equally excellent application for the family of iOS products. Here is Susan’s article:
The Library of Congress released its BARD Mobile app last fall. For me it has simplified the downloading process and has become my favorite app. I can quickly search for books and download directly to my iPhone. No longer do I have to download the zipped files to my computer, unzip them, and upload them to my Victor Stream before I can read them. What a bother.
Here is some guidance on getting started. Once you have installed the app from the App Store and entered in your current password, you are ready to find books and read. There are four tabs at the bottom of your screen. They are (left to right): “Bookshelf,” “Get Books,” “Settings,” and “Now Reading.”
The first thing we need to do is to find a book to download. Double-tap on the “Get Books” tab. The choices inside that tab are “Wish list,” “Recently added titles,” “Audio books,” “Audio magazines,” “Braille books,” “Braille magazines,” “BARD website,” and “Browse BARD.” If you don’t have a book in mind, double-tap on “Recently added titles.” Then double-tap on audio books. This will bring up a list of books added in the last thirty days. You can move through the list by right-flicking. Following each title is a “More info” button; double-tap the “More info” button. It will display the book title, author, annotation, narrator, total time, book number, and a “Download” button. Double-tap the back button to go back to the book list if you don’t want this book.
Once you find the book you want, double-tap the “Download” button. The app will announce that it is downloading the book and the percentage of the download that has been completed. When downloading is complete, a chime will ring, and you must then dismiss the message by double-tapping on the “OK” button.
Double-tap the “Audio book back” button and return to the list to search for another book. If you know the title or the author, double-tap on “Browse BARD.” Right-flick to find the text field, double-tap in the text field to activate, then type your title, author, or subject. Double-tap the “Done” button. Double-tap the “Go” button. This will bring up the number of Braille and audio books that contain your search terms. Double-tap on audio books, and a list of books will appear. Right-flick until you find the book you want. Each book offers two choices. Right-flick to “Add to my wish list” for future reading, or to the “Download” button to download. Of course, flicking does not activate the button; you must do a double-tap to press it.
Now that you have downloaded the books you wish to read, it is time to read them. Double-tap “Bookshelf,” right-flick to “Audio books,” double-tap and a list of books will appear. Double-tap the book title you wish to read. You then will be on the “Now reading” page. Select the play button. You can stop reading by double-tapping on the “Stop” button.
Once you have completed the book, you can delete it by going to “Bookshelf,” double-tap the edit button, right-flick until you get to the desired book, flick upward. It will say “Delete.” Double-tap and the book will be selected for deleting. Double-tap on the “Done” button.
An excellent tutorial for using this app can be found on YouTube at <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLzZvPdJ7dU>. I hope you find the time to read all the books you found. It seems I add more books to my bookshelf than I finish.