& Accessories
National Library Service
for the Blind and The Library of Congress
Physically Handicapped Washington, DC 20542
No. : 11-04

Date : September 9, 2011

Subject: National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee recommendations and NLS
responses, 2010

Attached are the recommendations made by the National Audio Equipment

Advisory Committee (NAEAC) members at the annual meeting held
September 15-17, 2010. Following each recommendation is the NLS


For further information contact: John A. Brown
Head, Engineering Section
[log in to unmask]

National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee Members
Consumer representatives
American Council of the Blind Penny Reeder
Blinded Veterans Association Stephen Matthews
National Federation of the Blind Michael Barber
Northern Region John L. Jackson
Western Region Everette Bacon

Network library representatives
Southern Region Pamela Davenport
Northern Region Bernard Harrison
Midlands Region James Buchman
Western Region Amy Ravenholt

Pioneer representatives
Midlands Region Jerry Adamson
Northern Region Joseph Hodgson
Southern Region James Marriner
Western Region Stephen Austin

General Electric Elfun representative
Keith Scammahorn

2010 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee
Recommendations from Network Library Representatives and
NLS Responses
1. We commend NLS on the smooth transition to the digital player. We also
want to commend NLS on how well the player works and how easily patrons
have embraced the new technology. As a committee we didn't come with a
list of complaints to be considered, but instead came with many compliments
and some suggestions.
NLS response (Director):
Thank you.
2. We commend NLS on the great progress that has been made with the BARD
system. We ask that you continue to investigate and improve download speed
in more distant areas, especially western and midwestern regions.
NLS response (Automation):
We are currently investigating this issue.
3. Since BARD has been in operation for over a year, we suggest that NLS
conduct a customer survey to find out exactly how BARD is working for the
patron and how it can be improved.
NLS response (Automation):
We receive comments and feedback on an almost daily basis from patrons via
our BARD e-mail support address, [log in to unmask] These items are
logged, and responses are provided to patrons if a message requires one.
Once the BARD system is fully developed and all NLS network libraries have
taken over BARD administration, we will look into performing such a survey.
4. We suggest that a link be added from the BARD website to Voyager for
users who want a more complex search.
NLS response (Automation):
We will examine the best way to do this. Look for an implementation of this
feature in the near future.

2010 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee
Recommendations from Network Library Representatives and
NLS Responses
5. We recommend that BARD provide more access points to find firmware
upgrades. For example, list upgrades under Most Recently Added, and
make it available-like a book-through a keyword search.
NLS response (Automation):
We are looking into how this could be done without confusing patrons.
It is likely we will make improvements in notification and the structure
of the firmware upgrade notice in the near future.
6. We suggest patrons have the ability to see their "has-hads" on the BARD website.
NLS response (Automation):
This continues to be under consideration.
7. We are pleased that NLS is transitioning the magazines to the digital
cartridges. We encourage NLS to continue to pursue the rapid transition of
magazines as a priority for the coming year. We further recommend that locally
produced magazines meeting multistate quality-assurance standards be placed
on the BARD website.
NLS response (Production Control):
NLS is investigating various scenarios regarding the transition of NLS
magazines to DTB format. Distribution on flash cartridge remains a
NLS response (Quality Assurance):
This will be investigated.

2010 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee
Recommendations from Network Library Representatives and
NLS Responses
8. We suggest that more children's materials be made available on cartridges.
This is especially important because there is a renewed sense of interest by
younger users and will help to promote lifelong readers.
NLS response (Collection Development):
Collection Development staff are pleased to hear that younger readers are
enjoying digital talking books. Since January 2009 all new books selected by
NLS librarians for audio production have been marked for issue as digital
cartridges. Starting in 2004 and thereafter, all audiobooks have been digitally
mastered. An analog-to-digital conversion project that identified ten thousand
analog cassette books for conversion to digital audio has been in progress since
2004 and has been supplemented this year with a contract for sixteen hundred
more titles. Another sixteen hundred titles will follow until all appropriate analog
titles in the NLS back catalog have been converted. Children's and young adult
materials have been proportionately included in annual selections at the rates of
approximately 20 and 8 percent respectively, as well as in retrospective selections.
In establishing priorities for the conversion of older titles for children, prizewinners
such as Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor books have been chosen
as well as time-honored children's classics.
9. We suggest that NLS consider providing straps for the digital players. Straps
could be issued only upon request, and could be a great way to market the NLS
NLS response (Engineering):
NLS will investigate the possibility of providing straps to the digital player as
10. The world is becoming more mobile and patrons want to take advantage of this
technology. As such we encourage NLS to find secure ways to support digital
books on portable devices.
NLS response (Engineering):
NLS is constantly evaluating new technologies and their applications to improve
the talking-book program. As mobile devices and their security standards
continue to evolve, NLS will evaluate them for use in the program.

2010 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee
Recommendations from Network Library Representatives and
NLS Responses
11. We recommend NLS upgrade the player's User Guide to include instructions for
using the Bookshelf function.
NLS response (Materials Development):
This has been done.
12. We want to express thanks to NLS for inviting us and making this such an
enjoyable event. A special thank you is extended to John Brown and Carolyn
NLS response (Engineering):
You are welcome.

2010 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee
Recommendations from Consumers and NLS Responses and
NLS Responses
1. In order to facilitate more broad-based consumer input in a manner
similar to that employed by the Collection Development Advisory
Group, we recommend that NLS solicit representatives for the NAEAC
far enough in advance that their names and contact information can be
published in Talking Book Topics and posted to the BARD-discuss listserv.
NLS response (Engineering):
NLS will investigate the possibility of publishing and posting committee
members information.
2. We recommend that, as the BARD website adds braille to its offerings,
selection of braille, audio, or both media should be a usersettable preference.
NLS response (Automation):
This will be implemented when Web-Braille is brought into BARD,
which is planned for 2011.
3. We recommend that text-to-speech be added to the NLS player, to facilitate
the playing of structured text from sources such as NFB Newsline and
NLS response (Materials Development):
NLS is exploring this enchancement to the NLS player. Text-to-speech
complexity, footprint, quality, and licensing costs must be considered.
4. We recommend that an article be published for wide distribution by
NLS, which summarizes the rapidly evolving state of the transition
from cassette to digital books, written in such a manner as to produce
as little anxiety as possible, but emphasizing that older cassette titles
continue to be available.
NLS response (Publication and Media Section):
This has been done through the publication of the newsletter Flash,
which documented the transition through the launch. The newsletter
is now published when something newsworthy occurs.

2010 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee
Recommendations from Consumers and NLS Responses and
NLS Responses
5. We recommend that an adapter be developed that allows the NLS
player to interface directly with SD cards through its cartridge port.
NLS response (Engineering Section):
NLS has determined that demand for such a device among our patrons would
be low at this time. NLS recommends the purchase of a third-party cartridge
as a personal storage device for NLS books.
6. We recommend that a list of flash drives compatible with the NLS player be
created, maintained, and posted by NLS.
NLS response (Engineering Section):
Because of the widespread adoption of flash technology by an array of
manufacturers, creating and accurately maintaining such a list is not
possible at this time.
NLS briefly attempted this but quickly discovered inconsistencies among
manufacturers' devices. A lack of detailed manufacturer specifications
coupled with the volume of different models available at any given time
prevents such a list from reflecting up-to-date information.
7. In order to prevent accidental movement from one part of a book to another,
we recommend that there be a procedure for locking and unlocking the keys
on the NLS player.
NLS response (Materials Development):
This was considered during the design; however, we did not find a satisfactory
method that balanced ease of operation with prevention from inadvertent
application. NLS engineering will take another look to see if a solution can be

2010 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee
Recommendations from Consumers and NLS Responses and
NLS Responses
8. In order to permit users to mark and return to specific places in a book
when a large number of bookmarks have been set, we recommend that
NLS explore the feasibility of allowing users to navigate to bookmarks by
number. The player would assign unchanging numbers as bookmarks are
entered, and these numbers would be announced as the user navigates to them.
The number announcement could replace the time announcement that the player
currently provides.
NLS response (Materials Development):
The problem occurs when bookmarks are deleted and reinserted. Do the
bookmarks get renumbered? Do the bookmarks get reused? The issue is
not as straightforward as it initially seems, but the problem will be considered
with a low priority.
9. We recommend that NLS reinstitute the "has had" feature on the BARD website.
NLS response (Automation):
This continues to be under consideration.
10. We reiterate that there should be a means for securing the remote control to
prevent it from being accidently dropped.
NLS response (Engineering Section):
The remote control being developed by NLS will have the ability to be secured
by a lanyard clip.
11. To facilitate navigation in books with no significant markup, we recommend
that the longest skip increment in fast-forward and rewind modes be reduced
from one hour to thirty minutes. In addition, we recommend that a "time jump"
level be added to the advanced player's navigation-menu key. The length of
the jump could be configurable.
NLS response (Materials Development):
These issues were examined in detail during the design phase. Many aspects
of usability were traded off, including discoverability, complexity, and usability.
The current scheme was determined to give the best balance. Books now being
converted from analog to digital will have more markup, which will help.

2010 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee
Recommendations from Consumers and NLS Responses and
NLS Responses
12. The committee would like to see page numbers in all books. In order
to move toward this goal, we would like to know whether there is a
trade-off between the addition of page-number markup and the number
of audiobooks produced by NLS, and the magnitude of this trade-off.
NLS response (Materials Development):
NLS will mark appropriate books with page numbers. There is little point
in marking up books with no reference to pages. Page markup is expensive
and would incur a waste of resources that would otherwise be used to
produce more books.
NLS response (Production Control):
With present production systems, adding page numbers to every digital
book would decrease the number of titles produced by 15-25 percent,
depending on the mix of books. Our present procedures call for page
numbers only on specific titles (e.g., cookbooks) where this feature is
considered necessary. If page numbers on every book (including novels)
is deemed necessary, new production systems could be developed, but the
development costs must be justified by the need.
13. The consumer subcommittee wishes to express its appreciation to the NLS
staff, especially Lloyd Rasmussen, Judy Dixon, and Carolyn Proctor, for their
assistance during our deliberative process.
NLS response (The above):
You are quite welcome.

2010 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee
Recommendations from Volunteer Repair Committee
and NLS Responses
1. Establish an e-group for volunteers centered on DTBM repair.
NLS responses (Engineering Section):
NLS will investigate establishment of an e-group for volunteer repair in
addition to other forms of electrical communication to maintain current
DTBM-repair information.
2. Develop, produce, and distribute DTBM-specific training material,
preferably in video format.
NLS response (Engineering Section):
NLS has developed training materials, available online at
nls/digitalbooktraining, which cover basic aspects of inspection and maintenance.
In addition to this existing material, NLS is working on the production of video
clips demonstrating various repair procedures. When complete, these clips will
be available online at
3. Monitor DTBM failure rates and consider the establishment of regional/
centralized repair center(s) for DTBMs if the quantities and rates do not
warrant maintaining local repair facilities. The need for PC's to be determined
at this time.
NLS response (Engineering Section):
NLS is currently tracking the repair activities of machines that are returned for
warranty repair. This information will be used to determine how best to manage
repair operations for machines once the warranty has expired. Until the scope of
non-warranty repairs becomes clear, MLAs will be asked to send machines for
non-warranty repair to their established repair groups, and NLS will provide
the parts and tools necessary to service the machine.

2010 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee
Recommendations from Volunteer Repair Committee
and NLS Responses
4. When replacing circuit boards in the DTBM, repair technicians will need to
enter machine serial numbers into the memory. There appears to be no
mechanism for doing this and that needs to be added.
NLS response (Engineering Section):
At this time, NLS does not envision a need for repair groups to replace circuit
boards in the machines. However, should the need arise in the future, there is a
software-controlled procedure for setting the serial number on a circuit board.
5. There are several updates needed in the DTBM service manual, including
documentation of the spacer between USB harnesses, speaker removal and
replacement, and recent updates with serial number correlation, as in the C1
Effectivity List (C1 Service Manual).
NLS response (Engineering Section):
NLS is compiling a list of changes to the service manual for inclusion in the
next revision. Repair groups will be notified when the next revision is
6. Are USB plugs going to be required in the side USB ports? If so, will NLS
be able to meet the demand for them, since this is likely to be a high-volume
replacement part.
NLS response (Engineering Section):
The AT-port cover will be required for successful checkout of a machine prior
to being issued to a patron. NLS will maintain a sufficient stock level of this part
to fill demand.

2010 National Audio Equipment Advisory Committee
Recommendations from Volunteer Repair Committee
and NLS Responses
7. Supply repair groups with magnifier lamps for use in inspection of both C1
and DTB machines.
NLS response (Engineering Section):
Table-mounted magnifying lamps are currently available from NLS. Because
of the limited supply we ask groups to request only one lamp per shop.
8. Please schedule next year's NAEAC meeting in September-this seems to be
the ideal timeframe for this meeting.
NLS response (Engineering Section):
NLS agrees and will make every effort to keep the meeting in September.
9. Please investigate the use of the LC shuttle for morning as well as afternoon
transportation between the hotel and NLS. This might result in a cost savings.
NLS response (Materials Development):
This was recommended at the April 2003 meeting. Unfortunately, it presents a
number of problems. At the request of NLS, the LC Transportation unit did a
dry run approximately two weeks prior to the meeting from the Courtyard by
Marriott to NLS, which determined that the shuttle driver would have to leave
the main building on Capitol Hill before 7:00 a.m. to arrive at the hotel by at least
7:30 a.m., requiring NLS to pay the driver overtime for three days in the morning
and two days in the afternoon. In addition, the travel time from the hotel to
NLS was approximately ninety minutes. All NAEAC members who use the
hotel are reimbursed for travel costs from the hotel to NLS. The alternative is
to use a hotel on Capitol Hill, near the main building; however, NLS would still
incur the overtime costs for the morning and afternoon.
10. Congratulations to the NLS staff for a successful project. We believe the DTBM
will serve our patrons well.
NLS response (Director):
Thank you.