BTBL Descriptive Video Service (DVS)

What is descriptive video?

Descriptive videos are movies that have a second audio track with a narrator's voice describing the action on the screen during breaks in the dialog and sound effects. The Braille and Talking Book Library (BTBL) offers both DVD and VHS collections of descriptive videos that patrons may borrow for a two-week checkout.

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How do I sign up to borrow videos?

You must complete a separate "Descriptive Video Borrower Registration Form" before you can use our descriptive video service. Either complete the online Descriptive Video Borrower Registration Form or contact BTBL and request that a print Descriptive Video Borrower Registration Form be mailed. You must be a current BTBL patron in good standing to be able to sign up for videos.

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How do I order videos?

Once you have signed up, videos may be requested in the same way you request books: in person, by telephone, by mail, by email or through the online Braille and Talking Book Library Catalog. There is no limit to the number of requests patrons may place on file for future loan. The first available descriptive video on a borrower's request list will be sent automatically each time a title is returned.

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List of videos

How do I search online for videos?

To view a complete list of all descriptive videos:

  • Step 1: Go to our online Braille and Talking Book Library Catalog.
  • Step 2: Using the "Advanced Search" page, for "Criteria 1" choose "BookNumber" from the drop down box.
  • Step 3: In the text box next to the drop down box, type "DV", but do not click the "Browse" button. Instead click the "Submit Search" button.

Search for specific descriptive videos (DVD or VHS):

  • Step 1: Go to our online Braille and Talking Book Library Catalog.
  • Step 2: On the "Basic Search" page, a search term must be typed into the "Search for:" box.
  • Step 3: To limit your search term to display only items from our descriptive video collection, under "Search Options" change the "Media:" type from "All Media" to either "DVD Descriptive Video" or "VHS Descriptive Video". Then click the "Submit Search" button.

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How long can I keep the videos?

The loan period is 14 days. There will be no renewals. Patrons may borrow one descriptive video title in each medium at a time. Patrons may not check out another descriptive video title until the currently checked out title is returned to the library.

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How do I return the videos?

Descriptive video titles should be mailed back to the Braille and Talking Book Library after viewing by turning over the mailing card so the Library's address is facing up. Videos should be delivered into the hands of the Postal Service, do not leave videos on your doorstep.

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What equipment do I need to play the videos?

You need a television with DVD player or a computer with a DVD player to watch descriptive videos on DVD. You need a television with VCR player to watch descriptive videos on VHS. No other special equipment is required. BTBL does not loan televisions, DVD, or VCR players; just the videos.

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How do I select the descriptive track on DVDs?

At present, more than half of our DVD collection is fully accessible (the movie will play the descriptive track automatically). The films that do not begin automatically with narration upon insertion are noted as such in our catalogs. To locate the DVS track on non-accessible DVDs, usually found under Languages or Set-up Menus, assistance from a sighted friend or family member may be helpful. Some patrons have found that for some DVDs, once the film has begun playing, pressing the "Audio" button repeatedly on their DVD player's remote control will help select the DVS track. We have also conducted limited testing of screen-reader software and found that the visual menus for DVDs are not accessible with JAWS for Windows (version 10) or WindowEyes (version 7.5) software. Later versions of these software programs *may* yield better results.

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What do I do if a video is damaged?

If a DVD or VHS is damaged, return it to us promptly and contact BTBL to let us know what happened.

How do I avoid damage to DVDs?

The DVDs are exactly like CDs, they are small, round, fragile, thin plastic discs. Each disc fits tightly in its mailing container; either use your fingers on the edges of the DVD to gently dislodge it, or gently push with your thumb on the small circular center of the disc to pop it out of its container.

  1. Permanent damage occurs when the surface of a DVD is scratched
  2. Handle DVDs by the edges
  3. Avoid dropping them
  4. Magnetic or electromagnetic fields may damage videos: avoid placing videos on TV sets, speakers, or near electric motors.
  5. Avoid dust, dirt, food, liquids and condensation

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How do I avoid damage to VHS tapes?

The VHS videos are large, fragile tapes constructed from plastic. Use them only in a clean VCR, as old and dirty machines may result in permanent damage. Extreme temperature conditions are not good for videos. Please do not leave them in cars or place them near heaters, stoves, etc. In cold weather, allow videos to warm to room temperature before inserting in your player.

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  1. Avoid dropping them
  2. Magnetic or electromagnetic fields may damage videos: avoid placing videos on TV sets, speakers, or near electric motors.
  3. Avoid dust, dirt, food, liquids and condensation

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When are you going to get more videos?

After a period of implementation of this new service and an assessment of its success, we will be determining how and when to purchase additional videos or replacement copies of damaged videos. The videos that BTBL has to offer now were purchased with a special $10,000 grant from Sacramento's Kelly Foundation.

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Where are the videos inTalking Book Topics?

Videos from BTBL will never appear in Talking Book Topics (TBT) or Braille Book Review(BBR). The videos from BTBL are a local collection only available to BTBL patrons. TBTand BBR are bi-monthly magazines published by the National Library Service. Since videos are a part of BTBL's collection, and not the National Library Service's collection, you will never see our videos advertised in these publications.

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Thank you Kelly Foundation!

Thanks to a special $10,000 grant from Sacramento's Kelly Foundation we have been able to purchase described movies and circulation accessories in order to create this inaugural collection. We are grateful to the Kelly Foundation and to the California State Library Foundation for their continuous support and management of BTBL funds. We hope this new service is successful and that we will find opportunities to purchase new descriptive video titles to add to the collection in future months and years.

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What is the official DVS Loan Policy?

Loan Policy

  1. Borrowers must be registered and active patrons in good standing with the Braille and Talking Book Library.
  2. All borrowers must complete a Descriptive Video Borrower Registration Form.
  3. Patrons may borrow one descriptive video title in each medium at a time. Patrons may not check out another descriptive video title until the currently checked out title is returned to the library.
  4. The loan period is 14 days. There will be no renewals.
  5. Videos may be requested in the same way you request books: in person, by telephone, by email or through the online Braille and Talking Book Library Catalog. There is no limit to the number of requests patrons may place on file for future loan. The first available descriptive video on a borrower's request list will be sent automatically each time a title is returned.
  6. Videos loaned to individuals are for personal use only, and are not intended for group viewing. Videos may be loaned to organizations or groups, including nursing homes, libraries, schools or teachers solely for viewing by individuals eligible for BTBL services. Patrons or institutions may not charge fees for anyone attending a showing of any descriptive videos loaned by the Braille and Talking Book Library.
  7. Due to high demand, descriptive video titles may not be reserved for special dates.
  8. VHS format videocassette tapes should be rewound before being returned to the library. DVDs should be returned as is; there is nothing to rewind.
  9. Descriptive video titles should be mailed back to the Braille and Talking Book Library after viewing by turning over the mailing card so the Library's address is facing up. Descriptive VHS videocassettes and DVDs may be mailed free of charge when "Free Matter for the Blind" is imprinted on each container's mailing card.
  10. Abuse of the video lending service, including but not limited to, violation of Loan Policy item 6. above, repeated overdues, lost materials, or damaged tapes and discs may result in suspension of video service to a borrower.

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