Humanities E-Book
The Online Collection
Developed By Scholars


ACLS Humanities E-Book (HEB) is an online collection of around 5,000 books of high quality in the humanities, accessible through institutional and individual subscription. HEB is available to entire campus communities. Using any web browser, faculty, students, staff and library patrons of subscribing institutions can view and search the HEB collection from campus offices, libraries, dorms and remotely when off-campus. An institutional subscription to HEB includes unlimited, simultaneous multi-user access from any Internet-connected location.

Important for both its content and its usefulness as a research tool, HEB currently reaches a combined FTE of several million. The HEB collection is also now available to individuals through their membership in any of the 74 ACLS constituent learned societies for a low annual fee.

The HEB collection allows users to perform keyword and Boolean searches, search full-text across all titles in the collection, in selected titles or by select series, by author and title, as well as by Library of Congress subject headings for highly accurate results. Users may also access online book reviews from the major journals.

The HEB collection offers a user-friendly interface that features well-formatted text and hypertext links for efficient navigation.

Usage statistics by title are tracked by the University of Michigan and are available to participating libraries and ACLS Humanities E-Book, which shares these statistics with publishers and authors when reporting royalties. Instructions for accessing usage statistics are available on the For Librarians page. Fair-use rights and restrictions apply to printing and downloading.

HEB Titles

HEB incorporates two different types of electronic books: digitized versions of already-published titles presented as page-image scans and XML-encoded titles.

Page-Image Titles

Each year, several hundred already-published titles are converted into digital format to create a core group of books that expand this central electronic publishing space. These titles are presented as exact page images of the print book; it is also possible to access this content as OCR-derived text and in PDF format.

Titles included are especially valuable, time-tested books, regularly consulted and cited by scholars and students. The criteria for inclusion in the collection stress a title’s importance to humanistic studies, not its print status.

XML Titles

HEB continues to produce a select list of new titles in XML format. Among these are several born-digital titles that take full advantage of new media. See the XML Titles page for a list of all XML books currently available online or in production and development.

New XML titles feature links to additional resources, enhanced illustrations, as well as video and sound in appropriate titles. High-res illustrations in certain titles may also be studied more closely through special image-viewing software housed at the University of Michigan. Several titles offer direct links to web-based digital archives so that the reader can access many of the original source documents used by the author.

The HEB Collection

Together, the digitized page-image titles and new XML e-books comprise the HEB collection. Over 10,000 titles have now been reviewed and selected for possible conversion into electronic format. A List of Titles to which we have secured electronic rights is available online. See the growing List of Publishers who have contributed titles to the collection.

A distinctive and especially valuable feature of this collection is that all the works in this space are searchable as a collection and in depth: such an integrated electronic series greatly enhances the value of the aggregation to users and goes beyond the sum of its individual titles.

In addition, HEB includes the important reviews of these titles through links to other sites, including JSTOR and Project MUSE, expanding the context of the discussion.

Expanding the Collection

The collection was never intended as a fixed canon but as an expanding library. We are now working closely with thirty participating learned societies to assist them in identifying new fields and appropriate titles for electronic publication and to encourage an expanding HEB collection. We also identify and seek out prize-winning scholarly works for inclusion on a regular basis.

Finally, HEB has asked the authors of our XML titles to provide us with a list of works that have framed the conceptual and factual background of their own study. Once these lists are determined, HEB makes every effort to include them within the collection, linking to this related bibliography from the newly-created XML title.

If you would like to suggest a title or a list of titles for inclusion in HEB, send an e-mail to Collection Development, providing as much information as possible including the full title, author, publisher, publication date, the major reasons for including it and any additional information that you consider helpful. We also encourage any constituent ACLS learned society with a humanities focus to contact us about possible collaboration.