Humanities E-Book
The Online Collection
Developed By Scholars

About Humanities E-Book

ACLS Humanities E-Book (HEB) is an online collection of over 5,400 books of high quality in the humanities and related social sciences, accessible through institutional subscription. HEB is available to entire campus communities. Effective as of the end of 2019, management and administration of Humanities E-Book has been transferred to the University of Michigan.


In 1998 and 1999, forecasting that books would soon follow journals into online distribution and access, the The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded two electronic monograph initiatives, one being the History E-Book¹ project. By June 1999 the Mellon Foundation funded the project with a $3-million, five-year grant to be managed by the American Council of Learned Societies. Additional funding for the project came from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. The collection was launched online in 2002. Original partners who aided in the early development of the collection include the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, the Renaissance Society of America, the Society for the History of Technology, and the Middle East Studies Association. To learn more about the ACLS societies, visit

ACLS societies which participate in curating the collection provide title recommendations and vet titles offered for inclusion by individual authors or publishers. HEB’s collection contains many titles which hold awards from ACLS societies, as well as other notable prizes such as the National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, Choice awards, among others.

From a press release by ACLS Vice President James Shulman on the transfer of HEB to the University of Michigan,

“The Humanities E-Book project began in 2002 as an effort to understand what the digital turn would mean for long-form publishing in the humanities. It was started with a Mellon grant used to explore the demand for digital resources which has turned into a successful platform for access and distribution in the social sciences and humanities. Consequently, it has evolved into a service in which curation of scholarly publications in collaboration with ACLS societies has led to a 5,000+ eBook collection, with a revenue-sharing relationship with the rights holders (based on the usage of the contributed works). Since 2005, HEB been distributing the collection via Michigan Publishing; over the past year, the collection has been migrated to Fulcrum, a Mellon supported open source publishing platform created by Michigan.

Michigan Publishing’s goals for the project are exceedingly well aligned with ACLS’s, this is veiled as a logical next step in the evolution of HEB.  The project will continue to serve the broad community of scholarly communications in the humanities by making available a meaningfully curated collection of electronic books.”