Humanities E-Book
The Online Collection
Developed By Scholars

About Humanities E-Book


ACLS Humanities E-Book (ACLS HEB) is an online collection of over 5,400 books of high quality in the humanities and related social sciences, accessible through institutional subscription. ACLS HEB is available to entire campus communities. In 2019, management and administration of Humanities E-Book was transferred to Michigan Publishing, a division of the University of Michigan Library.


Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

The ACLS Humanities E-Book Collection (ACLS HEB) is a collaboration between the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), Michigan Publishing, and the Fulcrum publishing platform. There are three main areas in which ACLS and Michigan Publishing have worked together to improve diversity and inclusion for the ACLS HEB collection: through improving the accessibility of the platform; through introducing diversity criteria into collection development; and through experimenting with open access models that increase equitable access.

ACLS HEB has taken deliberate steps to acquire titles that embrace and engage communities historically overlooked by the academy, especially communities of color. We encourage the learned society scholars who nominate titles for inclusion to think broadly about the types of works they suggest and the range of publishers these come from. We also encourage development of certain subject areas that connect with pedagogy around diversity and inclusion, such as LGBTQ+ and hip hop studies.

The work of diversity, equity, and inclusion is never done. ACLS HEB will continue to develop strategies that improve equitable access to our publications and always welcomes feedback as to how we can do better.

For more information on DEIA at Michigan Publishing, please visit:

For more information on DEIA at ACLS, please visit:

For more information on the accessibility of Fulcrum, please visit:



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.”