Michigan Publishing has received $750,000 in support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to re-envision the American Council of Learned Societies Humanities E-Book Collection (ACLS HEB) on its open source Fulcrum publishing platform.
ACLS HEB is a collection of over 5,500 backlist books carefully selected by ACLS scholars from leading scholarly publishers, including university and society presses. Such scholar-led curation is unique among ebook collections and has made ACLS HEB a core resource for more than 800 academic libraries of all sizes for almost 20 years.
The Foundation’s generous investment will strengthen Fulcrum’s capacity to support large collections of ebooks. The focus will be on developing new ways to explore the corpus, richer usage reporting, and interoperability with other tools and platforms. The two-year grant also supports a program of research and engagement aimed at enriching ACLS HEB’s value to publishers, learned societies, and libraries.
“Interinstitutional collaborations are necessary for building out a digital publishing infrastructure,” notes Patricia Hswe, program officer for scholarly communications at The Foundation. “We are pleased to support the University of Michigan and other organizations with a publishing mission in such an effort.”
The partnership between ACLS and Michigan to host the collection dates back to 2005. It deepened in 2019 when ACLS transferred all operations to Michigan while remaining deeply involved in ACLS HEB’s governance and the selection of new titles. “This support for Michigan’s team bridges today and tomorrow,” ACLS Vice President James Shulman noted, “Further development of Fulcrum will enrich the user experience of the existing collection while expanding the platform’s capacity to host new models for longform humanistic works.”
A strong connection to libraries has been central to ACLS HEB’s growth. To keep the collection relevant and affordable in the changing ebook environment, Michigan has partnered with LYRASIS, a non-profit library technology and services organization, to provide a single channel for collection sales, licensing, and customer support. LYRASIS also will research and identify emerging community needs related to ACLS HEB.