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Senator John McCain leaves enduring legacy

Courtesy of Library of Congress.

On Saturday, August 25, Senator John McCain died at the age of 81, according to a statement released by his office. Just one day prior, the McCain family had also released a statement explaining his decision to end treatment for glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. McCain had been in treatment for over a year.

Though he may be known by younger generations as the 2008 Republican presidential candidate who ran against Barack Obama, McCain’s legacy began years prior, during his time serving as a naval aviator during the Vietnam War. Held as a prisoner of war for nearly six years, he was later hailed as a ‘war hero’ by his fellow Americans.

‘Shot down over Hanoi, suffering broken arms and a shattered leg, he was subjected to solitary confinement for two years and beaten frequently,’ the New York Times wrote in McCain’s obituary. ‘Often he was suspended by ropes lashing his arms behind him. He attempted suicide twice. His weight fell to 105 pounds. He rejected early release to keep his honor and to avoid an enemy propaganda coup or risk demoralizing his fellow prisoners.’

After returning to the United States, McCain settled in Arizona and began his political career, winning two terms in the House of Representatives and six in the Senate. In 2000, he unsuccessfully pursued the Republican presidential nomination to George W. Bush; in 2008, he and running-mate Sarah Palin were beat by Obama and Joe Biden, winning 46 percent of the popular vote.

As CNN notes, McCain was ‘a throwback to an earlier era when political leaders, without betraying their own ideology, were willing on occasion to cross partisan lines.’

For more information on these topics, view our full collection of titles, including Military History and General American History. 



The Pro-War Movement: Domestic Support for the Vietnam War and the Making of Modern American Conservatism
By Sandra Scanlon: Read 
Vietnam's Forgotten Army: Heroism and Betrayal in the Arvm
By Andrew Wiest: Read
One Hundred Years of Sea Power: The U.S. Navy 1890-1990
By George W. Baer: Read
Constitutionalism & Democracy: Transitions in the Contemporary World
Edited by Douglas Greenberg, Stanley N. Katz, Melanie Beth Oliviero, Steven C. Wheatley: Read
The Obama Victory: How Media, Money, and Message Shaped the 2008 Election
By Kate Kenski, Bruce W. Hardy, Kathleen Hall Jamieson: Read

HEB offering webinar on Fulcrum

On Thursday, August 16, Humanities E-Book (HEB) will be offering an informative webinar for all subscribers on the new functions and offerings available since the switch to Fulcrum on August 1. The “Fulcrum Demo” will begin at 3 p.m. ET and will be moderated by Subscriptions Manager Clare Doyle and National Academic Library Account Manager Lee Walton.

HEB’s launch on Fulcrum has seen praise from subscribers who are pleased with the improved functionality of the platform. Subscribers are also glad that the former platform will remain active through the end of September in order to make the transition easier.

Anyone with questions or suggestions are encouraged to email Please click this link to sign up for Thursday’s demo.

A winning combination: HEB and Fulcrum

August 1, 2018 — Humanities E-Book (HEB) subscribers will notice a difference in the platform’s appearance and functionality with the launch of our collection on Fulcrum, a publishing platform and set of hosting and publishing services developed by Michigan Publishing.

According to the Fulcrum website, “Fulcrum has been developed by a group of campus-based publishers working closely with disciplinary faculty and information science specialists who recognize the changing nature of scholarly publishing in the humanities and qualitative social sciences.”

Development of the platform was supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and implemented by the University of Michigan Library and Press. Along with HEB, partners of this project include Northwestern University Press, Penn State University Press, University of Minnesota Press, Lever Press, New York University Press, and Indiana University Press.


Founded in 1999 and launched in 2002, HEB has always prioritized giving backlist titles a second life within a sustainable digital environment. With the development of increasingly intuitive and user-friendly digital capabilities over the past nearly 20 years, primarily through a partnership with University of Michigan Press, which began on July 30, 2005, users have enjoyed a combination of high-quality content and technology.

For more than a decade the two groups had used a system called the Digital Library Extension Service, which was created as part of the University of Michigan’s digital library initiative system. As technology and scholars’ needs evolved, however, HEB aimed to present the most innovative platform possible.


Learn more about our three shared values here.

As always, HEB aims to provide its subscribers and users the best experience in these main areas:

  • Innovation: After a lengthy development process to enhance user experience, HEB’s new platform will feature enhanced media and supplemental materials, chapters available for download, and annotation tools that will streamline the research process.
  • Engagement: An ever-changing digital landscape means continuing to make it easy for users to access content, whether that be on a desktop computer or mobile device. Fulcrum and its partners have aimed to grow engagement through establishing EPUB 3 as its core standard and enlisting the Michigan State University Usability/Research and Consulting Group to audit platform design.
  • Longevity: HEB’s commitment to providing long-term access to humanities titles will be further strengthened by Fulcrum, which will provide access to our collection and allow for evolution in the future.

Read about the award-winning titles being added to our collection here

Find out which subject areas will be seeing new titles.
Read up on the newest special series joining HEB’s title list.

Northwestern University Press
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Penn State University Press
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University of Minnesota Press
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Lever Press
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University of Michigan Press
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NYU Press
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Indiana University Press
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A Platform Built on Shared Values: Reflecting on the Fulcrum/HEB Partnership

Contributed by Charles Watkinson, Associate University Librarian, Publishing, University of Michigan Library

There has been a lot of discussion within the library community recently about the relationship between the technology we use to host and deliver content and our shared values as a non-profit, mission-driven community. Elsevier’s 2017 acquisition of the bepress publishing and repository platform shed a spotlight on concerns that had been bubbling for a while, and a day-long pre-conference to the Library Publishing Forum in May 2018 entitled “Owned by the Academy: A Preconference on Open Source Publishing Software” rapidly sold out. In a blog post following the forum, Melanie Schlosser summarized the outcome of the pre-conference:

“Publishing platforms can be a place where libraries do research and development, finding new partnerships and collaboration opportunities, working with new types of scholarship and methods, and experimenting with new technologies. The only way we can grow in this space is to be ready to fail, to be ready to experiment, and to invest as a community in open source so that we can improve these technologies and work toward a community-owned infrastructure.”

Screenshot of Media Gallery for “Lake Erie Fishermen” (University of Illinois Press, 1990)

Supporting thousands of users annually, being “ready to fail” is not an option for ACLS Humanities E-Book (HEB), but Melanie’s message resonates. Alone among major ebook collections, HEB is and has always been built on community-owned, open source infrastructure. From its inception in 1999, through its early partnerships, and since it became self-sustaining in 2005, HEB has always taken a values-based approach to its underlying technology as well as the high-quality content it selects. This has been manifested over the last 13 years by HEB’s partnership with the University of Michigan Library, inaugurated on July 30, 2005. For over a decade the system used was the Digital Library Extension Service created as part of U-M’s digital library initiatives. As that system started to show its age, HEB and Michigan’s relationship enters a new chapter in 2018 as the collection moves to the next-generation Fulcrum platform, again built by U-M Library and this time with generous support and a strong vote of confidence from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

As part of the visioning process over the last 18 months, the Michigan and HEB teams have talked quite a bit about the values that we share and how we wish those to be reflected in the Fulcrum platform’s design. We’ve been strongly informed by the HumetricsHSS initiative, which “Endeavors to create and support a values-based framework for understanding all aspects of the scholarly life well-lived and for promoting the nurturing of these values in scholarly practices.” Although they do not exactly map to the five values that the HumetricsHSS initiative has identified as central to all HSS disciplines, we came to the conclusion that “innovation, engagement, longevity” were the common core of what HEB and Fulcrum are trying to support. You may have seen these highlighted in recent HEB promotions.


While most known for its carefully-curated collection of classic texts, HEB was founded on the idea that it would also support scholars in innovating with new forms of scholarship. The backlist already includes some pioneering examples of XML-encoded titles dynamically transformed into HTML, with interactive features and resources not available in the print version. The Mellon Foundation’s support of Fulcrum is explicitly focused on supporting humanities scholars so they can take full advantage of digital affordances in their publishing as they are already doing in their scholarship. This means that you’ll continue to find more interactive tools, more non-textual multimedia content, and more materials that go “beyond the book” on the new HEB platform. These will continue to evolve as the development team uses agile methodology to respond to emerging needs and connect more open source modules to the core Fulcrum stack. 


HEB is often where students first encounter high quality research content in the humanities. Recent HEB initiatives such as the Humanities Open Book program collection expand access to users around the world and far beyond the community of university subscribers. However, making content easy to find and download is not enough. A commitment to engagement also means making ebooks available to users through whatever digital tools they prefer to use—be that mobile devices or assistive reading technologies. Through its commitment to EPUB 3 as the core content standard and platform design choices audited by the Michigan State University Usability/Research and Consulting Group, Fulcrum has made ensuring the “accessibility” of HEB content a core value since its inception.


As we have talked to the scholars and librarians who remain central to all the work Fulcrum and HEB do, we have found their number one concern to be the durability of digital content. Seared by encountering 404 “not found” HTTP status codes, authors are wary of entrusting their scholarship to the web and their interest in sharing the full richness of their research is often held back by this concern. That is why Fulcrum is built on institutional/data repository software as part of the Samvera open source communitywhich consists of some of the world’s leading research institutions. This also means the commitment to preserving HEB content that the University of Michigan Library makes and the workflows we use to ensure longevity are equivalent to the ways in which we treat research data from U-M’s science, medical, and humanities faculty.

All of this may sound very grand, but what does this all mean in practice for the librarians, publishers, authors, and readers who provide the lifeblood of the HEB collection? It means that when HEB’s supporting libraries invest in the ebook collection they are not only providing access for their academic communities to the most respected core scholarship in a range of humanities fields, but they are also supporting the maintenance and development of open source, community-owned infrastructure that shares the values of the Academy, catalyzes the development of new forms of scholarly publishing, and which will never be sold out for the profit of shareholders. That is something of which all the HEB supporters should be very proud.

Charles Watkinson

Charles Watkinson

Associate University Librarian for Publishing / Director, University of Michigan Press

Learn more about the Universality of Michigan Library and Michigan Publishing.

2018 additions to HEB Special Series

As HEB gears up for our 15th annual release of titles in the collection on the new Fulcrum platform, take a moment below to see new entries in select Special Series

HEB’s Special Series are offered to subscribers without any extra fees. The series are comprised of an eclectic group of titles, ranging from letters written by Walt Whitman (offered by NYU Press) to titles recommended by member librarians of the American Theological Library Association (ATLA).

If you have any questions, email

Below are selections from 3 Special Series being expanded August 1: the ATLA Special Series, Fordham Philosophy Series, and ACLS Fellows’ Publications.

Please note, the lists below are incomplete. For a full list of titles added to any HEB Special Series, please contact HEB.

ATLA Special Series
A Church with the Soul of a Nation: Making and Remaking the United Church of Canada, by Phyllis D. Airport (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013)

see on publishers site

Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity, by Pamela E. Klassen (University of California Press, 2011)

see on publishers site

Discipline and Debate: The Language of Violence in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery, by Michael Lempert (University of California Press, 2012)

see on publishers site

The Basic Writings of Josiah Royce, Volumes 1 & 2, by John McDermott (ed.) (Fordham University Press, 2005)

see on publishers site

Fordham Philosophy Series
Inexhaustibility and Human Being: An Essay on Locality, by Stephen David Ross (Fordham University Press, 1989)

see on publisher’s site

Experience and the Absolute: Disputed Questions on the Humanity of Man,  by Jean-Yves Lacoste (Fordham University Press, 2004)

 see on publisher’s site

Phenomenology “Wide Open”: After the French Debate, by Dominique Janicaud (Fordham University Press, 2010)

see on publisher’s site

The Unforgettable and the Unhoped For, by Jean-Louis Chrétien (Fordham University Press, 2002)

see on publisher’s site

ACLS Fellows Publications
Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations: Algiers Under French Rule, by Zeynep Celik, F’11, F’04, F’92 (University of California Press, 1997)

see on publisher’s site

Illusive Utopia: Theater, Film, and Everyday Performance in North Korea, by Suk-Young Kim F’14, (University of Michigan Press, 2010)

see on publisher’s site

Visions of Japanese Modernity: Articulations of Cinema, Nation, and Spectatorship, 1895-1925, by Aaron Gerow, F’17, (University of California Press, 2010)

see on publisher’s site

Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality, With a New Preface, by Leigh Eric Schmidt, F’13, (University of California Press, 2012)

see on publisher’s site