Friday, April 30, 2010

HEB Offers Libraries Free, Two-Month Trials

ACLS Humanities E-Book is offering institutions a free, two-month trial of the collection during May and June in anticipation of the Summer/Fall acquisition season.

If you would like to request a trial, please email your name, email address and institutional affiliation to Once your response is processed you will receive a username and password to access the collection online.

As your library plans for the expansion of its digital collection, we hope you'll consider ACLS Humanities E-Book. For a complete list of titles available, please visit

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

HEB Handheld Reading Device Survey: Summary of Results

HEB recently concluded its survey to test the use of digital scholarly monographs for research purposes on various handheld reading devices, such as Amazon’s Kindle, the Sony Reader, and Apple’s iPhone. (For details, please visit the HEB website.)

We offered participants a choice of three sample titles to download, all taken from our online collection and reformatted for portable e-book readers, with each available in two different formats, ePub and prc/MOBI. The survey was completed by 142 respondents, 86 of whom (i.e., more than 60%) described themselves as librarians. Independent scholars, instructors, students, writers, and technology consultants were among the remaining participants.

Full details of the survey results and handheld conversion process will be featured in a forthcoming white paper, but here are some of the more important findings.

Respondents were asked to rate their experiences with both content and functionality. Most indicated that they were quite satisfied with straight-forward reading and navigation, in spite of formatting limitations resulting from converting to ePub and prc. In terms of e-reader functionality, responses reflected a certain amount of frustration with interactive features, such as compiling and working with annotations, and options for reference and citation.

Overall, survey participants reacted more or less favorably to HEB’s sample titles, and about 75% expressed an interest in downloading additional monographs. (Forty-six percent answered they would definitely be interested in this, and an additional 29% expressed interest if the titles were free or priced below $10.)

HEB also surveyed participants regarding their general reading preferences, and current use of handheld readers for research purposes appeared to be relatively low. When asked to compare the two formats, 69% of participants who also had access to HEB’s online collection seemed to prefer this for research and scholarly use. This does not come as a surprise, since a number of features considered important to digital scholarship by survey participants (e.g., access to external resources, searching across titles, and color images) were either restricted or unavailable altogether on then-current handheld devices. However, among the same subgroup, for casual/general reading, those preferring the handheld edition outnumbered those preferring the online edition three to one.

After closing the survey, HEB conducted a raffle drawing for three $50 gift certificates to Apple, Sony, or Amazon, and the winners have been notified. Thanks again to all our participants.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

HEB Best Sellers, Spring 2010

ACLS Humanities E-Book has just reported and paid its 15th round of royalties to nearly 100 publishers and 400 individuals or their literary estates. This represents the results of nearly 5 million hits on the site over the past year. Once again, HEB presents its top-ten hit titles in the collection.

Worth noting is that Islam and the Middle East (consistently on the list since 2003) has fallen off the top ten. Hodgson’s Venture of Islam, a constant in the top ten in the past, is now at 13th place. Meanwhile, Anne McClintock’s Imperial Leather maintains its strong performance. This period it has been joined by several other titles in colonial, race, and gender studies (a trend continued among the next ten on the list). At the same time, other disciplines or methodologies — especially sociology and media studies — have emerged as leaders. Apropos is the appearance here of two presses new to the top ten: NYU and Verso.
  1. Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (Verso)
  2. Jenkins, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (New York University Press)
  3. Weber, Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870-1914 (Stanford University Press)
  4. Hirschman, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States (Harvard University Press)
  5. McClintock, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest (Routledge)
  6. Polanyi, The Great Transformation (Beacon)
  7. Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Harvard University Press)
  8. Ehret, The Civilizations of Africa: A History to 1800 (University Press of Virginia)
  9. Kotkin, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization (University of California Press)
  10. Trigger, Natives and Newcomers: Canada’s “Heroic Age” Reconsidered (McGill-Queen’s University Press)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New MARC Records

As previously reported, ACLS Humanities E-Book has just added 576 books to its collection, bringing the total to 2790 works across a wide range of disciplines and subject areas. All current subscribers now have access to all of the new books added to the collection.

Cataloging records are available to HEB subscribers for download, and instructions for obtaining these records are included below. As you know, it is very important to load the MARC records into your catalog as soon as possible, because most users become familiar with, and begin to access, the site from the library catalog.

New records for ACLS Humanities E-Book are available via your browser at:

• If you are a new subscriber or if you have not recently updated your MARC records, in order to download all ACLS Humanities E-Book records to date you need to download

• If you only need to add the new titles, and your records are up-to-date with the last download in Winter 2009, you simply need to download

Downloads contain three files:
a. The records in USMARC communications format
b. The same records in ASCII format
c. readme.txt - in ASCII format (explains what is contained in each of the above).

There is a discrepancy between the number of records and the number of books in the collection due to the fact that multi-volume works have a single record. A complete set will include 2651 records for 2790 books.