News

New Titles Push E-Book Possibilities

AHA Staff, April 2004

Building on its 2003 success in creating a sustainable model for the publication of e-books, the ACLS History E-Book Project has begun a new phase of frontlist publication, launching the first of its truly innovative electronic books. With such features as image viewers, parallel texts, external web resources, and related historiography, these latest titles include works by historians that harness cutting-edge technology for the most effective presentation of their scholarship, making more extensive and creative use of primary sources than is possible with print editions.

To date, the ACLS History E-Book Project has published 12 frontlist titles, with more than 40 titles in production over the next two years. A prime example of much of the above technology, Joshua Brown’s Beyond the Lines: Pictorial Reporting, Everyday Life, and the Crisis of Gilded Age America (University of California Press) won the 2003 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications History Book Award and received Honorable Mention for the American Studies Association John Hope Franklin Publication Prize. Brown’s e-book features 183 color and black-and-white images, including 75 wood engravings from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper unavailable in the print edition. A zoomable image viewer, using the same technology employed by DLPS at the University of Michigan for the APIS Project, allows for finely detailed views and comparisons of illustrations, as well as searching across captions. Brown’s related historiography, also available online in the History E-Book Project, provides broad access for the first time in years to valuable out-of-print studies of the American popular magazine.

Several new titles make use of links to external web sites to allow the reader to access the author’s original source material. For instance, Akira Iriye’s e-book, Global Community: The Role of International Organizations in the Making of the Contemporary World (University of California Press), links to the web sites of international organizations discussed in the book. The Invisible Plague: The Rise of Mental Illness from 1750 to the Present by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., and Judy Miller (Rutgers University Press), due to launch this spring, will feature more than 200 links to related websites and to articles in books in established digital library collections, such as Making of America.

Also forthcoming this spring, the electronic version of Scottsboro, Alabama: A Story in Linoleum Cuts edited by Andrew H. Lee (New York University Press), will permit side-by-side viewing of a recently discovered collection of 111 linoleum prints depicting the historic Scottsboro trial with an earlier, more radical draft housed at the Wolfsonian Library at Florida International University. A new essay by Lee comments on the artistic and political evolution of this product of radical American politics, inviting further study and analysis.

Finally, Irish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan: Letters and Memoirs from Colonial and Revolutionary America, 1675–1815 by Kerby A. Miller, Arnold Schrier, Bruce D. Boling, and David N. Doyle (Oxford University Press) will add over 500 scanned images of the original letters that were transcribed in the print edition. An interactive map will provide an alternate navigational tool, permitting readers to access letters by geographic location.

A complete list of current and forthcoming frontlist titles and other details can be seen at the ACLS History E-Book Project web site: http://historyebook.org/. The History E-Book Project is available through library subscriptions, which range from $300-$1,300. Details on subscribing can be obtained from Ginny Wiehardt, managing editor for library relations, at gwiehardt@ hebook.org.