ACLS Humanities e-Book collection

New-ish to the Library is the fascinating ACLS Humanities e-Book collection, from the American Council of Learned Societies.  This impressive collection has almost 4000 full-text scholarly books across the wide gamut of the traditional humanities (history; art & architecture; film & media studies; literature & literary criticism; linguistics; music, dance, performance; philosophy; political science, religion, and even sociology, to name a few).  There is a strong focus on “historical studies” focused on “African, American, Asian, Comparative/World, Eastern European/Russian, Economic, European, Latin American, Legal, Medicine, Methods/Theory, Middle East, and Science/Technology.”   You can download an Excel spreadsheet of the specific book titles included if you want to take a look.

Okay, we know it’s huge.  Even the title is a mouthful – so much so that you’ll see even the authors refer to it as ACLS HEB, or even just HEB.  So what can you do with HEB?  Happily, the collection boasts both an easy to use browse feature (that allows you to browse by title, author, or subject) and a very robust search engine that lets you quickly find titles / subjects / authors of interest.  Within a few clicks, you have the full-text of the book right in front of you.

acls ebook1   Once you find a book of interest, you can enter the book from its ACLS title record page.  You can go to the first page of the book and page your way through, or enter specific chapters / page ranges by using the linked Table of contents.  There are book reviews for my title linked on the page, plus the full citation and full cataloging record.  You can even get a larger version of the book jacket by clicking on your book’s image.

I found the book, Buñuel and Mexico: The crisis of national cinema, by Ernesto R. Acevedo-Muñoz and published by the Univ of California Press in 2003.  So you can see what I mean, here’s a graphic of the ACLS title page for the Buñuel cinema book I found.

Once you enter the full-text of your book, you can even choose the best display – page image, text,  or pdf – for your own reading comfort or downloading / printing needs.  You can also easily adjust the size of the page if you need a larger font or need to see an illustration in greater detail.

Speaking of illustrations, the few illustrations from book contents that I have seen have not been of the greatest quality.  This is probably the only drawback I can see during my own quick review of this collection.  Let me show you what I mean.

acls heb2

Hmmmm……  in a fantastic collection like HEB, it’s disappointing to see such blurry and grainy images.  This one comes from a book called Gay L.A. by Lillian Faderman.  There are lots of illustrations in this interesting book and none of them seems to be scanned clearly, which is really too bad.  It’s just not the same high quality images you will find in the original hardback book.  I haven’t found illustrations in other HEB books yet to compare but my guess is that this may be a current weakness throughout this collection.  You’ll need to see what you think.

So, do use this collection to find a surprising breadth of full-text eBooks in the humanities.  Don’t expect to find high quality book illustration images you can use (copyright permitting) in other projects.  You will though find nice quality reproductions of book covers.  And yes, you can find these books through Quick Search too.  Overall, a big positive addition to the Library’s collections.  Give ACLS HEB a test drive and let me know what you think!


Coming soon: Hathi Trust

Update (1/24/13):  We do now have access to Hathi Trust!  You will need to login with your ISU Net-ID and password to get fullest access to materials.  Remember not everything within Hathi Trust is available to all users full-text due to copyright restrictions, but you will find plenty of materials that are fully available.  Have fun exploring!

~~~ (Original post follows below)~~~

Looks like the Lib may soon be partnering with Hathi Trust Digital Library.  If you’re not familiar with them, be sure to take a look at their site.  They currently have over 5 million digitized books contributed by partners.

Hathi Trust Digital Library

Hathi Trust Digital Library

Just a few minutes ago, I was searching for a copy of Gems of Chinese Literature.  Our local copy seems to be in the Storage building, but I also found a link to Hathi Trust, where there are a few editions online.  I found an edition that is open to the public to view / read online.  I’m going to guess you could find content in Hathi Trust relevant to all race & ethnic studies areas and much more.

While some items in Hathi Trust are available to the general public to view full-text, many items are locked up.  Partners are able to login and view much more.  As I understand it, partnership means we would also need to contribute digital content to the site.

We’ll see how things develop.  This is potential great news, and hopefully everything will be ironed out for us to have access to this fantastic collection of digital books!  Stay tuned….

Sorry for the blurry image on this one! :s

Year’s end PDA ebooks : What did you buy?

I’ve blogged here before about the Library’s ebooks and our Patron-Driven Acquisition (PDA) program for ebooks.  We’ve set up a program that includes certain ebooks in Quick Search, the library discovery tool that replaced our traditional library catalog.  Users like you can discover these titles, and with just a few clicks, begin reading an ebook online – unaware that we don’t yet “own” it.  Well, after a few reads, the PDA program triggers the Library to buy that item.  Simple!

So, just as an fyi, below are just a few more of the great ebook titles in our areas of interest that have been acquired via our PDA program.  If you happened to trigger any of these acquisitions, thanks very much!

  • Antebellum Slave Narratives : Cultural and Political Expressions of Africa
  • Gay Rights and Moral Panic : The Origins of America’s Debate on Homosexuality
  • Feminism and War
  • Guide to Doing Statistics in Second Language Research Using SPSS
  • Language Curriculum Design
  • Political Communication in Asia
  • Routledge Contemporary China : Innovation in China : The Chinese Software Industry
  • Sexuality in World History
  • Ultimate Spanish Phrase Finder
  • Women, Science, and Technology : A Reader in Feminist Science Studies
  • Women Speaking Up : Getting and Using Turns in Workplace Meetings

Piri Thomas – RIP/QPD. Punto.

Piri Thomas en El Barrio

Piri Thomas en El Barrio: Loisaida / Lower East Side NYC, 1970

Writer / poet  Piri Thomas, author of the urban autobiographical classic Down These Mean Streets, died October 17, 2011.  His was one of several leading voices that helped define the Nuyorican generation and literary movement of the 1960s-70s – Puerto Rican authors and poets born and raised in NYC ghettoes.

Piri was born and raised in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem), protected by a strong and loving Cuban-Puerto Rican family but also surrounded by intense poverty, racism, and discrimination.  In a 1995 interview with Carmen Dolores Hernández, Piri recalled:

“Yes, and what I noticed first when I came into my age of awareness -it left quite a trauma on me- was death. All around me I constantly heard fire engines because people were burning up in those old apartments, that were old when we Puerto Ricans got to them in the early 1900’s. The violence, the sirens, the police cars and the stories that you heard and the brutalities that you saw led you to arrive at the conclusion that we didn’t need police protection, what we did need was protection from the police.”  (

Like many Latinos of his generation and since, Piri was forbidden to speak Spanish in school.  Like so many New York Puerto Ricans, he learned about an idyllic Puerto Rico through the stories of his mother, huddled in a cold New York apartment.  The oldest and darkest child in a multiracial Caribbean family, Piri faced a brutal racism outside the home that his white-skinned siblings did not know.  Piri grew up to become a teenage gangbanger and junkie.  He was arrested during an attempted armed robbery, and sentenced to 15 years in jail.  He served 7.

Trailer for Every Child Born a Poet

Like Malcolm X, jail time became a period of reflection and education for Piri.  He had long been a voracious reader, and recalled that in his early school years …

“… I had this beautiful, kind teacher introduce me to this beautiful, kind librarian in the 110th street library and I begged her to let me take out books from the library and they gave me two books to take out every time. I found that it wasn’t enough for me. I gobbled them up right away. Then I went to the library and got two books again but this time I picked three and put them under my jacket. I was coming out the library pregnant and I would walk in pregnant again.  Years later, when my book Down These Mean Streets became a success, I was invited to a conference in Connecticut on censorship because they were censoring my book along with others. I heard someone call me “Mr. Thomas” and I readily recognized her as the librarian that was letting me get away.  And she said “I was that librarian and I knew that you were taking those books and Oh! I was so glad because you were reading. I was more glad that you were bringing them back.”  (

Down These Mean Streets

30th anniversary edition

Piri began writing his classic Down These Mean Streets while still in jail, and finished it after his release.  It was published in 1967 by Knopf.  He wrote numerous autobiographical works, short stories, and poems, but remains best known for his gritty blockbuster début.  Thank you, Piri – Rest in Peace / Que en Paz Descanse.  Punto.


Here are some books, DVDs, & websites for learning more about Piri Thomas and early Nuyorican literature:

Thomas, Piri.  Down These Mean Streets.  New York: Vintage Books, 1997.  ISU LIB: General Collection F128.9 P8 T366d

Thomas, Piri.  Savior, Savior, Hold My Hand.  Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1972.   ISU LIB: General Collection F128.9.P85 T5.

Thomas, Piri.  Seven Long Times.  New York: Praeger Publishers, 1974.  ISU LIB:  General Collection HV9468 .T55

Thomas, Piri.   Sounds of the Streets.  Alexandria, VA: Alexander Street Press, 2005.  (ISU LIB owns but for the life of me I can’t grab the URL today) 

Thomas, Piri.  Stories from El Barrio.  ISU LIB:  General Collection PZ7 T366s

The World of Piri Thomas (Official Website). Accessed Oct. 21, 2011.

Hernández, Carmen Dolores.   Puerto Rican voices in English: Interviews with writers.  Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 1997.  ISU LIB (ebrary ebook):

Mohr, Eugene V.  The Nuyorican experience: literature of the Puerto Rican minority.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1982.  ISU LIB: General Collection:  PS153.P83 M6 1982

Robinson, Jonathan Meyer, director.  Every Child is born a poet: The life & work of Piri Thomas.  Latino Public Broadcasting.  New Haven, CT: When in Doubt Productions, Inc., 2003. ISU LIB:  Media Collection DVD 002 044

More on eBooks: Collecting & Finding

I wrote recently about the Library’s new Patron-Drive Acquisition (PDA) program for acquiring eBooks for our library collections.  Lest you think that’s the only way we acquire eBooks, read on!

My bibliographer colleagues and I have intentionally been buying relevant eBooks for years to add to our collections.  Some of these include such titles as…

  • Latinos in a changing society
  • Indians of Iowa
  • Drug war zone: Frontline dispatches from the streets of El Paso and Juárez
  • Chicano students and the courts: The Mexican American legal struggle for education
  • African American folktales
  • Dream not of other worlds: Teaching in a segregated elementary school
  • Companion to African American philosophy
  • Critical cultural studies of childhood
  • My Germany: A Jewish writer returns to the world his parents escaped
  • Beyond the Latino World War II hero
  • Ioway in Missouri
  • Islamic education in the Soviet Union and its successor states
  • Making of a Black scholar
  • Multicultural American history: Through children’s literature
  • New York Ricans from the hip hop zone
  • El monstruo: Dread and redemption in Mexico City
  • Frontier forts of Ioa: Indians, traders, and soldiers, 1682-1862
  • King’s dream: The legacy of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech
  • Stories from the American mosaic: Native American folktales
  • Companion to US Latino literatures
  • Cristal experiment: A Chicano struggle for community control
  • Forgetful nation: On immigration and cultural identity in the United States
  • Latino American folktales
  • Latino/a canon and the emergence of post-sixties literature
  • Law touched our hearts: A generation remembers Brown v. Boar of Education
  • Migrant imaginaries: Latino cultural politics in the US-Mexico borderlands
  • None of the above: Puerto Ricans in the global era
  • Writing Indian nations: Native intellectuals and the politics of historiography
  • Artists from Latin American cultures
  • Brown and Black communication
  • Dominican Americans
  • From out of the shadows: Mexican women in twentieth-century America
  • Gender and the changing face of higher education: A feminized future?
  • Hispanic American religious cultures
  • Importing poverty? Immigration and the changing face of rural america
  • In the shadow of race: Growing up as a multiethnic, multicultural, multiracial
  • Mesoamerican worlds: Maya worldviews at conquest
  • Muslims in America: A short history
  • Native Americans today: Resources and activities for educators, grades 4-8
  • New Americans: Puerto Ricans in the United States
  • Notable Caribbeans and Caribbean Americans
  • Rethinking the slave narrative
  • Working the boundaries: Race, space, and “illegality” in Mexican Chicago
  • American Indian chronology: Chronologies of the American mosaic
  • Becoming Black: Creating identity in the African diaspora
  • Buxton: A Black utopia in the heartland
  • Cesar Chavez: A biography
  • Contemporary Caribbean cultures and societies in a global context
  • Continental crossroads: Remapping US-Mexico borderlands history
  • Conversations with Mexican American writers
  • Dead subjects: Toward a politics of loss in Latino studies
  • From slavery to poverty: The racial origins of welfare in New York, 1840-1918
  • Irish in US:  Irishness, performativity, and popular culture
  • Issues in the Spanish-speaking world
  • Looking for lost lore: Studies in folklore, ethnology and iconography
  • Mexican mafia
  • On the Viking trail: Travels in Scandinavian America
  • Race and classification: The case of Mexican America
  • African, Native, and Jewish American literature and the reshaping of modernism
  • American Muslim women: Negotiating race, class and gender…
  • Racial attitudes in the 1990s: Continuity and change
  • Soviet Jewish Americans
  • World folklore: Corn woman: Stories and legends of the Hispanic Southwest
  • World we used to live in: Remembering the powers of the Medicine men
  • Black, Brown and Beige: Surrealist writings from Africa and the diaspora
  • Displacing whiteness: Essays in social and cultural criticism
  • Native American communities in Wisconsin, 1600-1960
  • Philosophers on race: Critical essays
  • West Indian Americans

You want it, you buy it: eBooks & Patron-driven acquisition

If you haven’t already heard, the Library has been piloting a new Patron-driven acquisitions (PDA) program for eBooks to add to our online collections.

Here are some eBook titles that Library patrons like you have selected, in areas of potential interest to readers of Biblionotes:

  • Arguing with Tradition: The Language of Law in Hopi Tribal Court, Univ. of Chicago, 2008.  (We also own the print edition:  GEN COLL KF8228 H67 R53 2008)
  • China & India in the Age of Globalization; Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Gender, Household & State in Post-Revolutionary Vietnam, Taylor & Francis, 2008.
  • Questionnaires in Second Language Research; Routledge, 2009. (We also own the 2010 and 2003 print editions of this title:  GEN P118.2 D67 2010, GEN COLL P188.2 D67 2003)
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Grammar Advanced; McGraw-Hill Professional, 2007
  • Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity after World War II; MIT Press, 2009.  (We also own the print edition:  GEN COLL TK9071 H43 1998)
  • Schaum’s Outline of Spanish Vocabulary, 5th ed.; McGraw-Hill, 2008.  (We also own the 1997 print edition: GEN COLL PC4121 S345 1997)
  • Selected Poems of Garcilaso de la Vega: A Bilingual Edition; Univ. of Chicago Press, 2009.  (We also own the print edition:  GEN COLL PQ6391 A5 D45 2009)
  • Synthesis of Research on Second Language Writing in English: 1980-2005; Taylor & Francis, 2008.  (We also own the print edition:  GEN COLL PE1128 A2 L383 2008)
  • Ten Hills Farm: The Forgotten History of Slavery in the North; Princeton University Press, 2010.  (We also own the print edition: GEN COLL E445 M4 M36 2010)
  • When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008.  (We also own the print edition:  GEN COLL JC328.7 B38 2008)

As you can see, we do already own a number of these in the traditional print format.  It may be that potential readers of these titles are now much more interested in portability and such things as potential for copy and paste.  Whatever the reason, it’s good to know that interested readers are connecting with titles of interest in their format of choice.