What’s new in ebooks: a platform roundup

It’s been a busy few months in terms of ebook platform refurbishments, so we thought it was time to pause and review some of the changes (and hopefully improvements) that have been implemented by providers.


ACLS launches new, improved platform

ACLS Humanities E-Book (HEB) is a US-based digital collection of over 5,400 seminal books in the humanities and related social sciences. Books in the HEB collection have been recommended and reviewed by scholars and constituent learned societies of the American Council of Learned Societies.

ACLS Humanities E-Book collection has been available to Cambridge users on a somewhat clunky, old-fashioned platform for some time, but is now accessible on a brand-new platform powered by Fulcrum, offering the following new features:

  • A more visually compelling and modern site, with a browsable catalogue that is easy to navigate.
  • ‘Read online’ format for all titles in a new e-reader that includes features like pageturner and scroll views, an always-present table of contents, and citation and search widgets. The reader also aims to meet WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility standards.
  • An enhanced e-book home page that provides quick access to the table of contents, reviews, metadata, and statistics, as well as easy access to the e-reader and chapter downloads. (Note that due to the large file size of chapter pdfs, we have found that chapter pdfs can be slower to download than on other ebook or ejournal platforms, and therefore ‘Read Online’ is recommended for rapid browsing or skimming the text).

Links for ACLS titles in iDiscover now redirect to the new platform, as does the platform link on our ebooks LibGuide.

ACLC Humanities is updated annually. Here is a list of the 259 new titles added in August: ACLC-new_titles_Aug_2018

Brill Online Books and Journals to move to Brill.com on November 30th

BrillcomBrill has been beavering away on Brill.com, a new platform to replace the existing Brill Online Books and Journals. All of our purchased content is being moved to the new site ready for November 30th, when the legacy site will be taken down, but the vast majority of our content is already there, so you can take a peek before November 30th if you wish.

According to Brill, the benefits of the move include:

  • The new platform consolidates information about print and online publications on one single page, rather than on separate sites, as before.
  • A fresh, crisp, uncluttered design.
  • The site works well on all types of devices.
  • DOI links will be available at the chapter level as well as the book title level.
  • Easier ebook ordering for site administrators.

We are assured that our ebook links in iDiscover will point to the new site from December, but please contact ebooks@cambridge or the UL’s English Collections team if you see anything that doesn’t work.

Manchester Medieval Sources Online now on Manchester Hive

MMSOThe 36 titles within the ‘Manchester Medieval Sources Online‘ collection from Manchester University Press are now available on Manchester Hive, MUP’s new online platform. The platform offers:

  • Easy browsing of available titles with abstracts.
  • Clear and intuitive design.
  • DRM-free PDF downloads for each chapter or section as well as full book downloads in either HTML or PDF.
  • Full book downloads include hyperlinks, making navigation through the text easier (from TOC to content and from content to footnotes).
  • Handy citation and sharing tools.

MARC records for all 36 titles within the collection are in iDiscover and now point to the new platform.

VLeBooks: new platform, more publishers, better accessibility


Not a platform redesign, but a brand new aggregator platform for us, VLeBooks offers a broader range of publishers (including trade publishers) and improved accessibility for print-disabled users. For more information, see our recent blogpost.

All of these platforms are available on and off-campus to members of the University via our ebooks LibGuide or via links to individual books in iDiscover. Off-campus access is via Raven (VLeBooks requires a Raven login on and off campus).

As usual, please contact ebooks@lib.cam.ac.uk if you have any questions about these platforms or any other aspect of ebook provision at the University.