About the Project
American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)
Council of Learned Societies
Council of Learned Societies was established in 1919 to represent
the United States within the Union Académique Internationale
(UAI) (International Union of Academies) "to encourage cooperation
in the advancement of studies through collaborative research
and publications in those branches of learning promoted by the
academies and institutions represented in the UAI-philology,
archaeology, history, the moral, political and social sciences."
The ACLS has represented the nation in the UAI with distinction
for more than 80 years. Membership in the American Council of Learned
Societies is restricted to organizations. Membership now totals 68 societies.
The ACLS has in the past conducted a survey of publication needs, established a publication service to advise scholars on inexpensive ways to communicate research, and aided scholars through its fellowship programs and by direct publication. ACLS committees have also planned and established journals, such as Speculum and the Journal of the History of Ideas, which continue to make notable contributions to scholarship. Among the ACLS's own publications, the best known is the well-used reference work, The Dictionary of American Biography, begun in 1921. A successor work, The American National Biography, was published in print (1999) and electronically (2000). Also important is The Dictionary of Scientific Biography (DSB), with articles on important scientists from antiquity to modern times. A third major reference work, The Dictionary of the Middle Ages, was completed in 1989. A condensed edition entitled The Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia for Students was published in 1996. In addition to these reference works, other publications of major importance to scholarship sponsored by ACLS include the publication of a critical and definitive edition of The Works of William James and the ongoing preparation and publication of The Correspondence of William James and The Correspondence of Charles Darwin.
Since the introduction of computers and other new forms of technology for research in the humanities and social sciences, the ACLS has played a major role in helping scholars explore the impact of new technologies on their fields. Beginning in 1964 it developed an innovative program of grants and fellowships designed to encourage new and significant use of the computer in humanistic research. The ACLS also worked with scholars to find specific ways in which the high-speed processing capabilities of computers could be harnessed to meet the scholar's traditional need for better research tools, such as bibliographies, indexes, and concordances. The ACLS operated an Office of Scholarly Communication and Technology, with headquarters in Washington, DC, from 1984 through 1987. In 2006 ACLS launched its Digital Innovation Fellowship, and in 2007 ACLS released the final version of Our Cultural Commonwealth: The report of the American Council of Learned Societies Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Humanities E-Book thus finds its place among the core missions of the ACLS.
For information on current activities, see the ACLS website at http://www.acls.org
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org