While able to present conventional publication formats in a reader-friendly way, Fulcrum particularly addresses the needs of scholarly authors who wish to link source materials to book-length interpretations of them in an integrated way. This is an emerging need in media-rich humanistic fields such as performing arts, cultural studies, and archaeology. From accumulating collections of film and video clips for comparison to visualizing excavation records through three-dimensional interactive models, humanists today often end their research projects with large archives of digital data.

Rather than forcing authors to strip away the richness of these materials at the point of formal publication to meet the constraints of a book or journal article format, Fulcrum facilitates rich integration of such digital objects with the narratives that reference them. They can either be published as supplemental materials, with the narrative (a book, a journal article) elsewhere, or both narrative and data can be presented together.

The platform consists of a client-branded hosting environment and a set of value-added publishing services to help partner publishers expand their capabilities. For more information, read about our partnership models and services.

Fulcrum has been developed by a group of campus-based publishers working closely with disciplinary faculty and information science specialists who recognize the changing nature of scholarly publishing in the humanities and qualitative social sciences. Initial development was supported by the Mellon Foundation.

For more information about the platform, please follow us on Twitter/X or send an e-mail to fulcrum-info@umich.edu.

For Readers

Fulcrum provides the following advantages to readers/users:

  • Flexibility: Scholarship published on Fulcrum is optimized for display on mobile and other devices. A strong commitment to accessibility for readers with disabilities translates into a passion for good digital design. Multimedia files and visualizations published on Fulcrum can be played natively within the platform or, where permission is available, downloaded for offline use.
  • Durability: No more link rot. Fulcrum exists to make sure that digital scholarship is curated in a stable environment that allows readers to cite work published online without fear of broken references. Ensuring clarity around intellectual property rights has been a focus of Fulcrum’s design, so it is always clear to users if a particular object can be downloaded and/or reused in their own scholarship and teaching.
  • Discoverability: Heard about a cool digital project and now unable to locate it through your library catalog? Scholarship published through Fulcrum is integrated into both traditional and emerging information supply chains. Information about usage and engagement illuminates the conversations happening among other readers.
  • Accessibility: Fulcrum is compatible with most screen readers and keyboard controls and also provides resources to support accessible books, image descriptions, transcripts for audio, captions for video, and alternative formats for digitized content.
  • Integrity: As an integral part of the University of Michigan Library, Fulcrum is committed to transparency in its commitments to privacy, accessibility, and preservation. We put the interests of the academy, rather than private owners or shareholders, first. Trust matters: While the publishers who use Fulcrum are ultimately responsible for the quality of individual works, we only work with publishers whose commitment to quality we trust.

For Authors

Fulcrum provides the following advantages to authors:

  • Flexibility: Fulcrum can present rich media files as well as text and images, and has added support for more complex visualizations such as interactive models built in Unity3D. Being a node in the vibrant open source Samvera development community focused on the needs of the academy, Fulcrum is continually developing new capabilities relevant to authors.
  • Durability: Built on an open source university infrastructure dedicated to providing durable long-term stewardship for digital objects. Each item (an image, a video or audio file, a visualization) receives a permanent digital identifier that allows it to be securely cited. Settings related to reuse are controlled by the creator.
  • Discoverability: Through use of industry standards and relationships, ensures that digital scholarship is discoverable and that authors therefore receive metrics of impact and credit for their work, from download counts to Altmetric scores. Integration into the information supply chain ensures that content published on Fulcrum appears in library catalogs and other important user access points, addressing the “discoverability challenge” that besets much born digital scholarship.
  • Accessibility: As an author, you can describe visual resources to make your work more accessible, and let publishers and image rights holders know that accessibility is important to you.
  • Integrity: Transparency is at the core of how Fulcrum operates. The team will always be honest about the limitations of the platform as well as its capabilities. As part of the University of Michigan Library, we are committed to the long-term curation of your important work.

For Publishers

Fulcrum provides the following advantages to publishers:

  • Flexibility: Hosted options are flexible, ranging from support for a single object to full presentation of a publisher’s complete list. The ability to represent new types of objects is continually being added through the efforts of the Samvera community. At the same time, processes and workflows are familiar to editors and other publishing production staff and are fully documented. Underlying code is available on an open source basis.
  • Durability: Digital scholarship presents many preservation challenges. Fulcrum provides best-in-class, trusted solutions for long term preservation. Fedora underpinnings provide a durable infrastructure base, and digital scholarship published through Fulcrum is preserved by University of Michigan Library.
  • Discoverability: All objects are made discoverable using stable identifiers, allowing integration with information supply chain vendors and other partners such as Altmetric aggregators. Measurement of usage and impact is core to the platform’s design and the hosted service supports both access restricted and open access content.
  • Accessibility: Accessible content is the primary responsibility of each publisher and we can work with you to support and improve the accessibility of your content.
  • Integrity: Clear accounting for costs and no hidden fees are part of our commitment to fair business practices. We will always be transparent about the limitations of what the platform can achieve for your content as well as the many possibilities it offers.

Fulcrum Team

  • Melissa Baker-Young Fulcrum Project Manager
  • Tim Belch Production Support Developer
  • Jason Colman Director, Publishing Services
  • Seth Johnson Senior Applications Programmer, Library IT
  • Jon McGlone Digital Product Design Engineer and Accessibility Specialist
  • Jeremy Morse Fulcrum Platform Manager
  • Kelsey Mrjoian Library Relations Manager
  • Conor O'Malley Senior Applications Programmer, Library IT