Paul Royster, Coordinator of Scholarly Communication at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, started posting books into Digitalcommons@University of Nebraska—Lincoln in 2005. But it was only after visiting another university where the university press had been merged into the library that Paul realized he was providing the same publishing service as a press. As he put it, the only difference was the press release.
In the fall of 2011, the UNL libraries formally launched a book publishing service called ZEA E-Books. Paul reports that the word is getting out about ZEA; he’s working on uploading three books right now. He recently published an 18th century book by a German organ maker that a University of Nebraska art professor spent the past 20 years translating. The original German text is preserved and the English translation accompanies each page. Paul says that no commercial publisher would ever publish a book like that. It’s too esoteric. Additionally, established authors, like the eminent ornithologist and retired professor, Paul Johnsgard, enjoy publishing with ZEA. ZEA allows the author more control over the content than commercial publishers can allow.
Since UNL is strong in agriculture and Nebraska is a corn-producing region, the library decided to go with the genus name for corn, Zea Mays, or “Zea” for short. Zea also happens to be the name for the Aztec corn goddess, and it’s easy to find—always at the end of the list.