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A New World of Open Access

Labrador Ducks, Peter Scott

The good old days were good indeed, but whenever I find myself overcome by nostalgia, I have only to recall one of the truly great advantages of life in this twenty-first century:

Books on line. For free.

Zea E-Books is the new online imprint (so to speak, I suppose) of the University of Nebraska Libraries. Thus far, the coyly named Zea has specialized in American Studies and natural history, a combination that should be right up most birders’ alleys.

Among the recent additions to the Zea catalogue are seven titles by Paul Johnsgard, representing almost 10% of this prolific author and ornithologist’s bibliography:

Birding Nebraska’s Central Platte Valley and Rainwater Basin

Swans: Their Biology and Natural History

The North American Grouse: Biology and Behavior

The North American Geese: Their Biology and Behavior

The North American Sea Ducks: Their Biology & Behavior

The North American Perching and Dabbling Ducks

The North American Whistling-Ducks, Pochards and Stifftails

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

New titles and digital “reprints”  are being added continually, all of which can be downloaded, printed, or read on line for free.

Zea is poised to become a leader in open access digital publishing, but it’s not alone in this new world. Can you recommend other sources of free online books we birders should know about?

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