Pacific's Bee Tree Books Publishes Collection of Historic Writings

It is said that pioneer Tabitha Brown used to collect honey from a hollow tree on campus and sell it to support her home for orphans, which would eventually lead to the founding of Pacific University.

The story gives name to a new publishing service through the Pacific University Libraries: Bee Tree Books. It is only fitting that the first title from the service is a collection of the writings of George H. Atkinson, a pioneering figure in the history of Oregon and the university.

A Public Spirit: George H. Atkinson’s Written Legacy was transcribed and edited by Donald J. Sevetson, a retired minister of the United Church of Christ who has devoted extensive time to researching and publishing on Atkinson’s life and work.

A Public Spirit is available free online through Pacific’s institutional repository CommonKnowledge. Thanks to publication via Bee Tree Books, printed copies went on sale from Amazon and other booksellers on Dec. 4.

Bee Tree Books is a cooperative publishing service, said Isaac Gilman, Scholarly Communication and Publishing Services Librarian at Pacific.

“Rather than requiring peer review of the title and providing full editorial and design services for authors, we wanted to offer a leaner publishing option that would allow authors to publish their books quickly and professionally,” he said. “We see this service as a cooperative arrangement between the Libraries and the authors. They are responsible for their content and any editorial assistance, and we help them with design and getting their book printed and distributed.”

Bee Tree Books joins a suite of publishing services offered by the Pacific University Libraries. Open-access (or free-to-read) academic journal publication started in 2010, with Pacific University faculty members as editors. The Libraries currently publish three scholarly journals (Essays in Philosophy, Health & Interprofessional Practice, and Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication), as well as two undergraduate journals (Res Cogitans and International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities), and one journal for a professional association (Oregon Library Association Quarterly). Over the past five years, articles from these journals have been downloaded more than a half-million times.

More recently, the Libraries launched the Pacific University Press, publishing longer scholarly works under three imprints. The first publication will debut in May 2016.

Gilman also has partnered with English Professor Kathlene Postma to develop an undergraduate minor in editing and publishing, which welcomed its first students in 2012. The interdisciplinary program teaches students the publishing process.

“As the Libraries’ publishing program continues to grow, particularly with the creation of the University Press, we plan to create experiential learning opportunities for students, such as internship placements for students in the publishing minor.”

This move to the creation and publication of information is relatively new for libraries, but University Librarian Marita Kunkel says it is the future.

“Like many academic libraries, we are taking advantage of digital publishing tools to provide a venue for scholars and students to share their work,” she said. “We see this as a natural extension of the Libraries’ mission: to provide access to new and useful knowledge.”

Dec. 4, 2015