- determine the best search keywords and narrowing of topics for finding OER
- search OER using links to repositories and search engines
- discover resources from a wide variety of sources
Approximate time to complete: 30 minutes (5m read; 25m activity)
Did you know?
There are nearly 2 billion Creative Commons licensed work out there in the world that you might be able to use?
Where do you find OER and freely available content?
There are many repositories and link collections to search when looking for OER material. Since OER and freely available content can be anything from written content to video to whole courses, narrow down search parameters. Then try one of the large meta-search engines before diving into a more specific search. Are you primarily looking for a textbook replacement? Start with the open textbook repositories. Know that not all repositories are created equal, some are peer-reviewed to some extent, and others are not.
The following links are for helping you get started in your OER search. There are many more resources available, especially through institutional library guides.
Tips for searching
- Determine the best keywords (both generic and specific) for your search
- Consider the publishing date-range you are interested in
- When possible, include grade level information in your search
OER Search Engines
These search engines for open and free resources are the best place to start when looking for textbooks and other materials.
- CC (Creative Commons) Image Search
Searches millions of openly licensed and public domain images.
- Google Advanced Search
(specify usage type)
- OER Commons
A Creative Commons search engine specifically for OER.
- Mason OER Metafinder (MOM)
metasearch engine integrating multiple repositories, including MERLOT II, OER Commons, OpenStax CNX, Hathitrust, and Project Gutenberg.
- OASIS (Openly Available Sources Integrated Search)
Search based on subject and type, such as textbooks, courses, interactive simulations, and modules.
Library Resource Guides
These resource guides organized by subject matter can be helpful if you are struggling to find very discipline-specific materials. Reference librarians are experts at assisting with finding OER and other free resources.
- Miami University
- Virginia Tech
- University of New Hampshire
- VC/UHV Library
- Skyline College
- Portland Community College
- many other university libraries
These repositories link to multiple types of OER including textbooks, widgets, and whole courses. Some are peer-reviewed.
- OER Commons
- National Science Digital Library
- Saylor Guides
- VT Open Education Resources
Looking for a whole course you can use some or part of?
Looking for an open textbook specifically?
- OpenStax College
- College of Open Textbooks
- UMU Open Textbook Library
- Project Gutenberg
- many universities worldwide
Open Media Resources – links to over 40 sources for open or free-to-use images, video, and audio. Check each site for license information when using.
For images, you might also want to start with a Google Search. Use the Tools button and specify CC licensed images.