Open Educational Resources
Cut textbook costs by using open educational resources (OER’s). OER’s are freely available educational materials, including textbooks, lesson plans, worksheets, videos, and interactive tutorials. They are typically licensed under Creative Commons, so you can reuse and sometimes adapt them.
Most OER repositories have some vetting processes and requirements for author expertise. However, standards vary, and it is important to do additional evaluation. See our guide to evaluating OERs.
- Check for updates.
Some e-textbooks will be updated periodically. This is especially true for technical subjects, such as working with R or SPSS.
- Verify links.
Occasionally, materials will be removed from a repository or the link will change. This can also happen in databases as subscriptions and database holdings change.
Several databases index OERs from multiple sources or accept submissions directly. Some are discipline specific or focus on an education level, such as K-12. None are able to search all OER sources. The vetting process can also vary.
Use the Advanced Material Search to narrow by discipline, audience level, license type, material type, and more.
Minnesota OER Commons
Refine your search by education standard, material type, grade level, etc.
Saylor Academy: Open Text Books
Find textbooks for several disciplines, including accounting, business, psychology, research methods, sociology, statistics, and writing.
National Science Digital Library OER Commons
Most institutional repositories are adminstrated by state education departments, university systems, or the libraries at large research universities.
Institution: University System of Maryland, Maryland Association of Community Colleges & MarylandOnline
Institution: State University of New York
Open SUNY accepts materials from SUNY faculty only.
Institution: University of Minnesota
Open Textbook Library accepts textbooks from authors outside of the U of M. Books must be “in use at multiple higher education institutions, or affiliated with a higher education institution, scholarly society, or professional organization.” Approximately 60% of OTL books are reviewed by other scholars.
Institution: Minnesota State (formerly MNSCU)
Institution: Rice University
Popular & Seminal Books
Many classic and some seminal works are in the public domain because the copyright has expired.
Many large libraries and major museums of art, history, and science have significant digital collections of primary resources.