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.

Evaluating OERs

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.

Updates

  • 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.

OER Databases

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.

LibreTexts

MERLOT
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.

OER Commons

Teaching Commons

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
Subjects: STEM

Institutional Repositories

Most institutional repositories are adminstrated by state education departments, university systems, or the libraries at large research universities.

MOST Commons
Institution: University System of Maryland, Maryland Association of Community Colleges & MarylandOnline

Open SUNY
Institution: State University of New York
Open SUNY accepts materials from SUNY faculty only.

Open Textbooks
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.

Opendora
Institution: Minnesota State (formerly MNSCU)

OpenStax
Institution: Rice University

Popular & Seminal Books

Many classic and some seminal works are in the public domain because the copyright has expired.

Google Books

Internet Archive

Project Gutenberg

K-12

National Education Association: Lesson Plans

National Geographic

OER database (unnamed) from UNC Charlotte

Smithsonian Learning Lab

Smithsonian American Art Museum: Teacher Guides and Resources

National Archives

Many large libraries and major museums of art, history, and science have significant digital collections of primary resources.

Library of Congress: Digital Collections

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Archives

New York Public Library: Digital Collections

Minnesota Archives

Minnesota Historical Society

Hennepin County Libraries