Library News Blog

Open Access Textbooks & OER

Open-access textbooks, journals, images, videos, and other educational resources has been one of the most exciting developments in academic scholarship during the last two decades.  In response to the rising costs of academic publishing and higher education, many concerned scholars have decided to publish their work with open copyright licenses.  These open access resources are free to everyone without hindrance of subscription fees, licensing terms, logins, contracts, and other barriers.  They provide universal access to research and knowledge.

Faculty, below is a compilation of some of the most popular websites for open access textbooks and educational resources.  If you are interested in learning more about how you can incorporate these resources into your course, please let a UI&U Librarian know.  We would be happy to help.

Open Educational Resources, Open Textbooks

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost, and without needing to ask permission. Unlike copyrighted resources, OER have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights.

In some cases, that means you can download a resource and share it with colleagues and students. In other cases, you may be able to download a resource, edit it in some way, and then re-post it as a remixed work. How do you know your options? OER often have a Creative Commons license or other permission to let you know how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared.

From a single point of access in OER Commons, you can search, browse, and evaluate resources in OER Commons’ growing collection of over 50,000 high-quality OER. -Website Description

Open Textbook Library

Subjects: Student Success, Accounting & Finance, Arts, Biology, Child and Adolescent Development, Communications, Criminal Justice, Economics, Education, History, Human Resources, Management, Marketing, Philosophy, Psychology, Public Health, and Sociology

The Open Textbook Network (OTN) helps higher education institutions and systems advance the use of open textbooks and practices on their campuses. We maintain the Open Textbook Library, the premiere resource for peer-reviewed academic textbooks. All of our textbooks are free, openly licensed, and complete; their adoption creates a measurable, positive impact on student success. With our members, we move the open education conversation forward on local and national levels. -Website Description


The MERLOT system provides access to curated online learning and support materials and content creation tools, led by an international community of educators, learners and researchers…The MERLOT collection consists of tens of thousands of discipline-specific learning materials, learning exercises, and Content Builder webpages, together with associated comments, and bookmark collections, all intended to enhance the teaching experience of using a learning material. All of these items have been contributed by the MERLOT member community, who have either authored the materials themselves, or who have discovered the materials, found them useful, and wished to share their enthusiasm for the materials with others in the teaching and learning community.  -Website Description


Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Web 2.0 has given us great amounts of intelligent audio and video. It’s all free. It’s all enriching. But it’s also scattered across the web, and not easy to find. Our whole mission is to centralize this content, curate it, and give you access to this high quality content whenever and wherever you want it. Some of our major resource collections include: 1,300 Free Online Courses from Top Universities, 1,150 Free Movies, Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc., 900 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free, 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices, MOOCs from Great Universities (Many With Certificates), Learn 46 Languages Online for Free: Spanish, Chinese, English & More, 200 Free Kids Educational Resources: Video Lessons, Apps, Books, Websites & More. -Website Description

Khan Academy

Videos on math, computer programing, statistics, economics, history, grammar, biology, anthropology, and personal finance.
Website Description. Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. We tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Our math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps. We’ve also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content. -Website Description


TED-Ed is TED’s youth and education initiative. TED-Ed’s mission is to spark and celebrate the ideas of teachers and students around the world. Everything we do supports learning — from producing a growing library of original animated videos , to providing an international platform for teachers to create their own interactive lessons, to helping curious students around the globe bring TED to their schools and gain presentation literacy skills, to celebrating innovative leadership within TED-Ed’s global network of over 250,000 teachers. TED-Ed has grown from an idea worth spreading into an award-winning education platform that serves millions of teachers and students around the world every week. -Website Description

Creative Commons & Public Domain Pictures

Pictures can make a presentation or course come alive.  So how can you find pictures that are copyright-safe and freely available?  One strategy is to use pictures in the public domain or creative commons.  Public domain images are out of copyright and have no restrictions about how they can be used.  Creative commons images can be used in accordance with their creative commons license.

Popular websites for public domain images include the PublicDomainArchive and pixabay.

The Creative Commons Search is your portal to creative commons licensed images on popular websites like YouTube, Flickr, Google Images, Europeana, and Jamendo.  Creative Commons Kiwi (short video about using Creative Commons)

UI&U Library & OneSearch

While most resources in the UI&U Library are not open access, they are freely available to the UI&U Academic Community.  To access library resources, go to the library homepage and enter keywords in OneSearch.  Search results can be limited by publication date (last few years), source type (ebooks and books), and availability to “available online (full text)”.  Another strategy is to use the publisher limiter to limited to common textbook publishers such as Taylor & Francis, SAGE, Elsevier, Wiley, Springer, Oxford, Cambridge, Open Textbook Library, and University Presses.

Library Videos: academic successAfrican American studies  ●  anthropologybusiness & economics ● career & job searchchildcare ●  child & adolescent development ● criminal justiceenvironmental scienceeducation (see also Education in Video) ● Englishhealth, medicine, and wellnesshistoryleadershipliterature ● parenting & child developmentphilosophy & religion  ● political sciencepublic healthpsychology & counseling (see also Counseling & Therapy in Video and ● social inequality  ●  social work ●  special education ●  women’s & gender studies

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