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Open Educational & Open Access Resources: OER Textbooks


Books and collections of books written specifically as textbooks. An open textbook is an integrated course-associated learning tool that is in the public domain or has been open-licensed by the copyright holder to permit re-use without the necessity of asking permission of the copyright holder. Some material is modifiable by the user for order and topic coverage. Some business models allow free or low cost online textbooks with a charge for printed or extended materials.

Searching for OER via the Canvas Reading List, Google, and Creative Commons CC Search

1. Via the Reading List in Canvas

With the Reading List in Canvas, instructors can create digital course packs comprised of all types of materials, including print and electronic items from their library’s collections, Open Educational Resources, and other resources available on the web. The Library's discovery system includes multiple Open Access and OER collections – such as Open SUNY, OpenStax, and Open Textbook Library. Follow these steps to find OER and refer to the images below:

  • Click on the Add Items button in the Reading List..
  • Search in: Search Everything.
  • Enter your search terms.
  • Unselect "Include records without full-text access."
  • Click Search.
  • From your search results, select "Book" from Resource Type and "Open Access" from Availability.

search OER step 1

search OER step 2

To find out more about activating the Reading List in your Canvas course, contact your library liaison.

2. Via Google

Do a general OER search using Google Advanced Search and filter your results by “Usage Rights” (pull-down menu at the bottom of the screen). Filter by usage rights rights "Free to use, share or modify" and/or "Free to use, share or modify, even commercially."

Google OER search

3. Via Creative Commons CC Search

Use the Creative Commons CC Search and limit by content you can Modify or adapt.

Creative Commons search