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Open Educational Resources (OER): Find OER Texts and Resources

Exploring the Commons

OER can include full courses, textbooks, or a variety of instructional materials including images, videos, or documents. It is estimated that there are now more than 1.4 billion works licensed under various Creative Commons licenses (State of the Commons, 2017). The growing collection of openly licensed works, whether digital or not, is referred to as The Commons. So how do you go about finding resources that suit your needs? You can find OER by using search engines or by searching or browsing OER repositories.

This video by Amy Hofer, Statewide Open Education Library Services Coordinator, Open Oregon, shares time-saving tips on searching for OER. Remember that an open license gives you many possible ways to legally re-purpose the materials you find.


Contact Jean Shumway, BC3 Librarian, for assistance finding openly licensed resources, as well as assistance with adopting resources and understanding and Creative Commons licenses:

Open Textbooks

Open textbooks are textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed. Many of these books have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality. These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at low cost.

OA Collections and Repositories

The general repositories include textbooks as well as learning objects, practice exercises, instructional videos, modules, free interactive math and science simulations, course materials, lesson plans, multimedia, lectures, and more.

OER Search Engines

Using an OER search engine allows searching of multiple OER sources at once.

Complete Courses

Complete Courses Offers full courses online. Though they charge students to enroll, they have composed their courses using mostly open materials that can be copied, adapted, etc.
Lumen Learning: Offers complete courses composed of mostly open materials that can be copied and adapted for free. Lumen also offers partnering with institutions to manage and adapt resources for courses at a cost to students. Contact us if you would like to partner with Lumen.
Open Course LibraryThis WA project offers 81 of Washington's most enrolled courses. There are a lot of great readings in these course files. Great community college content

Searching the Commons

Using Google Advanced Search


The Google search engine has an “Advanced Search” that lets you search by usage rights for content published to the Internet under an open license. The Advanced Search dialogue can be found under the Settings function or can be directly accessed at

Google Advanced Search Usage Rights



Information for this page was adapted from the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) Library website and the Community College Consortium for Open Education Resources