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Open Access: Faculty Guide to Open Educational Resources - OER

Information on how to find and adopt an open textbook

What is OER?

The use of Open Educational Resources (OER) is gaining momentum in education and academic libraries.

OERs are intended to help institutions address rising costs in higher education, especially in the area of textbooks, while giving faculty the ability to adopt, adapt or create educational resources that can be customized to meet the learning objectives of the courses they teach.

This guide is intended to help introduce faculty to the concept of OER, provide resources, and relevant articles.

What is OER?

Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation, and distribution.*

*Open educational resources | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (n.d.). Retrieved November 22, 2018, from

Finding OER


Creative Commons Search  offers a search tool to locate images that you can share, use and remix.

Wikimedia Commons   a database of freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute

Free Images Free images is a high-quality resource of digital stock photography for use by all. All images in our collection are free to use on websites, printed materials and anywhere you need photos for illustration and design use.

Google Advanced Image Search Use the Advanced Image Search to limit to free-to-use images. Under Usage Rights, use the drop-down menu to select free to use or share.

Shared Shelf Commons A  free, open-access library of images. Search and browse collections with tools to zoom, print, export, and share images.

Unsplash All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.

Videvo  Includes video clips, music and sound effects.  Includes both free and premium content.


YouTube Audio Library Browse and download free music for your project. 

Open Music Library The Open Music Library is an initiative from Alexander Street to build the world’s largest free index of digital resources for the study of music.

Free Music Archive  offers free downloads under Creative Commons and other licenses.