1.3: Finding Open Educational Resources
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Searching for and finding open educational resources is not that different from searching for any other type of resource. It is a good idea to know what you are looking for and why. You will also find that there are many repositories and federated search engines but as you become more familiar with them you will develop your favourites.
Searching for OER — Tips to Get you Started
- Look at the table of contents in commercial textbooks for inspiration
- Look for smaller pieces of content (topics, chapters, ancillary materials, etc.).
- OER repositories are often multidisciplinary, and resources come in a variety of types and formats
- If searching by keyword, start with broader concepts and then narrow down using discipline-specific terms and/or limiters available on the platform
- Use Boolean Operators (the words “and,” “or” and “not” can boost the power of your search). Check out the in the Ontario Extend “Curator” module for more information.
- Use the repository filters (i.e. filter for licence and/or material type, etc.). Remember though that not all repositories are organized the same way: some offer filters and reviews to help refine search results, while others do not have these features.
- Some repositories include resources that are “free” but not necessarily “open”, therefore take the time to verify the copyright or licence terms of each item to confirm if it is an OER
- Pay attention to the open licence (remember, you can always ask for permissions beyond the licence).
- Keep track of information. Some OER’s are catalogued in more than one repository so there may be duplication
- If you can’t find an OER in the repositories, try searching Google! If available, use the “advanced search” function
- May not find an exact replacement for a commercial resource: some adaptations and using more than one OER may be required
- Ask a librarian and/or the person responsible for OER at your institution to help!
- Shop around and keep coming back! There is no “one-stop shop” for OER. Access different repositories (and continue checking because they are always growing and being updated).
Suggested OER Repositories and Sources
B.C. Open Collection (BCcampus)
eCampusOntario Open Library
LibreCommons by LibreTexts
Mason OER Metafinder
Milne Open Textbooks
OASIS (Openly Available Sources Integrated Search)
Open Textbook Library
PennState University Libraries ROAM