Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

1.3: Finding Open Educational Resources

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    ( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorA}[1]{\vec{#1}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorAt}[1]{\vec{\text{#1}}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorB}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorC}[1]{\textbf{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorD}[1]{\overrightarrow{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorDt}[1]{\overrightarrow{\text{#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectE}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash{\mathbf {#1}}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    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

    1. Look at the table of contents in commercial textbooks for inspiration
    2. Look for smaller pieces of content (topics, chapters, ancillary materials, etc.).
    3. OER repositories are often multidisciplinary, and resources come in a variety of types and formats
    4. If searching by keyword, start with broader concepts and then narrow down using discipline-specific terms and/or limiters available on the platform
    5. Use Boolean Operators (the words “and,” “or” and “not” can boost the power of your search). Check out the Adopting a Savvy Search System in the Ontario Extend “Curator” module for more information.
    6. 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.
    7. 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
    8. Pay attention to the open licence (remember, you can always ask for permissions beyond the licence).
    9. Keep track of information. Some OER’s are catalogued in more than one repository so there may be duplication
    10. If you can’t find an OER in the repositories, try searching Google! If available, use the “advanced search” function
    11. May not find an exact replacement for a commercial resource: some adaptations and using more than one OER may be required
    12. Ask a librarian and/or the person responsible for OER at your institution to help!
    13. 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).


    The following video demonstrates some of the suggested search tips.

    One or more interactive elements has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view them online here:

    Searching for OERs: Where to Start (2:12) [CC BY]

    Video Transcript

    This second video provides an introduction to OER repositories and how to navigate them.

    One or more interactive elements has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view them online here:

    OER Repositories: Search Tips (2:54) [CC BY]

    Video Transcript

    Suggested OER Repositories and Sources

    These repositories are a good starting point to find a wide variety of open educational resources.

    B.C. Open Collection (BCcampus)
    eCampusOntario Open Library

    Some recent resources created as part of the Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS) have an Ontario Commons license, which is more restrictive than a Creative Commons license.

    LibreCommons by LibreTexts
    Lumen Learning
    Mason OER Metafinder

    This tool makes it possible to search two types of collections: OER repositories and “Deeper Search”, i.e. archives and other content in the public domain.


    MERLOT includes copyright-protected content. Search results are presented in three categories: “MERLOT Collection” (mostly OER), “Other Libraries” (pointing to other open collections), and “The Web” (including education and government sites).

    Milne Open Textbooks
    OASIS (Openly Available Sources Integrated Search)
    OER Commons
    Open Textbook Library
    PennState University Libraries ROAM
    Pressbooks Directory

    This directory includes copyright-protected content.

    Teaching Commons


    Pick a topic that you are knowledgeable about. Find two different resources from any of the OER repositories and sources suggested above that would be useful in the field. Share in a Padlet.

    One or more interactive elements has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view them online here:

    1.3: Finding Open Educational Resources is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?