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OER Resources

Search Engines and Aggregators

OER Books

Public Domain, U.S. government and other open knowledge repositories


Images and Archives

Simulations, Models and Case Studies

Search Engines and Aggregators

MASON OER Metafinder - George Mason University has partnered with Deep Web Technologies to create an OER Metafinder that searches fifteen of the leading OER repositories with a single query. Users can perform broad queries across all sources, search for terms in title, or author(s) and specify a specific date range.

MERLOT II- A CSU project.  Search the MERLOT collection of links to free online learning materials, create your own collection adopt other collections and read reviews/ratings.   View an introduction to using MERLOT and OER Commons in Step 4 of searching for OER.

OER Commons - One of the best and easiest sites to use.  Narrow your search by Subject Area, Grade level, material type, media format and the conditions for use.

Open Courseware Consortium-This search index contains almost 6,000 open courses from many universities (multilingual site). Use the advanced course search or browse by language or source. Results link to the original source where you can download materials.

The Digital Public Library of America - A searchable web portal to over 5 million open resources from universities, libraries, archives and museums, including texts, images and multimedia. Browser or search by timeline, map, format or topic.

Open Culture - Another search engine for online courses, MOOCs, movies, audio books, ebooks, textbooks, language lessons and more.

The Internet Archive - A collection of millions of free books, movies, software, music and more.  Use the Advanced search or browse the collection by media type using the media icons at the top of the page.

Public Domain, U.S. Government Materials and other Open Knowledge Repositories

A public domain work is a creative work that is not protected by copyright and which may be freely used by everyone.  Public domain works include U.S. government work and works with expired copyright. Public domain status is likely if:

  • The resource was published in the USA before 1923
  • The resource was published before 1964 and the copyright registration was not renewed
  • The resource was published without a valid copyright notice before 1977

U.S. government work prepared by an officer or employee as part of their official work responsibilities can be freely used without restrictions. 

Google's advanced search results for pages, documents and videos can also be limited to government materials by entering .gov in the domain box.  For video use

Digital Public Library of America Search for materials shared by libraries, archves and museums.

The Public Domain Review, by the Open Knowledge Foundation- curated collections of images, books, audio and film, with links back to the original source.  Browse by medium, time period, tags or the source.

Federal Government Public Domain materials - search for the department or agency in their index. http;//

Library of Congress Digital Collections and Services - Especially good for the humanities, their collections include maps, photos, video, audio and documents.

World Bank Open Knowledge Repository (OKR) - 24,000 resources, including books, articles, research, and reports.  Search, or browse by collections, date, topic, region,  or date.

Project Gutenberg - Now over 42,000 free books.  If you're in the humanities, you've hit the jackpot.  Interested in self publishing? visit  

HathiTrust Digital Library -brings together the immense collections of partner institutions, including the University of California.  The collection includes books in the public domain and digitized by Google, the Internet Archive, and Microsoft. Search the entire site or browser user created collections. -  Locate quality American history sources and reliable content from across the web, including museums, historical sites, government resources and multimedia.

Open Data Sets on - Access data sets from the U.S. EPA, Census Bureau,, Global Health Observatory and others 

Books - open to all

A textbook is “open” when its copyright-holder grants usage rights to the public through an “open license,” which typically includes the right to access, reformat, and create a custom version to fit your own needs it at no additional cost. It's important to understand that the open textbook author retains the copyright to the content.  

The following resources contain existing open texts that are openly-licensed and free for educators to use and adapt to their own needs. There are many more resources through these search engines.

Search Engines 

  • Affordable Learning Solutions | 404 - find free and open textbooks by entering an ISBN, a topic or by subject. 
  • Open Education Consortium - open textbooks by discipline, a project of the Community College Consortium for OER
  • College Open Textbooks - Searchable listings pointing to open textbooks in other repositories.
  • University of Minnesota Open Textbook Library - Open textbooks written by academics from many institutions.  Cover a wide variety of subjects.
  • - Search over 29,000 books by Author, title, Genre or Language.
  • UC Press E-books Collection, 1982-2004 - The University of California has made 770 books available as ebooks.  The collection is strong in American history, religion, literary studies and international studies. While you can't download these books to an ereader or tablet, you can store your titles in the "bookbag" function.  

Repositories/Publishers of Open Textbooks – open textbooks curated by BCcampus, the technology arm of British Columbia's post-secondary institutions. Their goal is to produce 40 open texts, approximately 20 are now available, most with numerous peer-reviews.

OpenStax College - An initiative of Rice University to provide free, high quality textbooks developed and peer-reviewed by educators. The collection is currently at 45 books, with more in development.  The books are available free online. Print copies are also available at minimal cAll of the texts come with instructor resources and test banks, and most have supplemental partners such as Sapling and Webassign that provide additional resources, practice and assessments for $30 or less per student.  

Flat World Knowledge Book Archive -  Flat World Knowledge now charges $19.99 for it's online textbooks, but until 2013 their books were available under Creative commons license. Archived editions of all the books available through 2012 are available to download free at this site.  See the Flat World Knowledge site to view their extensive collection of peer reviewed, low costs texts, which are available in multiple formats. Most of these books have supplemental resources, including test banks, PPTs, study aids and outlines. - The worlds largest multidisciplinary open access publisher of books covering the Sciences (including Social Sciences), Engineering,Technology and Medicine. Since 2004, InTech has collaborated with more than 85,000 authors and published 2,324 books and 7 journals. 

The National Academies Press makes all of their books freely available to read online or as downloadable PDFs. Focused mainly on the sciences, social sciences, economics,  and education. -Great Books Online. Reference, Poetry, Fiction and Non fiction now in the public domain.

HathiTrust Digital Library -brings together the immense collections of partner institutions, including the University of California.  The collection includes books in the public domain and digitized by Google, the Internet Archive, and Microsoft. Search the entire site or browser user created collections. - Bookboon has published more than 900 free textbooks. The books are  individually downloadable in PDF format, or you can choose to download all the books on a subject as one zip file. The books are financed by embedded advertisements, limited to 15% of the book.

Google Books  - Use the advanced search to locate books and magazines published prior to 1923 as these items are now in the public domain

Getty Research Portal is an international collaboration that includes the Frick, Metropolitan Museum, Columbia University Architectural & Fine Arts LIbrary as well as international organizations. The Portal provides free online access to digitized art history texts and rare books. Download images and complete copies of publications in art, architecture, material culture and related fields. 

Nobaproject - Build a customized Psychology textbook from a searchable catalog of over 100 chapters written by 120 Psychology professors. Your book can then be shared and viewed online or downloadable as a PDF.

Google Advanced Search - The advanced search allows you to narrow your results to select only OER materials. Scroll to the bottom of the search page and set the "usage rights" parameters to "Free to use, share or modify".

Images & Videos


TED talks (Technology, Entertainment, Design) - As their tagline says, "Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world."  Now over  to 1000 short (< 20 min.) informative videos, and curated playlists from TED conferences. Watch online or download via iTunes.

TED ed - These short and highly engaging videos are created by "pairing extraordinary educators with talented animators to create curiosity-igniting videos". This unique YouTube channel lets you create a customized lesson, including quiz and discussion questions around the video of your choice. Of course you can always just link to the video or embed it. 

Public Broadcasting Stations (PBS) Media - Instant access to thousands of videos, audio files and photos from PBS productions.  Use the "browse by grade level" links to narrow your search to college-level materials.  Some in-depth lesson plans are available.

YouTube -  While YouTube does not provide a filter or advanced search, you can narrow your search to Creative Commons licensed videos when you search.  Type in your search term followed by a comma, then "creativecommons" (use the parentheses). You can see the most viewed CC videos at

The Khan Academy -3300 videos covering K-12 math ( great for review and remediation), science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and even reaches into finance and history. Each video is a digestible chunk, approximately 10 minutes long, and especially purposed for computer viewing.

STEM Concept Videos - produced by the Teaching and Learning Laboratory at MIT, these videos are designed to help students learn pivotal concepts in science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics (STEM).  Each video is  part of a series that represents a cross-cutting theme in physics, mathematics, chemistry or biology. Instructor guides are available for each video.

HippoCampus - Offers 5700 videos, simulations, and animations appropriate for lower division courses, primarily in STEM fields, but some Social Sciences and Humanities as well.  Easy to use, videos can be played right from this site. Instructors can search by topic, browse by collection or mix your own media playlist combining content from any collection.  The ratings by other Hippocampus users help you narrow down your search. 

Snagfilms -  Films are streamed on the website, which contains a library of over 5,000 films.  Filmmakers can submit documentaries for consideration as well. The site includes documentary films produced by National Geographic and PBS and titles such as Super Size Me, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The Times of Harvey Milk and Nanking.

Top documentary films - Search engine and links to over 2100 documentaries.  None of the audio/visual content is hosted on this site. All media is embedded from other sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion, etc.

Internet Archive - The Internet Archive is building a digital library of Internet sites and cultural artifacts, including video, music and texts.  Use the search to narrow your media type and topic.  The media is in different formats and not all their media is Creative Commons licensed or in the Public domain.  Once you click on a specific film title, you will see licensing information and download availability. Of course, you can always link to available media from your Cougar Course.

iTunes University - Videotaped lectures from many universities, including UC Berkeley, Harvard, and MIT. Available from the iTunes store.  You must have iTunes installed on your computer or mobile device to access the free courses and videos.  Download iTunes from

  • List of Notable iTunes U courses - Note, to access these courses you will still need to have iTunes installed on your computer.
  • 10 Best iTunesU channels - This is just a list, you will not be able to access these courses unless you have iTunes installed on your computer.

Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository  - Broadcast quality video and images that Al Jazeera has released under Creative Commons licenses and is available to be downloaded, remixed, subtitled and shared.

Images and Archives

Many free images carry one of the Creative Commons licenses.  All CC licenses require attribution.  Before you use a CC image, check out this great infographic from FotoBlogger to better understand the different CC licenses, how the images can be used and correctly atributed.

The Creative Commons Search tool allows you to search across the most popular image repositories and automatically filters your search to find only Creative commons licensed images.

 Wikimedia Commons - a database of 18 million usable media files, mostly images, to copy and edit as you like, as long as you follow the terms specified by the author. typically this means crediting the source and author. They're always looking for more, so don't hesitate to contribute your own images, diagrams, music or videos.

The CSUSM library subscribes to the Catalog of Art Museum Images Online, a searchable database.  Almost all the images are downloadable.

Europeana gives you access to the digital resources of many of Europe's libraries, museums, archives and collections, but be sure to check the usage rights.  Not all the works are licensed as OER.

New York Public LIbrary Digital Collection - The NYPL Digital Collections website has added over 180,000 out of copyright high-resolution digital images to their searchable and downloadable collection. Collection includes  historic maps, botanical illustrations, unique manuscripts, photographs, ancient religious texts, and more.

World Images - the CSU IMAGE project database. Browse by collection or use the search and download. Free to use and modify with attribution.

Smithsonian American Art Museum - educational use of over 30,000 images is permitted with attribution to the Smithsonian.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Online Collection  - approximately 400,000 high-resolution images, identified with an OASC icon can be downloaded and used for non-commercial purposes. For more information review the OASC FAQs page.

Getty Images - Getty Images, one of the largest stock photography sites in the world, now lets you embed ANY of their images into a blog, social media site or webpage, including Cougar Courses! Use their search tool to locate the desired image.  hover over the image and click on the </>  icon at the bottom of the image.  This opens a window with the embed code.  Copy this code, then paste it into any HTML editor.  When working in your Cougar Course, the HTML editor is available in the text editing tools.For help with this, contact

Tiny MCE text editor with all icons.

Getty Research Portal-  Includes access to over 10,000 open access images from the Getty museum and other participating institutions. These downloadable images include paintings, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, antiquities, sculpture, decorative arts, artists' sketchbooks, watercolors, rare prints from the 16th through the 18th century, and 19th-century architectural drawings of cultural landmarks.

PixabayTons of excellent free photos and graphics. Easy to use content source for pictures, illustrations, vector graphics, and even videos.  Pixabay resources carry a “CC0” license (Creative Commons “No Rights Required” licensing), which means attribution isn't even required.

Pikwizard - Focuses on photos with a CC0” license (Creative Commons “No Rights Required” licensing), which means no attribution required. - This website searches through over 220 million free stock photos and allows users to retrieve the code necessary to embed the images on the web (or your Cougar Course) with the proper attribution already included.

Freepik - Free vector art, illustrations, icons, PSD and photos for using in websites, banners, presentations, magazines.

Simulations, Computer Models & Case Studies

PhET - a site chock full of interactive, research-based simulations covering physics, biology, chemistry, earth sciences and math as well as some cutting edge research hosted by the University of Colorado.  Download, embed or just link to  your selected simulations.

Open Source Physics - Supported by the National Science Foundation, this site provides simulations, models and other curriculum resources that engage students in physics, computation, computer modeling, Astronomy, Chemistry, Life sciences and Engineering, as well as  supplemental materials such research articles on teaching within the sciences.

Case Studies

When searching any of the OER search engines, you can narrow your search to Case studies. Additional sources include:

National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science - Supported by the National Science Foundation, this collection of currently contains 525 peer reviewed cases in all areas of science and engineering. The cases are written by science faculty primarily from the U.S. and Canada. Cases  are published after undergoing a process of peer review and revision.  All of them have teaching notes. Many also have answer keys, which are password protected.