Finding Open Educational Resources

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).

Video: Searching for OERs

The following video demonstrates some of the suggested search tips.

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.

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
LibreCommons by LibreTexts
Lumen Learning
Mason OER Metafinder
Milne Open Textbooks
OASIS (Openly Available Sources Integrated Search)
OER Commons
Open Textbook Library
PennState University Libraries ROAM
Pressbooks Directory
Teaching Commons

Activity: My Two Finds

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.


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