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Build Your Textbook: 6 Steps

Find Open Textbooks

There are a number of sites dedicated to archiving and collecting open textbook collections. Here are a few sites that can help you find an open textbook to meet your needs.

  • Open at BCcampus is the referatory that has been set up to support the BC Open Textbook Project. The collection currently sits at 79 books that align with the top 40 subject areas in British Columbia (BC). Many of these textbooks have been reviewed by BC post-secondary faculty and the reviews are publicly visible along with the book.

  • College Open Textbooks is a collection of 29 educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, affiliated with more than 200 colleges focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open textbooks to more than 2000 community and other two-year colleges. In addition to being a referatory for open textbooks, there is also a community of educators who are working with open textbooks which you may want to join if you are interested in connecting with others working with open textbooks.

  • Open Textbook Library, from the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, is a curated catalog of open textbooks.

  • OpenStax CNX In addition to being an OER repository, OpenStax CNX is also a content management system that has tools for educators to build and customize content within its repository. OpenStax CNX is also home to theOpenStax College Project, which has produced a number of very popular, high quality open textbooks.

  • Global Text Project is a joint project of the Terry College of Business of the University of Georgia and The Daniels College of Business of the University of Denver. This collection includes open textbooks in the areas of business, computing, education, health, science and social science.

  • Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) is a joint effort by individual community colleges, regional and statewide consortia, the Open Courseware Consortium, the American Association for Community Colleges, the League for Innovation in the Community Colleges and many other educational partners to develop and use open educational resources, open textbooks and open courseware to expand access to higher education and improve teaching and learning.

In addition, there are a few more more general purpose OER repositories that you might find useful when searching for open textbooks. These repositories may contain open textbooks in addition to many other types of open educational resources.

  • MERLOT is one of the first and largest OER repositories. MERLOT is a program of the California State University System.

  • OER Commons was created by IKSME in 2007. The site provides access to a growing collection of 50,000 OER.

  • SOL*R is the BCcampus repository of open educational resources. Much of the material in this collection are resources that have been created by BC post-secondary educators through the Online Program Development Fund (OPDF).

  • Jorum is the place where you will find free OER created by UK higher education communities.
  • comprehensive list of openly licensed repositories is located in the OER Handbook for Educators, including some subject area specifics.

Find resources

Finding resources that can be used in Open texts without permission can be a bit tricky.  If you want to publish your text on the web and not have any concerns about copyright, using public domain or creative commons licenced resources is recommended. You can also always link out to anything available on the web.  

If you want to use other types of copyrighted works like book chapters or library licensed journal articles (not Open Access), you can have an additional reading list that goes with your text, and make that available on a learning management system or through Electronic Reserves. 

The Public Domain

Works that are not protected because their term of protection has expired (generally fifty years after the death of the author in Canada, no matter where they resided or published their work), or because they were published without intention of claiming copyright, are in the public domain.

Finding out if a work is in the public domain

The following flowchart was prepared by Creative Commons Canada in 2008 to help in determining if a work is in the public domain.

Canadian Public Domain Flowchart

Creative Commons

The Creative Commons is a non-profit corporation that provides free licences for individuals who want to license their work in a way that allows for the work to be shared, remixed and/or used commercially.

Creative Commons Resources

Websites for find Public Domain or Open/Creative Commons resources 

Book Chapters, Journal Articles and other Copyrighted Works

To determine what you can use in addition to Creative Commons licensed/Public Domain works, review the On the Internet section of our Copyright and Teaching Guide.  

If you need help creating a companion reading list, you may want to use our Electronic Reserve service.