Trinity Library OER Guide: Finding OERS

Finding Open Educational Resources

There are many different types of repositories that house Open Educational Resources, and this page is designed as a guide to these different collections.  This is by no means a definitive list, but is a good sampling of the types of resources and collections of OERs that exist.  All of the major collections are discussed here, and new resources will be added frequently.  There will also be specific reviews and use tips for these collections posted in the near future.

What you can find here:

  • OpenTextbook repositories: Collections of textbooks designed to be open for faculty to reuse – remix – redistribute in courses for free.
  • The major Open Educational Resource repositories:  These are collections of open materials covering all of the educational spectrum.  There are materials covering all educational disciplines.
  • OpenCourseWare repositories: These are collections of materials submitted by faculty members at universities that are part of the OCW movement.
  • Finding Open Images:  Some search sites and techniques to help you find openly licensed images.

Searching for OER

Using Google to Search for OER

Searching Within Repositories

OpenCourseWare Resources

The OpenCourseWare (OCW) movement began in the United States with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002.  This movement is university driven, and is focused on making the educational course materials that have been created by faculty available outside of the institution.  The materials available vary by course, professor and even semester posed.  Materials can include syllabi,  written lectures, assignments, readings, videotaped lectures, and audio lectures.

This is not a complete list.

Finding Open Images

There are a lot of image resources on the web, here are just a few approaches to help you find open licensed images to use in your courses.

  • Google Image Search – will help you find results from Flickr, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, and general web pages
    • you can take advantage of the advanced image search, to refine your searching and to select a CC licensing you prefer in two ways..
    • Use the licensing filter
      1. Once you type in your search term, you will get an initial set of results
      2. you will have a list of filters on the top of the page, click on Search Tools
      3. use the licensing pull-down filter named Usage Rights to select the Creative Commons license you wish to search for.
      • Google search filters
    • Use the Google Advanced Search
      • at the bottom of the advanced search page, you can use the Usage Rights pull down to select the Creative Commons license you wish to search for.
      • image of Google advanced search screen
    • Reminder – even though you filter, check on the actual image site to be sure of the CC licensing or user permissions.
  • Creative Commons Searching – this is a gateway to search other sites (Google images, YouTube, Flickr..etc) for content that is openly licensed
    • you can search thirteen different sites through this search engine including , but only one at a time, you can’t search across sites.
  • Wikimedia CommonsThe Commons houses all of the media that is used in Wikipedia, as well as additional public domain and freely-licensed educational media.
    • The Commons does not provide an advanced search, everything on the site is either public domain or CC licensed.  You will have to check with each individual item you find to view the licensing.
  • Europeana – is a gateway to European cultural assets, through this one site you can search for artworks, cultural items, archival collections from participating institutions all around Europe.  This site is a gateway, and once you have selected the items you want you will be redirected to the website of the institution that owns the item, and often these sites will not have English translations.  To find an item with the Creative Commons licensing you prefer –
    • Once you type in your initial search on the main page, you will have a list of filters on the left hand side of the page
    • Use the “Can I use it?” and “By Copyright” filters to narrow down your results
  • Flickr – is to image sharing as YouTube is to video sharing. There is content from individuals as well as organizations like the Metropolitan Museum, of Art and the Library of Congress among others.
    • take advantage of the advanced image search, to refine your searching and to select a CC licensing you want to search for
      (last option on the advanced search page)
    • check out the Flickr Commons for public photo archives (
    • reminder – even though you filter, check on the actual image to be sure of the CC licensing or user permissions
  • TheNounProject – The Noun Project is a collection of openly licensed icons.  Most icons can be downloaded as both .PNG or .SVG files.  All icons can be downloaded free of copyright for a small fee (usually a couple dollars), or free of charge under the terms of a Creative Commons license.  Note that when an icon is downloaded free of charge, the illustrator’s name is in the lower left corner of the image.  This can be cropped off, but attribution must still be given in an appropriate place near the use of the image.

This is not a complete list, and this list will be periodically updated.


Creative Commons License

The Trinity Library OER Guide is adapted under Creative Commons licensing from OU Libraries OER LibGuide for the use of the Trinity Washington University community. This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. All linked-to content adheres to its respective license.