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Open Educational Resources Playbook

This playbook will help you locate open educational resources.

About This Playbook

Global Open Educational Resources logoThis playbook provides links to and instructions on obtaining openly accessible material. Please note, not all materials linked from this playbook are licensed under the Creative Commons.

To navigate this playbook, use the menu to your left. If you need assistance, please contact the library at 434.961.5308 or via email at

"Global Open Educational Resources Logo" by Jonathasmello - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons -

Terms to Know

Open Educational Resources (OERs) -- Educational materials that reside in the public domain or that are openly licensed, usually under the Creative Commons. If a Creative Commons license applies, it will dictate how you can use the materials. For the material to be considered an OER, it must be freely accessible and allow for the reuse, revision, remixing, redistribution, and retention of the material. UNESCO, a major promoter for the adoption of OERs worldwide, includes all types of materials under the term OER, including textbooks, curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation.

Public Domain -- Materials no longer copyrighted, works created by the United States Government or works licensed as CC0 are in the public domain and do not have any restrictions on their use.

Royalty-Free License -- This does not mean that the image is free of cost or in the public domain. Usually there is a cost associated with the initial purchase; subsequent uses of the image, however, are free. Royalties are fees paid to the creator for repeated use of the item.

Non-Exclusive License -- The creator of the material is granting you, and everyone else for that matter, the rights to use the material however he/she wishes or defines. This does not necessarily mean that the material is copyright free or even licensed under the Creative Commons.