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OER & Textbook Affordability

Accessibility & Affordability

What are OER?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are course materials that are free for students to access and use.

Materials may either be created as OER or they may be licensed by the college, with one purchase providing access to all students.


Why use OER?

There are many benefits to using OER. The greatest is affordability. Textbook costs can add up quickly for students and some may be unable to afford their books. Free textbooks are free!

All students will have immediate and unlimited access on the first day of class. Students will be more prepared.

Many OER also come with creative commons licenses, which are copyright permissions that allow instructors to modify, adapt, and edit the text, which gives you greater flexibility and control over the content.

What can I do today?

The library may already own eBook versions of the books you already have assigned. Most eBooks in the library's collection have unlimited access, so your entire class can access our eBooks for free! You can use Quick Search to find out if we have a specific title.


How will my students access a library eBook?

The easiest method is to find the permalink on the eBook's abstract page. A permalink is a URL that essentially includes an Etown access code and will permanently point to the book. You can then use this link in your syllabus or on Canvas.

Students can either read the book online or download it to their own device. (Please note that downloading usually requires a separate one-time download of the Adobe Digital Editions app.)


What if the library doesn't have my book?

Not all books, especially textbooks, are available for libraries to purchase and license as eBooks. But, we are happy to research individual titles for you. Please contact Tom Zaharevich, Collection Development Librarian, with questions about purchasing books.


High Library QuickSearch

QuickSearch is a discovery tool that retrieves books, articles, media and more found in the High Library Catalog, databases, and digital collections. Use the facets on the left side of the results screen to narrow your search by publication type, language, date, topic and more.


How can I find OER?

Most OER are available to find with an internet search. Below, you can find a few suggested sites. The library also subscribes to the database Faculty Select, a one-stop shop for finding OERs.


Faculty Select

Faculty Select is a database designed to help faculty discover OER to use as course materials. It includes OER from numerous sources, including library resources, so faculty only need to complete one search.

It includes OER from the Open Education Network, Milne, OAPEN, BC Open Text, OpenStax and more from its OA Collection.

It also includes library eBooks from academic publishers. These may already be in the library's collection and unlocked to use, or you can request their purchase.

For help with Faculty Select, please see the video tutorial and FAQ.



Succeed in the Hunt for OER: Finding OER for Faculty was a workshop offered in October 2023, in recognition of Open Access Week.

Other topics included OAlphabet Soup: An Introduction to OA and OER, Creative Commons: The Creative Copyright Solution, and Using Open Access and Copyrighted Content. See all of the workshops on our Copyright and Fair Use Guide.

Explore More OER