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Find Existing OER

The easiest way to get started with OER is to adopt existing materials. Once you've found an OER that is suitable for your course, you can begin using it right away. 

OER search tools

Northwestern University is a member of the Open Education Network, which manages the Open Textbook Library, an online catalog of college textbooks that are free to download, print, upload to canvas, or revise to work with your courses.

In addition to the Open Textbook Library, there are a variety of repositories with collections of full open textbooks and other course materials that can be used. Below are a few:

  • LibreText: based out of UC Davis, LibreText was recently given a $5 million grant from the Department of Education to further develop their STEM open textbook project. They provide access to hundreds of textbooks and courses, mostly in the sciences and social sciences.
  • OASIS: an OER search tool with full textbooks, modules, homework sets, A/V materials and more. If you're not ready to commit to a complete course redesign, and instead want to begin using smaller pieces of open content, OASIS is a great search tool to use.
  • Open Textbook Library: faculty-reviewed, openly licensed college textbooks. This tool is best for instructors looking to find full textbooks for use in a quarter or semester course.
  • OpenStax: a non-profit organization based out of Rice University, OpenStax provides access to full textbooks, plus ancillary material, primarily for undergraduate courses.
  • Pressbooks Directory: contains thousands of OER across disciplines from institutions using the Pressbooks publishing tool.
  • Project Gutenberg: contains thousands of public domain literary works, primarily published prior to 1924.
  • Wikibooks: managed by the Wikimedia Foundation, this platform contains thousands of open textbooks across all subject areas.

Services and support for OER adoption

OER bibliographies

Send us your syllabus and we will do a specialized search to find openly licensed course materials and library resources that may be suitable for your course. 

OER editing assistance

If you've found an existing OER that you'd like to edit and adapt, we can work with you to reformat, cite, and publish your new OER. 

OER printing assistance

OER starts in digital format, but can be easily printed and bound at cost. The Libraries recommend using a third-party printing service Lulu, which allows for instructors to create a permalink to the book's order page. In addition, the Northwestern Bookstore can order printed and bound copies of your OER to make available at the Norris bookstore location. 

Contact us

If you have any questions about finding and using OER in your course, contact us at