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Open Educational Resources (OER): Search tools and strategies

Search strategies

  1. Search by discipline/subject matter. Keyword searching is often limited.
  2. If you search by keyword, start with a broad concept (e.g., 'disease' instead of 'cancer') and then narrow it down. As you narrow down your concept, consider using disciplinary language. 
  3. Use the advanced searching feature (if there is one).
  4. Apply limiters to narrow down or broaden your search by audience or education level; material type; and/or license type or conditions of use.

If you still aren't getting good results, contact your liaison librarian

OER search tools

These search tools can help you find high-quality OER in any subject area.

Creative Commons Search

Creative Commons Search  allows you to select
a range of openly licensed media types and general sources.
 

  1. Go to Creative Commons Search; 
  2. Enter your keyword or phrase;
  3. At the top of the page, select "I want something that I can modify, adapt, or built upon;"
  4. Determine what type of content you're looking for (e.g., text, video, or images) and select a source (e.g., Flickr for images). For all possible formats, choose Google/Web;
  5. After finding a resource you're interested in, look for a license agreement.

Note: Creative Commons offers licenses with various degrees of openness. The most open license is CC0.

Google Advanced Search

Google Advanced Search can help you find resources
 licensed under a Creative Commons license.

  1. Go to  Google Advanced Search;
  2. Plug in your keywords or phrases;
  3. At the bottom of the search page, find the "usage rights" field;
  4. Change this field to "free to use share or modify;" 
  5. The results page should show only resources licensed under a Creative Commons license;
  6. Verify license and determine exact terms of use.

YouTube Search

YouTube Search can help you find videos licensed under a Creative Commons license.

  1. Go to YouTube;
  2. Search by keyword;
  3. Use the Filters feature to filter your search results to videos licensed under a Creative Commons license.

General Google Search

A general Google Search is useful when you need to broaden your search.
It will return a vast array of resources that may require significant sifting
to yield useful results. 

  1. Go to  Google;
  2. Plug in your keywords and the phrase "Creative Commons" (in quotation marks); 
  3. The results page should show only resources licensed under a Creative Commons license;
  4. Verify license and determine exact terms of use.