Yvonne Klein
Material Type:
College / Upper Division
  • Creative Commons
  • Digital Skills
  • Information and Communication Technology Platforms
  • Learning Materials
  • Licence
  • Oer
  • Resources
  • Teaching Learning Materials
  • License:
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:

    Searching and finding Open Educational Resources (OER)

    Searching and finding Open Educational Resources (OER)


    This resource is about finding and recognizing OER. 

    • How to search for Open Educational Resources (OER)?

    • Which material to use for my OER?

    • How to attribute open material using the TASLL rule?

    Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under CC BY 4.0 ( by ZHAW, University Library (17 October 2022).

    How to search for Open Educational Resources (OER)?

    There are different ways to search for different formats and resource-types.

    There is a comprehensive link list on Creative Commons, which is regularly update. 

    OER-specific search platforms:

    Openly licensed material under own licence:

    Some platforms like Pixabay, Unsplash and thenounproject use their own licence. If you use their resources, you need to link to their licence. Always read the licence before using the content, in order to know what is allowed and what is not:

      Search engines - you need to use filters to find OER material

      • Google - search for OER in the search field, e.g. "psychology OER" or adjust the usage rights filter in advanced search settings to "free to use or share, even commercially"
      • Flickr - refine your search by setting "any licence" filter to Creative Commons

      OER subject resources - you can find them through google by searching for open textbooks

      OER guides

      OER portals like Zenodo, PLOS 

      • Zenodo, examples of OER material: see our Students4OER-area for different resources that have been released under an open licence
      • PLOS - open access, you can go through a suite of open access journals on PLOS

      TASK 1

      • Try out a few of the search sites listed above
      • Search for a resource from your subject field
      • Read Step 3
      • Go to Step 4 and follow instructions

      Which material to use for my OER?

      Material for OER - in order to publish your OER under an open licence, you need either to be the rights holder, that is you have the usage rights, or the material you use needs to be under an open licence. If you use copyrighted material, it is very rare that you can obtain the right to use and the right to publish it under an open licence, therefore:

      • Use your own material – where you have all the rights to use and publish the material

      • Use material under an open licence – the licence gives you the right and information, so you know what you can do with this work!

      • Plan using openly licensed material right from the beginning of developing your OER.

      • Always check the licence. Is it published under an open licence, e.g. Creative Commons. The licence tells you what you can do with the resource. 

      How to attribute open material: TASLL rule

      If you use other people's material, it needs to be under an open licence, so you know what you can do with the work.

      If you can use it, in accordance with the licence of the work, attribute it, using the TASLL rule:

      How to attribute it example

      Image used: "Physio" by Olli Homann is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0, text added by ZHAW University Library

      A good platform is openverse, it generates the attribution automatically, but you still need to go to the original location of the resource and see if it is correct:

      TASK 2:

      • Go to the following image on openverse
      • Now look at the attribution that is generated automatically by openverse: "Physio School #06" by Broken Window Theory is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
      • Go to the image on Flickr and see if the licence autogenerated by openverse is correct:
        • Is the licence correct?
        • What can you do with it?
        • Can you use the attribution from openverse as it is?