Open (Free) Textbooks: Locating Open Textbooks

Information and instruction for MP lecturers/teachers about locating, evaluating, and adapting or adopting free textbooks for their subjects, courses or students

Recommended Resources


A list of OER search tools - reviewed by Melbourne Polytechnic Library

oasis logo


  • ‚ÄčThis is a mega-search engine:  it searches in, and includes results from, around 98 of the well-known Open Textbook repositories (including universities, research bodies, ebook repositories, and libraries)
  • Depending on what you're searching for, it could well be your "one-stop-shop"
  • You may limit your search solely to textbooks, if you wish (just choose the textbook button at the bottom of the search box, after you've entered your keywords)
  • Other types of open content are also findable via OASIS (course materials, interactive simulations, public domain books, audio books, modules, etc)
  • Searchable by keyword
    (Widget code provided by Oasis:



  • Merlot provides access to curated online learning and support materials, and content creation tools
  • Content is drawn from an international community of educators, learners and researchers
  • Merlot has a very good search interface, which enables filtering of search results by materials type, audience, mobile platform, CC license type, and more
  • Built by California State University



  • The Open Textbook Library contains textbooks funded, published and licensed to be freely used, adapted and distributed
  • All texts are either used at multiple Higher Education institutions or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society or professional organisation
  • This repository contains around 700 textbooks, and standards for selecting them are reputed to be very high
  • The Open Textbook Library covers a range of subjects:  IT, Education, Business, Science, Engineering, Psychology, and more
  • From the University of Minnesota



  • OpenStax includes resources for both instructors, and for students
  • It is a popular source of textbooks, particularly among US colleges and universities - with at least half of them using it
  • Subject coverage:  Business, Economics, Social Sciences, Biology, Algebra, and more
  • Sponsored by Rice University (US)



  • Varying licenses:  some books are licensed as CC-BY (the preferred CC license for adopting an Open Textbook).  However other books retrieved from this repository have CC-ND (Non-Derivative) Licenses.  A true Open Textbook is one that enables people to reuse, remix, make changes, and so on.  The Non-Derivative license is the opposite of this (by not allowing any derivatives (versions/changes) to be made). 



  • M.O.S.T. provides a variety of search options:  search by subject or keyword, limit to student type eg Community College
  • It requires a login if you wish to save materials

Evaluating an Open Textbook

Once you've chosen your Open Textbook, it's important to carefully evaluate it. 

Chapter Nine of BCCOER's Adoption Guide provides clear and comprehensive guidelines for evaluating Open Textbooks. 
Click the image (above).

Evaluating an Open Textbook

This checklist is an example of the many web-based Open Textbook development resources that are freely available for you to use.  It comes from BCCOER, a world-leading Canadian Open Education organisation that provides high-quality, openly-licensed resources, particularly useful for people just starting out with Open Textbooks, or for Open Education Resources (OER) of any type.  

BCCOER open texts are searchable via the OASIS search tool. 

Click the image (above) to view the guide.

The creator of the Faculty Guide for Evaluating Open Education Resources is  BCCOER.  This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0 International).