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Overview of alternatives to textbooks.

Oer sources of public domain textbooks

Lesson components

  • Fast Fact
  • Skills/Objectives
  • Success Indicators
  • Introduction
  • Activity
  • Review questions
  • Resources

Fast fact

Project gutenberg has 20,000 free books in its online book catalog and is the oldest producer of free ebooks on the internet.


Learners will be able to:

  • Locate sources of public domain textbooks.
  • Establish criteria for selection of public domain textbooks.

Success indicators

  • Lesson plan developed that incorporates use of a public domain textbook.


Faculty often find the task of selecting reading materials or textbooks for a course daunting. Instructors can ease the selection process by establishing and following criteria such as quantity, quality, accuracy, currancy, reading level, relevance, and reliability. Whether due to passion for the course topic or simply hasty decision-making, some instructors make the mistake of selecting and assigning an overwhelming amount of reading for their students. Try estimating how many minutes students will need to complete each reading assignment and adjust your selection of learning materials accordingly. Another concern is that information provided to students, especially in printed textbooks, can quickly become outdated.

    Criteria/guidelines for selection of materials

  • Quality of content, literary merit and format
  • Timeliness
  • Favorable reviews
  • Permanence/lasting value
  • Authority: author
  • Scope
  • Physical quality
  • Format: print, CD-ROM, online, etc.
  • reading level

Two major efforts to promote the development and sharing of public domain textbooks are Connexions and Wikibooks . Free Textbook Search allows users to search for free textbooks in 113 sites in English, German, French, Dutch or Swedish.

Connexions is a project at Rice University supported by the Hewlett Foundation to promote collaborative development, free sharing, and rapid publishing of scholarly content on the Web. Content is organized in small modules that are easily connected into larger courses. All content is free to use and reuse under the Creative Commons "attribution" license.

Wikibooks is a Wikimedia project started in 2003 with the mission to create a free collection of open-content textbooks that anyone can edit.

Collections of books that are freely available include Project Gutenberg , Read Print , Bartleby , Online Books , Electronic Text Service , and the Open Book Project .

Project Gutenberg has 20,000 free books in its Online Book Catalog and is the oldest producer of free ebooks on the Internet. The mission of Project Gutenberg is to encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks.  In an effort to promote intercultural understanding, the World Digital Library plans to make available significant primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, archi­tectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials.

The Assayer displays a list of textbooks that are freely available in many disciplines. For an example, see these introductory physics textbooks and Liberte , a first-year collegel French textbook. The Internet Public Library  provides a comprehensive list of books that are available on the internet.  A video tour of the site is available. Examples of free available eBooks from Bartleby :

Two sources of audio books in the public domain are LibriVox and Loudlit . LibriVox provides free audiobooks from the public domain with several options for listening. Loudlit provides a text of great literary masterpieces as well as high quality audio to help readers improve their spelling, punctuation and paragraph structure. Loudlit literature includes children's stories, poetry, short stories, and novels.

Other sources of textbook learning materials are digital collections of institutional repositories at universities and self-archiving by authors on the internet. Some of these include:



  • Identify some learning materials at Project Gutenberg .
  • Go to Wikibooks to identify textbooks in your teaching discipline.
  • Consider using Wikibooks for a class project ; read the guidelines.
  • Take a tour of Connexions to find out if it has resources of use to you in your teaching.



  • Distributed Proofreaders . Help create an eBook.
  • Contribute to Wikibooks by editing pages, creating new pages, publicizing Wikibooks, and many other ways, such as donating.

Review questions

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages to using public domain textbooks for teaching?
  • What are the most useful sources of public domain textbooks in your discipline and why?


Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to open educational resources. OpenStax CNX. Apr 17, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10413/1.3
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