<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
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 Another concern is that information provided to students, especially in printed textbooks, can quickly become outdated.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

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
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 did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to open educational resources. OpenStax CNX. Apr 17, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10413/1.3
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Introduction to open educational resources' conversation and receive update notifications?