General Repositories

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Image courtesy of "Eneas"

A number of institutional OER projects stand out for the volume and quality of resources they have published. One starting point is the list of OpenCourseWare Consortium members with active repositories that is provided on the OCWC site [1]. The MIT OpenCourseWare project [2] deserves special mention since it was the first large scale OpenCourseWare endeavor and has produced over 1800 courses so far. The materials are not designed for online learning, however, but rather as instructor resources, and often the important reading materials are not available as open or online resources. The Open University UK[3] takes a different approach to OpenCourseWare and publishes materials specifically designed for online learning, but only offers some modules within its full courses freely.

Repositories of training and educational materials offer a range of resources developed by many different organizations and individuals for different subjects, educational levels, and purposes. This handbook has divided the list of general repositories into general licensing categories. These license categories are arranged from least to most restrictive. Sites under "All Rights Reserved" can only be viewed and used in the classroom, with no option to localize and remix and have been placed in the appendix. They are included in this handbook because they might be useful to readers and not necessarily because they epitomize OER.

Most repositories operate under a variety of licenses, so you should check the license of the individual object before use.

See the Licensing chapter for more information about licenses.

Public Domain

The Internet Archive is a collection of images, audio and video that are in the public domain. The Internet Archive particularly specializes in media that is over thirty years old. It also has section especially for education. Users can rate and review OER within the archive. Public domain, with some Creative Commons licensed materials.

Itrainonline aims to be a set of training materials. Most of the resources are licensed as free and open content, but the licenses are often contained in separate files, which have to be downloaded. Sometimes that can make it more difficult to determine if a resource can be freely used. Itrainonline organizes resource in subject areas, and offers a site search. Website allows the material to be reproduced, translated, and disseminated without restriction.

Collection of clip art over a wide variety of subjects. Files are in SVG format (see File Formats for more information). Any text on the website is licensed CC-BY, but the clip art is public domain.

Project Gutenberg is a collection of books that are in the public domain. Titles include Pride and Prejudice, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Poetics of Aristotle. The books are available in several formats, but usually lack any illustrations. Some audiobooks are available (often of more popular titles). All books are in the public domain.


Connexions is an online repository and collaboration portal for OERs. Connexions consists of a series of learning objects, called modules, that can be used individually or combined to form collections such as web courses and textbooks. All users are invited to submit new content or build on existing content. Users can search and sort by subject, language, popularity, or title/author. A system of "lenses" enables individuals and organizations to direct users to those materials that they have reviewed and found to be of high quality. Organizations like Rice University Press are using Connexions as their digital backend to not only open up access to their publication catalogs but also lower their operational costs. The repository currently contains 5193 modules and 319 collections, of which 10 are available as low-cost print-on-demand (with more to come) as of April 2008. CC-BY.

Curriki allows users upload educational resources as well as provide ratings and comments. It has recently been launched and does not offer the amount of materials other sites feature, but is growing. CC-BY, unless indicated otherwise.

Royalty-Free Stock Video Footage CC licensed (BY-3.0) or licensed by the company for easy use in non-commercial and commercial projects.

Creative Commons Stock Video Footage Creative Commons 3.0 (CC-BY 3.0) Free to use, for commercial and non-commercial works, but you must credit the author of the clip.


Citizendium is somewhat similar to Wikipedia. All articles are licensed Creative Commons BY-SA, as opposed to the GFDL used by Wikipedia. However, in order to contribute to Citizendium you must use your real name and provide proof of expertise. CC-BY-SA, except for original Wikipedia articles, which are GFDL.

UNESCO/IIEP hosts a Wiki that offers a list of several portals, gateways and repositories. It offers a list of links to OER initiatives, resources and tools. It was compiled following the first IIEP discussion forum on Open Educational Resources (24 October - 2 December 2005). It offers access to a selection of approx. 30 repositories of open learning objects, mostly at the university level. CC-BY-SA.

Kaltura is a video-sharing site that is similar to YouTube and TeacherTube, but the videos are licensed CC-BY-SA. Visitors can upload a video and allow anyone edit or add footage to a video. The editing options can be password protected, so editing can be restricted to a class.

Web community for finding, authoring and sharing open and free learning resources and open source server software for setting up and having your own LeMill site. Design with and for school teachers. LeMill has 1126 learning objects with more being added daily. Mostly CC-BY-SA.

Qedoc specialises in interactive open educational resources. It provides software tools for the creation and playback of resources, and for the conversion of resources into formats which other systems (such as Moodle) can use. It also hosts a MediaWiki-driven repository of open educational resources created with Qedoc tools. The repository also allows for community discussion of the use and development of new resources. Qedoc has 350 interactive resources published. CC-BY-SA.

WikiEducator is a project funded by the Commonwealth of Learning (CoL) with headquarters in Vancouver, Canada. The site is specifically for developing free content for use in schools, polytechnics, universities, vocational education institutions and informal education settings. However, OER at WikiEducator may or may not be formatted as a course. The topics range widely, including subjects like Anatomy and Life Skills. As with Wikipedia and Wikiversity, anyone can edit WikiEducator OER; therefore, it is necessary to review WikiEducator information before use. CC-BY-SA.


Wikipedia is one of the most recognized sources of OER. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia in which anyone can edit. With over nine million pages in several different languages, there's a Wikipedia entry on virtually any subject. While Wikipedia's editors try to verify the information added to Wikipedia, errors can and do appear. Therefore, it is important to carefully examine Wikipedia content before use. Other wiki projects that are useful for OER are Wikibooks, which has a collection of freely available books and Wikimedia Commons, which has a collection of images, audio and video. GFDL license.

Sponsored by the same foundation as Wikipedia, Wikiversity organizes its content according to courses. As with Wikipedia, anyone can edit Wikiversity courses. The courses are arranged by subject, allowing for easy navigation. Since everyone can edit a Wikiversity page, it is important to carefully examine Wikiversity content before use. GFDL license.


ccMixter offers songs under a Creative Commons license. Several labels allow the reuse of their music, the search term "open music" leads to many results. The podcasting world has a need for open music and there is a growing site with so called "podsafe" music, or music that has been licensed in a way friendly to podcasts. CC-BY-NC.

Freesound is a platform for Creative Commons licensed sounds. There are no songs available on this website just sounds and noises. CC-BY-ND.


The LabSpace is the experimental zone of OpenLearn institutional repository of the Open University from UK. The resources are from several subjects: Arts and History, Business and Management, Education, Health and Lifestyle, IT and Computing, Mathematics and Statistics, Modern Languages, Science and Nature, Society, Study Skills, and Technology. Around 100 resources. CC-BY-NC-SA.

MIT OCW is a large-scale, Web-based electronic publishing initiative funded jointly by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation , Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and generous support of the Ab Initio software company. Its goals are to: (i) Provide free, searchable access to MIT's course materials for educators, students, and self-learners around the world, and (ii) Extend the reach and impact of MIT OCW and the "OpenCourseWare" concept. In March 2006 there were 1,400 courses. OpenCourseWare materials are licensed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under a Creative Commons License (CC 2.5). It offers course materials of all subjects done at the university. It also provides access to video recorded classes. CC-BY-NC-SA.

The Open University's (UK) OpenLearn website with free and open educational resources for learners and educators around the world. In the LabSpace one can share and reuse educational resources, which means you are allowed to modify and re-use(see LabSpace listing). OpenLearn is supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The resources are from several subjects: Arts and History, Business and Management, Education, Health and Lifestyle, IT and Computing, Mathematics and Statistics, Modern Languages, Science and Nature, Society, Study Skills, and Technology. OpenLearn is planning to increase the number of study units available in the LearningSpace between now and April 2008. An estimated 5400 learning hours of material. CC-BY-NC-SA.


Flickr is a photo sharing site with some photos licensed using a Creative Commons license (see the licensing section for more information about Creative Commons licensing. There are two ways to search for Flickr photos with a Creative Commons license is to go to Flickr's Creative Commons page. Another method is to go to Select "Only search within Creative Commons-licensed photos." In some situations you may want to add a checkmark by "Find content to use commercially" and "Find content to modify, adapt, or build upon." As the option might imply, "find content to use commercially" means those photos can be used for commercial projects, such as books and magazines. Photos used from Flickr should be used 'as-is,' without any modification. However, if you've selected "Find content to modify, adapt, or build upon," then those photos can be localized to fit a particular need (see licensing and localizing sections for more information. License varies, from All rights reserved to any one of several Creative Commons licenses.

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching) is provided by the California State University Center for Distributed Learning. It is a clearing house for learning and teaching resources, and allows users to assess the quality of the materials, in the same way amazon users can post reviews and comments about books. In an informal study, many of the resources found were in fact not open educational resources, but copyrighted. MERLOT lists 17741 resources, searchable by discipline or keyword. License varies, see their acceptable use policy.

Audiobook retailer with a selection of free podcasts and video. Licenses vary, but includes some that are fully copyrighted or in the public domain.

Seven groups of subject-specific OpenCourseWare; also specialized resources for each subject. It is an annotated listing of publicly available courseware (lecture notes, handouts, slides, tutorial material, exam questions, quizzes, videos, demonstrations, etc) from the world's universities, colleges and other educational institutions. It was created and is maintained by, a non-profit private website, serving the international academic community. License varies.

A directory with links to audio and video lectures from academics around the world, created by a group of freelance academics from Berlin, Germany. Registered users may add content and edit lecture descriptions. The site will also soon host forums for those involved in science and teaching. 749 lectures. License varies.




Exemplary Collection of Open eLearning Content Repositories. (2007, February 1). WikiEducator. Retrieved March 21, 2008, from
OER Development and Publishing Initiatives. (2008, February 28). OER Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2008, from
Repositories. (2008, February 13). OER Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2008, from