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Free web collections, books, journals, teaching materials, and other resources. This guide concentrates on English language collections, though some collections mentioned do have resources in several languages.
George Mason University has launched the Mason OER Metafinder, designed by GMU Librarian Wally Grotophorst, Associate University Librarian for Digital Programs and Systems. It searches a broad range of Open Educational Resource Collections, such as as the Digital Public Library, the Library of Congress American Memory Collection, MERLOT, and College Open Textbooks. Read more about the Metafinder at Deep Web Tech Blog, or try it out below.
Need a particular article, but can't find the full text? Try the Open Access Button search to see if an OA version exists. (If not, try Interlibrary Loan!)
OA versions may include "pre-prints" which do not have final editing and formatting of the published versions. Use at your own discretion.
Search for open access versions of articles via Open Access Button. DOIs, publisher URLs, and PubMed IDs (PMIDs) work best.
Search for Downloadable Materials WorldWide
Do a search for your topic using the Everything search box. Use "quotation marks" around phrases.
Then on the left of the search results under Format, check Downloadable Article and Downloadable Archival Material. You'll get open access and institutional repository content from all over the world.
Guides and Search Engines
CORE (COnnecting REpositories)CORE indexes according to the Budapest definition: "By 'open access' to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited."
Search open access repositories and journals in all subjects (UK based)
An online journal highlighting and reviewing public domain materials. Includes articles (CC licensed) written about materials and links to collections, films, images, audio, texts, and whatever else they find.
Do a search for your topic using the Everything search box. Then on the left of the search results under Format, check Downloadable Article and Downloadable Archival Material. You'll get open access and institutional repository content from all over the world.
An experimental search across all the Open DOAR repositories, which contain articles, presentations, dissertations and theses, and other institutional documents and collections. On the same site, you can also search for repositories, and get a lot of information about institutional repositories.
Less of a collection and more of a paradigm, CC licenses are more flexible than standard copyright and publishing licenses, many allowing free use without consigning the work to the public domain. Various searches are available through this site. Be sure to consult the exact text of the license before use.
The CIA World FactBook and the Occupational Outlook Handbook are just a few of the many government documents available online. Other agencies have collections of historical material, such as the National Parks Service Parks History site. USA.gov will search the whole federal government. Science.gov searches just the science related agencies (NASA, EPA, FWS, NOAA, etc.)
The collections consist of digitized images of books, serials, pamphlets, photographs, diaries (images of pages, not transcripts!), manuscripts, and catalogs. Keyword searching is available, and browsing by collection, material, and theme/subject.
Over 130 digital collections funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant Program. Includes Connecticut History Online and the recently released New York Public Library Picture Gallery. Browse by Subject, Object (type of resource), Place, and Title, or search by keyword (very general topics work best).
articles, books, conference papers, technical reports, theses, and dissertations from CalTech's faculty and students. There are over a dozen collections and more coming. CODA is particularly strong in engineering, but covers all subjects.
Many resources on education technology. Especially see the "Distributed Education" section which includes distance education and online classes. You can also Search from the search link in the lefthand column.
We have a guide specifically for publicly accessible, downloadable data sets:
Not a data source, but a data tool. Sometimes the only format available is PDF, and it looks like you'll have to type it all in by hand. Tabula to the rescue! (Note: Downloadable software which, once installed, opens a new web browser window. Data extraction happens in the browser.) Read more about it.