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Open Educational Resources (OER) & Affordable Texts

Guide to free or affordable resources

OER, LER, Public Domain & Copyright


Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation, and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.

OER include a wide range of materials, including assessments, assignments, books, case studies, courses, journals, primary sources, reference materials, simulations, tutorials, tests, audio/video files, and textbooks.

OER use Creative Commons licenses instead of copyright, which gives you permission to use the work without permission, but only under certain circumstances.



Library (Licensed) Educational Resources (LER) are openly accessible via user authentication to the community of cardholders for that particular library. By using LER, such as ebooks, online journal articles, and streaming media, you can lower textbook costs for students. These are high-quality, often peer-reviewed resources that students can access at no additional cost.

Before using LER resources for your class, reach out to your LCCC Librarians to check for copyright or licensing restrictions. 

Public Domain

public domain graphic

The public domain refers to works that can be used and repurposed without any restrictions or the need for permissions. There are a number of ways a work may pass into the public domain:

  • United States Government Documents (note that foreign documents may be copyrighted)
  • When copyrights expire the materials move into the public domain 
  • Factual and non-creative works like telephone books, standard tables of chemical information, etc.

Use the Is It Protected by Copyright? tool to determine if a work really is in the public domain. Another useful site is Public Domain Review.

Traditional Copyright

Copyright is a form of protection for intellectual property that grants certain privileges to a copyright holder. As the name implies, the copyright grants the right to produce copies of a creative work. Under United States Copyright Law, a copyright holder is granted certain exclusive rights to their creation.

The work cannot be used, adapted, copied or published without the proper permission.

There are many complexities concerning use in an educational setting. Refer to our Copyright Guide for more.

Guide Reuse and Attribution

This LCCC Libraries Open Education Resources (OER) LibGuide is a derivative of several OER guides, with attribution noted in specific pages along with the corresponding Creative Commons license.  The general structure and layout of this guide is adapted from NSU Libraries Open Education Resources (OER) LibGuide

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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