transparent online seach field with finger pointing to the field

Searching Techniques


The Creative Commons Search allows you to specify a content collection and your chosen topic. Creative Commons Australia provides more information on advanced searching.

Youtube and Flickr also have their own Creative Commons filters, as does Blackboard's Mashup Tool for Flickr (found in the Content Builder).

Search on Creative Commons website

A variety of OER repositories, portals, and search engines provide an efficient way to search for open resources in a specific domain or discipline.

  • OER Commons. An extremely useful repository of resources that allows you to browse by subject area.
  • OpenDOAR. A directory of Open Access Repositories (mostly academic theses) providing a search of repositories as well as individual resources.

OER Commons - Advanced search

This short video (1min 34sec) demonstrates how one staff member used OER Commons to locate open resources for her Anatomy and Physiology unit. By using the advanced search functionality, she is able to find resources that are available for commercial use, whilst also allowing modification.



Video: Locating engaging OER for anatomy-physiology

OER courses and MOOCs often use resources that are themselves openly licensed. This makes OER courses valuable for finding discipline-specific open content that has been collated and reviewed by content experts. However, it is very important to check the licence on any resource you are intending to use, as OER courses may use resources with a mix of 'Creative Commons' and 'All Rights Reserved' licencing.

OER Courses for Engineering: Two examples
The examples below demonstrate two types of OER courses, one in which material has been collated from the internet, the other in which material has been developed especially for the course. Both provide a structured curriculum of topics, and could be used to find valuable openly licensed learning resources. However these OER courses vary considerably in their use of Creative Commons licencing, thus care would be needed to ensure that resources were used appropriately and legally.

  • Fluid Mechanics - Saylor.org
    Includes seven units, all reviewed by subject matter experts. This OER uses a mix of openly licensed and "All Rights Reserved" material, including YouTube videos.
  • Engineering Statics - Carnegie Mellon University
    Includes "learn by doing" interactive content and videos, all licensed under the Creative Commons Share-Alike licence.