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New Open Access collection provides 300+ free online textbooks

by Laura Landon on 2020-02-27T15:48:54-04:00 | Comments

By Sarah Bartlett

Open Access logoA new Open Access textbook initiative has added 302 texts on a variety of topics to the Novanet catalogue, all freely available. The BC Open Textbooks collection features online books in a variety of subjects including computer science, engineering, education, fine arts, and language learning. The Mount Allison University Libraries are excited to offer access and promote the use of these resources.

The Open Access movement has gained traction in recent years through the continued development of Open Publishing, Open Educational Resources, and Open Textbooks. The Open Access movement, which encompasses all manner of "Open" information, can be traced back to the 1990s. While Open Access resources, including journals, articles, and databases, have been included in Mount Allison’s collection for years, this month marks the addition of Open Textbooks via the BC Open Textbook collection.

Open Textbooks are of increasing importance to students on Canadian University campuses and have made headlines in recent Tip for finding BC OA books in catalogueyears (Bowness, 2017).  With subscription prices rising steadily since 2011, libraries and teaching faculty have become increasingly aware of the burden this places on cash-strapped learners. The BC Open Textbook project has long aimed to help support students with educational tools created by faculty at their institutions to help ease this burden.

Open educational resources allow faculty to mould their texts to fit specific needs for a given course. This can allow instructors to incorporate multimedia, video, audio, and other digital learning tools directly into their texts. It allows course material to incorporate regional examples and allows for frequent updating of information and examples. This move away from one-size-fits-all models means texts can be easily customized, updated frequently, and changed quickly. Since most Open Textbooks are created under Creative Commons licenses, they allow for the re-use and re-mixing of course material. This allows these texts to be re-used, adopted, or adapted freely by other instructors and institutions.

If you would like to discuss the use of Open Educational Resources with a librarian, contact your subject librarian.




Bowness, S. (2017, April 4). The open educational resources movements is redefining the concept of open textbooks. University Affairs.

Other reading:

Canadian Association of University Libraries Open Textbooks page (

Feldstein, A., Martin, M., Hudson, A., Warren, K., Hilton, J., & Wiley, D. (2012). Open textbooks and increased student access and outcomes. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, (2).

Jhangiani, R. S. & Jhangiani, S. (2017). Investigating the perceptions, use, and impact of open textbooks: a survey of post-secondary students in British Colombia.  The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(4).

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