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Guide to Open, Free, & Affordable Course Materials: Other Resources & Guides

This guide assists faculty and students in finding open or free-to-students materials online or through the library to reduce student course content expenses.



Open Access Images

Looking for open access images online? There are some excellent free image and sound databases listed in our Freely Available Resources and Image Databases - Online Collections guides, including:

After searching, click the "Any License" dropdown, and choose "All Creative Commons"

All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required.

Search sites such Europeana, Jamendo, Pixabay, Flickr, and others.

A collection of more than 37 million freely usable media files.

Under "Usage Rights" search field, choose desired image filter (e.g. "free to use and share").

Look for images with a "CC0" tag.

More About Open Access Publishing

Do you have more questions about open access publishing? Check out these resources:

What is Open Access?
UC Berkeley guide on open access

Open Access Publishing
Cornell University's guide

Why open access?
SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) explanation of why open access matters.

UC Open Access policies
Understand the open access publishing policies at campuses within the UC system.

How UC Berkeley Library is Committed to Open Access Course Content

UC Berkeley Library eagerly acquires, subscribes to, and catalogs open access books, articles, and other media--helping reduce course content expenses for students. Searching our Library catalog will yield thousands upon thousands of books and materials that are openly available--often based on our subscription to or participation in a number of open access endeavors, such as: 

The University of California also supports open access academic publishing and offers open eBooks online through:

  • UC Press E-Books Collection
    UC Press E-Books Collection, 1982-2004, includes almost 2,000 books from academic presses on a range of topics, including art, science, history, music, religion, and fiction. Access to the entire collection of electronic books is open to all University of California faculty, staff, and students, while more than 700 of the titles are available to the public.
  • Browse open access eBooks (monographs) published on the UC's eScholarship platform
    eScholarship, the UC system institutional repository, provides open access scholarly publishing services to the University of California and delivers a dynamic research platform to scholars worldwide. Following the link here pre-filters your search results to full books that are deposited open access in eScholarship.
  • Luminos
    Luminos is University of California Press’ new Open Access publishing program for eBooks (monographs).

We are committed to and actively pursuing efforts to greatly expand the corpus of open access content in our collections, and welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Copyright-Protected Course Materials


What if the material you wish to post to bCourses isn't free & open, but instead is protected by copyright? We've got you covered!

Our guide Copyright & bCourses for Course Instructors helps you answer the question: "Can I post this content to my bCourse site?"