Creating open access materials is easy!

Erin Wimmer

Erin Wimmer

Open access and Open Educational Resources (OER) are hot topics in academia, and have been for several years. Earlier this week, we talked about what these concepts are and an example of how the Library is collaborating with Neuro-ophthalmology experts to create open access content. This post will focus on tools the Eccles Library has used to develop OER (and some that you can use, too)!

We all know WordPress as a free, open source blogging platform that is actually used for about 25% of websites! Its open source nature makes WordPress very easy to use and customize! As such, librarians suggested this platform to a Nursing faculty member who wanted to have her students create the textbook for a distance PhD class on conducting research with diverse populations. The result is an OER that can be added to in future semesters, and accessed by students and researchers in the field. It also provides an opportunity for students to publish their work, rather than just writing a paper that will never been seen again once the class is over.

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If you’ve been in our space in the last year or two, you will have noticed that something is missing…sort of. Information changes so quickly and is so widely available that having it in one place in book form just doesn’t make sense. For that reason, we decided to move almost exclusively to digital content (ie – we traded the books for electronic resources)! Like books, though, every database and website is just a bit different. To help you navigate this ever changing digital landscape, the good folks at the University of Arizona Libraries created Guide on the Side, an open source program that allows the creator to “guide” the user through the features of a digital resource.

We have created Guide on the Side tutorials for a host of databases available through the Eccles Library. These tutorials lead you through effectively navigating a digital resource, and ask you to follow along so that you can build the skills to do it on your own in the future. With built-in “knowledge checks,” the ability to move through the tutorial at your own pace, and access it when you need it, these Guide on the Side tutorials are a fantastic OER.


Consider creating your own OER using WordPress, or incorporating a Guide on the Side tutorial in your instruction!

For more information on using WordPress or Guide on the Side, contact Erin Wimmer. Also, see our article about the Nursing eTextbook project using WordPress in Collaborative Librarianship, an open access journal!