Introduction to Open Educational Resources, Attribution, and Use

Open Educational Resources Logo
“OER Logo Open Educational Resources” by Markus Büsges, Wikimedia Deutschland e. V. is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

As a student you may be familiar with the term, Open Educational Resources. Yet, it can be difficult to grasp the full breadth of the Open Educational Resources conversation. So what are Open Educational Resources and how can we use them with proper attribution?

UNESCO defines Open Educational Resources (OER) as “teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with intellectual property licenses that facilitate the free use, adaptation and distribution of resources.” OER differs from resources published under traditional copyright by allowing for much more flexibility in how the resource is retrieved and used. OER can come in a variety of formats including traditional textbooks or articles, videos and images, and even lesson plans or online courses. Essentially, OER are materials that are openly and freely available for use or re-use.

The cost-free nature of OER contributes to a more accessible and equitable academic environment. Using OER significantly reduces the cost of class materials for students and instructors alike. OER is also often distributed faster than resources that go through the formal publishing process. When researching a current topic, OER resources can often be a good source of timely information. When using less traditional OER, such as lesson plans or other course materials, OER allows for more flexibility and creativity in how a course is prepared, taught, and received. OER supports different learning styles as materials can be found in a variety of formats. And if a format is not available, the source content can be remixed and redesigned into something new due to the open nature of OER.

OER and the ‘Five Rs’
As a student, you may have previously used OER in your research, projects, or presentations. For example, you may have cited an open article in a research paper. Or maybe a professor of yours used an open textbook in your course. Maybe you’ve seen a classmate use open media in a presentation such as an image or audio licensed in the Creative Commons. All of these are great examples of how OER can be integrated into your current learning and academic life. Yet, before using OER, it is important to know about the permissions associated with the content. While all OER is ‘open’, some resources have more flexibility than others.

Most OER allows for some, or all, of the following permissions, known as the ‘Five Rs’ developed by David Wiley:

  • Retain – make, own, and control a copy of the resource (e.g. download and keep your own copy)
  • Revise – edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource (e.g., translate into another language)
  • Remix – combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something (e.g., make a mashup)
  • Reuse – use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly (e.g., on a website, in a presentation, in a class)
  • Redistribute – share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others (e.g., post a copy online or give one to a friend)

The license deed of each resource will provide information on the permissions you have when using the resource. When using an OER in your work, make sure you know what permissions the resource allows.

Showing Proper Attribution: The TASL Method
When working with OER you may use an attribution statement, which gives credit to the author and source. Yet, note that attribution statements are not the same as citations. Attributions are not academic and should not be used in place of a citation in a scholarly work. Attribution statements are a more informal method that gives credit to the author/source materials, whereas citations are a formal scholarly practice. If formally citing an OER resource for a paper or other academic work, refer to your field’s style manual such as MLA, Chicago, or APA for citation rules. Attributions should be used to provide credit when a formal citation is not required, for example, when using a Creative Commons image in a blog post.

Six books stacked on top of each other sit on a table
For example, this image of stacked books, would have the following attribution: “book stack” by ginnerobot is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

A helpful acronym for creating attribution statements is TASL. An ideal attribution includes all four components of TASL.

T = Title – what is the name of the resource?
A = Author – who created the resource?
S = Source – where can I find it?
L = License – how can I use it?

To properly attribute a resource, include the title, author and license with appropriate hyperlinks. Not all attribution statements will include all of this information. When creating an attribution, reasonable effort should be made to supply relevant information, yet attributions can still be valid without all of this information.

This attribution format applies to all types of OER, including textbooks. This open textbook, Legal Issues in Libraries and Archives, would have the following attribution: Legal Issues in Libraries and Archives by Ruth Dukelow and Michael Robak is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. This attribution statement was sourced directly from the resource. Oftentimes OER creators include attribution statements within their resource to make attribution easier. A good practice when using OER is to look for author supplied attribution statements.

Build Your Own Attribution
If you don’t prefer the TASL method or cannot find an author supplied statement, tools like the Open Attribution Builder, can assist when creating attribution statements. Plug in the information you have about the resource being used and the tool will create a statement for you.

Open Attribution Builder
The Open Attribution Builder was created, and is maintained, by Open Washington.

For further details about attribution statements, visit the Best Practices for Attribution page on the Creative Commons wiki.

Image of the availability and resource type facets in the CU Libraries catalog
Screenshot of the facets feature within the CU Libraries catalog.

OER @ CU Libraries
When sourcing OER, ensure the resources you are using truly are OER, and of good quality, by visiting trusted open-source repositories. Visit our Open Educational Resources Guide to view lists of OER and websites related to your field of study. One great resource for finding open-source textbooks is the Open Textbook Library. This resource is maintained by the Open Education Network, a community of higher education institutions and educators creating inclusive educational environments through OER.

You can also use the library catalog to search for OER. Limit your results to open access resources by using facets. Facets are helpful tools that further define your search results list. Facets are seen on the left side of the results screen in our catalog. Navigating the world of OER can feel overwhelming at times. Consider using these tools and tips next time you are conducting research or working on a project. If you have additional questions about OER, email us or connect with a subject librarian.


IEEE Xplore Discontinuing Support of IE11

Microsoft has begun to sunset support for the Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) browser in August 2021. With that knowledge, IEEE has also decided to discontinue support of that browser for the IEEE Xplore Digital Library as of 31 May 2022. If you are using IEEE Xplore for your research, to ensure an optimal experience, please upgrade to a different version of the browser prior to 31 May 2022.

The Lives of Rich Heiresses

Ever wonder what it’s like to be wealthy? Laura Thompson knows. Her new book, Heiresses: The Lives of the Million Dollar Babies, uncovers the lives of such heiresses as Consuelo Vanderbilt, the original American “Dollar Heiress,” Barbara Hutton, the Woolworth heiress and Patty Hearst, the notorious heiress to a newspaper fortune turned terrorist. Check out our other historical works in our Popular Reading collection. Titles range from commentary, fiction, historical fiction, mystery, suspense, non-fiction, to current affairs, social issues, and politics.

Our collection is on the first floor of Mullen Library in the Reference Reading Room.


Hold your cursor over the Title to see a short description of the book, or click to view the catalog record. The status of the book is shown beside the call number.

Title Author Status
Heiresses: The Lives of the Million Dollar Babies Thompson, Laura
Fake Katz, Erica
Illogical: Saying Yes to a Life Without Limits Acho, Emmanuel
Life Without Children: Stories Doyle, Roddy
Margaret Truman’s Murder at the CDC Truman, Margaret & Land, Jon
Black Ops: The Life of a CIA Shadow Warrior Prado, Ric
I Was Better Last Night: A Memoir Fierstein, Harvey
The Invisible Siege: The Rise of Coronaviruses and the Search for a Cure Werb, Daniel
Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now Yang, Jeff; Yu, Phil; & Wang, Philip
Race to the Bottom: Uncovering the Secret Forces Destroying American Public Education Rosiak, Luke
The Trials of Harry S. Truman: The Extraordinary Presidency of an Ordinary Man, 1945-1953 Frank, Jeffrey
French Braid Tyler, Anne
Flipped: How Georgia Turned Purple and Broke the Monopoly on Republican Power Bluestein, Greg
Drop Acid: The Surprising New Science of Uric Acid—the Key to Losing Weight, Controlling Blood Sugar, and Achieving Extraordinary Health Perlmutter, David
The End of Getting Lost Kirman, Robin
Index, A History of the: A Bookish Adventure from Medieval Manuscripts to the Digital Age Duncan, Dennis
The Naked Don’t Fear the Water: An Underground Journey with Afghan Refugees Aikins, Matthieu
Off the Edge: Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything Weill, Kelly
Sickening: How Big Pharma Broke American Health Care and How We Can Repair It Abramson, John
The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird Davis, Jack E.
Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire Elkins, Caroline
Scorpica Macallister, G. R.
Shadowman: An Elusive Psycho Killer and the Birth of FBI Profiling Franscell, Ron
The First Kennedys: The Humble Roots of an American Dynasty Thompson, Neal
The Midnight Ride: A Thriller Mezrich, Ben
Scoundrel: How a Convicted Murderer Persuaded the Women Who Loved Him, the Conservative Establishment, and the Courts to Set Him Free Weinman, Sarah

For more great information from CUA Libraries, follow us on Facebook and Twitter: Mullen Library Facebook; @CUAlibraries

More Video Streaming: Academic Videos Online (TRIAL)

From April 6-May 6, 2022, the University Libraries has a trial for Academic Videos Online, an educational, video subscription service that delivers more than 66,000 titles spanning a wide range of subject areas including anthropology, business, counseling, film, health, history, music, and more. The content includes video clips, broadcast news + interviews, documentaries, demonstrations, performances, and full-length films.

Try it out!  Let us know what you think of this streaming service.  Send your comments to Joan Stahl, Director, Research and Instruction:


University Research Day is almost here!

As you may already have heard, Research Day 2022 will be our first in-person and online event featuring more than 175 oral and poster presentations by students, faculty and staff plus a selection of musical performances. These represent the great enthusiasm for research shared by our students, faculty and staff at Catholic University.

Universty Research Day logo

When is it?

The day will kick off at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 7th, in the Della Ratta Auditorium (Maloney Hall) with our keynote speaker, Dr. Hieu Bui, presenting on “Progress in Bringing DNA Computers to Life.” The Research Day program on the website lists where all the in-person events will take place and will have links to the virtual presentations. The lunch hour features live musical performances in the Pryz and a variety of food trucks.

When is the awards ceremony?

As in past years, awards will be given for the best student oral and poster presentations at the awards ceremony in Heritage Hall (Father O’Connell Hall). Finalists will be listed on the Research Day website by 4:00 on April 7th. Annual Faculty Research awards and the First Year Experience Essay award will also be announced at the ceremony. All are invited to attend.

Share University Research Day with Others!

In addition to celebrating the great and inspiring research going on at Catholic University, the online format of this event enables family and friends from outside the University to participate! Feel free to share this post with your friends and family.

Thanks to the Research Day Planning Committee, the Web Services Department, and all in the University who have helped to plan this event. We are looking forward to having everyone join us on campus and online for an exciting University Research Day!

Becky Robert and Elizabeth Edinger
Co-Chairs, University Research Day 2022 Planning Committee

If you need accommodations, please email as soon as possible.

De Gruyter Complete Trial Access until May 30th

De Gruyter Complete Trial Access until May 30th
Catholic University Libraries has a trial subscription to the De Gruyter Complete platform until May 30th. The trial includes access to more than 55,000 eBooks, 400 journals, and articles across the humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Coverage includes the content of De Gruyter’s eight imprints: Birkhäuser, De Gruyter Akademie Forschung, De Gruyter Mouton, De Gruyter Oldenbourg, De Gruyter Saur, Deutscher Kunstverlag (DKV), Düsseldorf University Press, and Jovis Verlag.

We seek your input in determining the practicality of the platform and the relevancy of the content to your research. Please send your comments to Joan Stahl, Director of Research and Instruction (


How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question

If you have seen the Netflix series, The Good Place, you may appreciate the ethical dilemmas that the main characters face while reaching, well, the good place. Michael Schur, creator of The Good Place and the cocreator of Parks and Recreation, gives us a funny guide to living an ethical life in How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question. Check out our other thought provoking works in our Popular Reading collection. Titles range from commentary, fiction, historical fiction, mystery, suspense, non-fiction, to current affairs, social issues, and politics.

Our collection is on the first floor of Mullen Library in the Reference Reading Room.


Hold your cursor over the Title to see a short description of the book, or click to view the catalog record. The status of the book is shown beside the call number.

Title Author Status
How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question Schur, Michael
It Could Happen Here: Why America Is Tipping from Hate to the Unthinkable—and How We Can Stop It Greenblatt, Jonathan
Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention and How to Think Deeply Again Hari, Johann
Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking Mlodinow, Leonard
Righteous Troublemakers: Untold Stories of the Social Justice Movement in America Sharpton, Al
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? Smith, Julie
God: An Anatomy Stavrakopoulou, Francesca
Worn: A People’s History of Clothing Thanhauser, Sofi
How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them Walter, Barbara F.
Money Magic: An Economist’s Secrets to More Money, Less Risk, and a Better Life Allende, Isabel
The Last House on the Street Chamberlain, Diane
Fuccboi Conroe, Sean Thor
Devil House Darnielle, John
Strangers I Know Durastanti, Claudia
Greenwich Park Faulkner, Katherine
The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections Jurczyk, Eva
Wahala May, Nikki
A Previous Life White, Edmund
Fear of Black Consciousness Gordon, Lewis R.
The Lords of Easy Money: How the Federal Reserve Broke the American Economy Leonard, Christopher
Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas Raff, Jennifer
Baby Steps Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth, and How You Can Too Ramsey, Dave
Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland’s Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World Reid, Eliza
Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America’s Public Monuments Thompson, Erin L.
The Arc Hoen, Tory Henwood
Cleopatra and Frankenstein Mellors, Coco
Nightshift Ladner, Kiare

For more great information from CUA Libraries, follow us on Facebook and Twitter: Mullen Library Facebook; @CUAlibraries

Trial Database: MGG ONLINE

Attention music researchers!

Through March 30, 2022, the University Libraries has a trial running for MGG OnlineMGG Online builds on the second edition of Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (which the University Libraries has in print), offering new and updated content. MGG Online’s content covers an array of topics not only in all areas of music but also in related fields, such as literature, philosophy, and the visual arts.

This is the time of year when  librarians in the University Libraries begin to think about new e-resources for the next fiscal year, so your feedback will be most appreciated.  Try it out and if you’d like to share your thoughts, please send your comments to Joan Stahl (, Director, Research and Instruction,  by 4/15/2022.

Spring Break Reading: SETI, a librarian, and aliens, oh my!

Seriously? Three of my favorite interests in one book! Gregory Benford’s Shadows of Eternity involves a SETI librarian–on the moon–deciphering and interpreting alien messages; need I go on? Check out our other interesting selections to occupy your time over spring break. Titles range from fiction, historical fiction, mystery, suspense, non-fiction, to current affairs, social issues, and politics.

Our collection is on the first floor of Mullen Library in the Reference Reading Room.


Hold your cursor over the Title to see a short description of the book, or click to view the catalog record. The status of the book is shown beside the call number.

Title Author Status
Shadows of Eternity Benford, Gregory
Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern Beard, Mary
A History of the Index: A Bookish Adventure from Medieval Manuscripts to the Digital Age Duncan, Dennis
Orwell’s Roses Solnit, Rebecca
Everyone You Hate Is Going to Die: And Other Comforting Thoughts on Family, Friends, Sex, Love, and More Things That Ruin Your Life Sloss, Daniel
The Book of Mother Huisman, Violaine
Davos Man: How the Billionaires Devoured the World Goodman, Peter S.
Longshot: The Inside Story of the Race for a Covid-19 Vaccine Heath, David
You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays Hurston, Zora Neale; Gates, Henry Louis; & West, Genevieve
Money Magic: An Economist’s Secrets to More Money, Less Risk, and a Better Life Kotlikoff, Laurence
The Black Joke: The True Story of One Ship’s Battle Against the Slave Trade Rooks, A. E.
The Echo Chamber Boyne, John
The School for Good Mothers Chan, Jessamine
Seasonal Work: Stories Lippman, Laura
Lorraine Hansberry: The Life Behind a Raisin in the Sun Shields, Charles J.
The Good Son Mitchard, Jacquelyn
Influence Is Your Superpower: The Science of Winning Hearts, Sparking Change, and Making Good Things Happen Chance, Zoe
When a Killer Calls: A Haunting Story of Murder, Criminal Profiling, and Justice in a Small Town (Cases of the FBI’s Original Mindhunter) Douglas, John E. & Olshaker, Mark
Brown Girls Andreades, Daphne Palasi
The Grieving Brain: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss O’Connor, Mary-Frances
The Black Agenda: Bold Solutions for a Broken System Opoku-Agyeman, Anna Gifty. Intro by Tressie Mcmillan Cottom
Recitatif: A Story Morrison, Toni. Intro by Zadie Smith
Taste for Poison, A: Eleven Deadly Molecules and the Killers Who Used Them Bradbury, Neil

For more great information from CUA Libraries, follow us on Facebook and Twitter: Mullen Library Facebook; @CUAlibraries

Thinking about Fair Use

This week is Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week (Feb. 21-25), a celebration of the concepts of fair use and fair dealing. As the Association of Research Libraries states, “Fair use (in the US) and fair dealing (in Canada and other jurisdictions) is a right that allows the use of copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright holder under certain circumstances.” The events during the week are for educating students, staff, and researchers on fair use/fair dealing doctrine, offering opportunities to participate in activities, and hearing successful stories of fair use in practice. The week is sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and there are events scheduled by many institutions.

How much do you know about Fair Use Doctrine?

The University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries has created a fun, interactive quiz titled ‘Is it Fair Use? It Depends!‘ The quiz walks you through a number of scenarios based on what you selected previously.

Fair Use Myths and Facts Explained

Other infographics include: Fair Use Fundamentals, Fair Use in a Day in the Life of a College Student; Fair Use Promotes the Creation of New Knowledge; and How Fair Use Helps in Saving Software.

Fair Use Myths and Facts


Fair Use Myths and Facts