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Open Educational Resources (OER) and Affordable Course Content

Affordable Course : Library Resources

Library resources are generally not OER.

We subscribe to most of our resources, including journals, newspapers, e-books, and their use is limited to ODU students, faculty, and staff. The content cannot be adapted, modified, redistributed, or shared as OER materials can.

However, you can make library resources available to your students at no cost to them by linking to them. It is important to include the library's proxy prefix - see next tab. 

In order to avoid copyright issues with re-scanning or downloading an article for your students to read, you should provide a link to articles, books and other items available through library subscription rather than uploading the pdf.

Note: If you want students to access the materials from offcampus, the URL must begin with the following:

Digital object identifiers (DOI) are available for most of the full-text materials in our collections. They provide permanent access to the materials. Use the proxy prefix with the doi so that your students can access the materials from offcamus.  


In many of our library databases, if there's not a DOI, there should be a "Permalink," "Stable" or "persistent" URL, or "Document URL" in the full record from the results list. Use this URL, not the one at the top of the browser. Most databases will include the library's proxy link or include "odu" in the URL.  If not, use the prefix above: 


A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique string of characters used to identify and/or locate an electronic article or other "object."  Similar to an ISBN for books or ISSN for journals, a DOI is intended to provide permanent, stable access to or information about these electronic objects. 

Publishers collaborate with an organization called CrossRef, which maintains a database that keeps track of a current web address associated with each DOI.  Publishers are responsible for ensuring that if the web address for a document changes, the reference for the DOI is updated.

Keep in mind...  not all articles or electronic documents have DOIs.  It is up to publishers to obtain and pay for DOIs, and many, especially small publishers, may choose not to. There also may be cases where the publisher has chosen to obtain DOIs for current articles but not older ones.

For a more detailed description of what a DOI is, visit the Wikipedia Entry for Digital Object Identifiers or description from crossref, the organization that maintains DOIs.


  • If you are off-campus, you may be denied access to an article because the publisher will not know that you are associated with the University or its library. In this case, use the library's proxy address:  


Subscription-Based Journal Databases

Using resources from databases subscribed to by the Libraries can be a good way to provide authentic learning opportunities. There are several things to remember if you choose to do this:

  • Always require students to use the permalink to access materials, rather than downloading and providing the PDF. This helps the Libraries to track usage, and requires MIDAS authentication to use the resources which is required by copyright law.
  • Some databases change their content over time, so check back at the beginning of each semester to make sure that what you plan to use is still available.
  • Library resources are not free, so continue to support and thank your library :-)

There are many ways to find journal articles:

  • If you are trying to locate a specific journal article
    • Type the title of the article in Monarch OneSearch. If there, click the link to access it.
      • If not there, search Journals A-Z for the title of the journal. Link to the journal, and then find the appropriate issue for the article.
  • If you want to view all issues of a specific journal:
    • Search Journals A-Z for the title of the journal. Link to the journal. There is usually a search box for all items in the journal.
  • If you want to search for articles more broadly, use a database:
    • If you know which database covers your topic, search Databases A-Z  for the specific database.
    • If you're not sure which database to use, consult our Research Guides. Identify the appropriate subject area/s and use the tab for Articles or Databases for the most appropriate database/s.

Library eBooks

The Libraries provide access to thousands of eBooks, some of which you may be able to use for your course materials. If you find an eBook that you would like for your students to read, you will need to:

  • Check with your librarian to find out the licensing rights for the book. Most are limited to a certain number of users at a time.
  • Check back each semester to make sure that it is still available. Like other databases, many of our eBook collections change content over time.

Subscription-Based Video Databases

The libraries provides access to many streaming video databases that may be useful for your classes. Many allow for clipping and showing segments of videos in class, and can also be embedded into Blackboard.

Content in our video databases changes over time, so be sure to check back each semester to make sure that what you plan to use is still available.

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