Explore publicly accessible digital learning materials

ASU for You

During these challenging times, Arizona State University is doing everything it can to ensure that learning continues on a grand scale. As a member of the ASU community, you're invited to explore these publicly accessible, digital educational resources, curated by the ASU Library, that are available to everyone, everywhere, and can be integrated into your academic and professional work.

From e-books to digital archives and oral histories, these librarian-approved materials are high quality and have been made accessible to the public at no cost to the user.

ASU students collaborate in the Hayden Library makerspace and conduct additional research on laptops.

Finding open educational resources

If you’re looking for materials to use in courses or other educational situations, there is a bounty of open educational resources (OERs), open textbooks, and other learning objects that can help.

  • Search OASIS, a meta search tool developed by SUNY Geneseo that searches across 52 different OER sources and includes a range of materials, including textbooks, courses and corresponding materials, interactive simulations, public domain books, audiobooks, modules, open access books, videos and podcasts on a variety of topics — from anthropology to zoology. OASIS also is the only tool that allows users to limit searches by creative commons licenses or by faculty review.
  • Check out MERLOT, a free peer-reviewed collection of educational materials meant for use in higher education. The collection consists of tens of thousands of discipline-specific resources, course assignments, and contributor comments to guide instruction.
  • The OER Commons is a freely accessible online collection of open educational resources. This fully searchable catalog allows you to browse by subject area, grade level and material type.

For more ideas, visit the Open Education Library Guide.

An ASU Library student worker reads a book in the newly renovated Hayden Library, sitting in front of white bookshelves filled with books.

Finding books

Looking for a good read, or just need some ebooks? We've got you covered.

  • Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free e-books with a focus on older works that are not under copyright protection within the United States.
  • Directory of Open Access Books focuses on academic titles and includes over 27,000 academic peer-reviewed books from hundreds of publishers.
  • Open Book Publishers publishes open access academic research in the humanities and social sciences. All books include a free online edition that can be read via the website, downloaded, reused or embedded.
  • The Internet Archive includes millions of free books, movies, software, music and more.
  • The Open Video Project is a repository of open access digitized videos for education and learning purposes
  • Selections from the National Film Registry Collection: Library of Congress includes a list of movies deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" that are earmarked for preservation by the Library of Congress. The majority of movies in "Selections from the National Film Registry" are freely available to download.
  • WikiMedia Commons includes more than 60 million freely usable media files
Professor and Director of the ASU Library Data Science unit Michael Simeone stands in front of diagrams on a white board explaining the theory and use of data in practice.

Finding data

If you need data sets, there are a number of open data repositories that make data accessible and useful:

  • The Dryad Digital Repository is a curated resource that makes research data discoverable, freely reusable and citable. Dryad provides a general-purpose home for a wide diversity of data types.
  • Registry of Research Data Repositories (re3data) identifies a listing of 1,500 research data repositories, making it the largest and most comprehensive registry of data repositories available on the web.
  • Google Dataset Search searches datasets hosted in thousands of repositories across the web, making these datasets universally accessible and useful.
  • Explore Data.Census.Gov to discover official statistics for the United States.
  • FRED is the portal of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis for economic data and analysis tools.
  • For international data, the World Bank Open Data portal provides data and tools for analysis and visualization.
ASU students collaborate in a study room at Hayden Library on laptops; chemical symbols are handwritten on a whiteboard behind them.

Finding images and other primary resources

Libraries, archives, museums, and cultural heritage institutions provide immediate access to millions of items in their collections. Use these starting points for inspiration:

  • The Digital Public Library of America connects people to the special collections and archives held within America’s libraries, archives, museums and other cultural heritage institutions. Photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, videos, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents and more are immediately available in digital format.
  • The Library of Congress makes available millions of images, newspapers, manuscripts, books, and archived websites available to view and download. Most collections include articles, essays, and other supporting resources.
  • Arizona Memory Project provides access to primary sources in Arizona archives, museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions. Maps, historical newspapers, oral histories, photographs, and government documents are available to explore.
  • Europeana is a hub for cultural heritage items from thousands of European archives, libraries and museums, including newspapers, books, maps, art works, fashion objects, manuscripts, and more.
  • Creative Commons Search aggregates results across multiple public repositories into a single catalog of over 300 million images, and facilitates reuse through features like machine-generated tags and one-click attribution.

Looking for more in-depth research?

Sometimes you’re looking for peer-reviewed scholarly research but don’t have access to a library subscription. Here are a few options to help connect you to the research you need:

1. Search in the ASU Library One Search

This search is pre-filtered to find Open Access resources. These are indicated with the Open Access label and logo The Open Access logo looks like an open combination padlock. .

Library One Search

2. Install a browser extension like Unpaywall or Open Access Button

If you encounter articles that appear to be behind paywalls, a browser extension can help you check to see if an open access version is available somewhere else.

You can also search for an article directly through the Open Access Button webpage.

3. Google it

Institutional repositories such as ASU's Digital Repository are crawled by Google, making the material available through a Google search.

For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic response time, many publishers are providing notably freer access to their resources than normal for a limited time.  The ASU Library will continue to review these resources to see if any are more valuable than those to which we now subscribe, but most access will end when the emergency ends.  ASU librarians have curated a list of these resources on this libguide .


For more ideas on finding open access materials, check out the Open Access Library Guide and the Finding Open Content library guide.

Please do not hesitate to use ASU Library's Ask a Librarian service if you need additional assistance.