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Searching OER for DEI Resources: Searching OER Resources for DEI Themes

Use this guide as a resource for how to locate DEI resources in OER repositories and in library databases.

Mission Statement

The mission of the OER Grant is to create OER curriculum for English 96, English 101, English 101-97, English 102, and Speech 101 that also infuses DEI themes throughout the readings and discussions used in these courses.

The Harold Washington College Library supports the mission of the College and its programs by offering a variety of services and resources designed to support the curriculum and to foster the life-long learning pursuits of the HWC community. This page contains resources and instructions for searching that meet the DEI component of the grant.

This guide will provide examples and tutorials across several DEI themes to show how to search within library resources, creative-commons licensed resources, and the public domain. It is not intended as an index or repository of resources, rather a jumping-off point to assist in thinking about how to locate the specific DEI/OER sources necessary for the learning objects you are creating. If you would like librarian assistance, please reach out, we would be happy to offer guidance on more specific inquiries or searches.

Below please find summary information on the three main types of information available to you: information in the Public Domain, from Library Databases, and from OER Repositories. The following three pages will review how to locate topics from each of those three areas.

Public Domain

"The term 'public domain' refers to creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark, or patent laws. … Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it" (Stim).

  1. Anything published prior to 1927 (or 95 years from current date).​

  2. If the author has been dead for at least 70 years.​

  3. Data or factual information that is "arranged in common or well-established ways"; ie chronological lists (Jacob).​

  4. Common idioms.​

  5. All works created by US government employees exist in the public domain​

Exclusions: ​

  1. works commissioned (created by private contractors)​

  2. Works from hybrid institutions (like the Smithsonian)​

  3. State and local materials vary, as does materials from foreign governments, depending on jurisdiction​

OER Repository

Searching in OER repositories will allow you to locate both open education textbooks as well as an abundant amount of primary source/supporting articles. It is important to remember to provide attribution to all material pulled from an OER/ Open Access site. Included here is the chart with the various types of Creative Commons licensing used for OER.

Library Databases

Library licensed materials includes database articles and ebooks. These are technically copyrighted material, so inclusion must fall under Fair Use. Because distribution is restricted, if you would like students to use an entire article, the best practice is linking to the article in the database. That being said, it is important to note that databases do hold the rights to alter their collections and occasionally articles are pulled. It also raises accessibility issues, which is an important consideration.

Fair Use

As this guide includes instructions on locating materials within our library, which are copyrighted, it is important to keep in mind Fair Use Doctrine and how to handle copyrighted material. Simply because an information artifact is copyrighted does not mean you cannot use it, rather, it simply requires a bit of though. Because Fair Use doctrine is meant to be expansive, and thus not defined, copyright cases go to federal courts where judges use four factors to determine whether it is fair use or copyright infringement:​

Section 107 of the Copyright Act: Four Factors (Adler, et al 7).​

  • Nature of the use​

  • Nature of the work used​
  • The extent of the use​

  • The economic impact ​

Fair use is judged on two key questions (Adler et al 8): ​

  1. Did the use “transform” the material taken from the copyrighted work by using it for a broadly beneficial purpose different from that of the original, or did it just repeat the work for the same intent and value as the original? ​

  2. Was the material taken appropriate in kind and amount, considering the nature of the copyrighted work and of the use? ​

​Fair use is "predictable and reliable," it has a record of being held up in courts, especially for education use (Jacob 20).

The Code of Best Practice in Fair Use for Open Education Resources argues, "good pedagogy is good fair use practice – a careful understanding of the specific pedagogical purpose of an insert is the foundation of the legal determination that is fair use" (Jacob 5). In order to use an artifact, it is recommended that thus use is transformative, that you can: 1. modify​, 2. revise, 3. apply commentary and critique, and 4. repurpose existing materials.