How To

Creating Your Own

Are you interested in creating your own open source textbook or learning more about the process and work involved?  There are a number of campus and external resources available to help you as you consider this option and to bring your ideas to fruition.

Step 1: Consultation

We suggest that you first discuss your ideas with your subject specialist in the University Libraries. Subject librarians can guide you through exploring textbooks that are already available and to offer advice on how to begin.

The Library’s Guide to Open Educational Resources has tools for faculty, including information about copyright and the types of print and media that you can include.

The University Libraries also operates the Digital Repository at the University of Maryland (DRUM), which allows you to store and share any open access materials that you produce.

Step 2: Explore Resources to Help you Produce Your Work

Perhaps there are a number of financial and other resources available that you can explore to assist in the creation of your work.  Grants or other incentives might be available at your institution.  Also examine participating in the Maryland Open Source Textbook Initiative (MOST), launched in 2013.

Step 3: Creation

The idea of combining many different types of freely available materials into a single course-specific "textbook" is rather daunting. A number of products and services exist to facilitate that process, such as OER Commons Open AuthorOpenStax CNX and the Authoring Open Textbooks Guide. Many also serve as repositories to give you a head start on Step 4.

Step 4: Make Your Work Widely Available

In addition to DRUM, there are a number of existing open source textbooks repositories that you can use to more broadly disseminate your work. OER Commons and MERLOT are the most well known, but review this list for some of the other major players. Getting a Creative Commons license for your content furthers your cause, as this means your content will appear in a Google search for openly licensed resources.

Step 5: Publicize

The University Libraries can assist in promoting and marketing your work both locally and nationally. You can reach us at

Did You Know?

  • College textbook prices increased by 186% between 1986 and 2004. (U.S. Department of Education)
  • An open source textbook is just like any textbook, except it has a nonrestricted copyright license
  • UMD estimates students spend $1,130 on books and supplies. (Office of Admissions)
  • 48% of Maryland students say that textbook prices affect which/how many classes they choose to take. (SGA and MaryPIRG survey)
  • 65% of Maryland student consumers have opted out of buying a college textbook due to its high price. (SGA and MaryPIRG survey)
  • In Fall 2014, students saved $873,393.00 at the University Book Center (UBC) by purchasing used books and renting their textbooks. (University Book Center)

Students Spend