Web Sources: Part 2

We continue this section by covering a variety of web resources that are invaluable but that don't necessarily show up in our everyday web searches. Many of the web resources do not simply report information but require visitors to generate information based on user input or search for resources.

In particular, in this section, I'd like to cover a variety of open educational resources and digital libraries. Your education at UK should be, I hope, super beneficial, but you won't be in college forever, and you may have the kind of mind that wants to continue to grow and learn and improve. These sites may also help with various research projects, but they're also just enlightening and educational.

Fortunately, the number and quality of open educational resources has been blossoming in recent years, and these sites offer free, online textbooks on a vast range of subjects.


Directory of Open Access Books

The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) provides references to hundreds of free textbooks or scholarly works on a wide range of topics. It's easy to browse by topic or subject, such as sociology, economics, earth sciences, technology, and more.

OER Commons

OER Commons is probably a bigger resource for open educational content. It provides access to subject areas ranging from applied science to education to mathematics to social sciences. It goes beyond providing access to textbooks and also includes access to various materials types, such as case studies, games, data sets, lesson plans, and more.

University of Kentucky Libraries

UK Libraries provides more links to open educational resources and supports a program for UK faculty to create free, digital textbooks. You can find a lot of this material on UKnowledge, and there is an OER Research Guide that lists more links to a wide range of open educational content.

Online Learning Platforms

Online learning platforms include Coursera, edX, Khan Academy, and others. These sites offer courses on many subjects you'd find in college but for free. You can also pay to earn certificates or degrees. The courses offered on these platforms are like online learning courses. They provide lectures and online activities to work through and to learn the material.

Digital Libraries

In addition to the open educational resources that are available, there are also some really interesting digital libraries that exist and are worth exploring.

The National Science Digital Library

The National Science Digital Library is a digital library that provides educational resources on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) topics and for all educational levels. Topics include applied science, mathematics, statistics and probability, trigonometry, technology, chemistry, and much more.

Civil Rights Digital Library

The Civil Rights Digital Library is a digital library that provides resources on the Civil Rights Movement. The library can be browsed by events, places, people, topics, and more. Due to the nature of the topic, some of the content can be disturbing or challenging, but if you are interested in civil rights, then this is an invaluable and necessary resource.

The New York Public Library Digital Collections

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is one of the biggest public libraries in the U.S. with more than 25 million items in its collections. The New York Public Library Digital Collections is an effort by NYPL librarians to make much of that collection accessible to the wider public. The digital collections provide access to "prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more." Visitors can browse by collection or search the site.


europeana is a digital library that acts as a central repository for libraries, museums, and archives across the European Union. In that way, it's very much a European version of the DPLA, which we covered in the prior section.


HathiTrust provides access to books and other items scanned from major U.S. research libraries, Google, and the Internet Archive. There is a big focus on public domain works, which are works that are free of copyright restrictions. Although that's why I've included it in this section on web resources, UK Libraries is a partner institution, which means you can login to HathiTrust and check out works that are still under copyright.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is the oldest online ebook collection on the web, and even predates the web by 20 years. All ebooks one Project Gutenberg are free, and can be read on your computer or ebook reader.


In this section, I largely covered educational resources and digital libraries. These kinds of sites don't generally pop up in our everyday web searches unless we're really looking for them. Thus it's worthwhile to know they exist and explore them if we're interested in the content.

There are two takeaways here on this topic of web resources. First, be good at web search. We covered this in section 5. Second, when search fails, know the good sites to go to. I've only covered a handful of them in this and the prior lecture, so keep exploring the real stuff.