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Free Online Resources


This guide will introduce you to selected quality resources that are available free online. Many things online are not available without a subscription or fee, particularly scholarly books and articles. However, there is a growing movement among academics, libraries, and others to make information freely available! There are several related and overlapping terms used to describe these freely available resources which will help you understand which resources they apply to, and how to find them. 
When you use UAlberta Library Subject Guides, you will notice that online resources indicate whether they are Open or are available to current UA staff & students only. 


Open Access: Open Access refers to published academic research that is available for anyone to access online without payment. It may refer to whole journals or individual articles, and is increasingly becoming a requirement of grant funding.


Creative Commons: Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that provides licenses and tools to help anyone assign copyright terms to creative and academic works. These copyright licenses are often used to control the use of materials found online, including open access articles, media, websites and more.


Public Domain: Unlike Creative Commons which have copyright statements, Public Domain "consists of all the creative work to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable".


Open Source: Open Source refers to computer code or software that has been made freely available, often with the ability to change and redistribute. Different licenses and conditions will apply.


Open _____: Open has become a common prefex to indicate that an item or type of material is freely available. This can be a helpful way of searching for types of materials outside of what is listed on this guide. For example: open textbooks, or open data.


With all information found online, it's important to evaluate the quality of that information.