Illinois State’s institutional repository ISU ReD isn’t the only place students and faculty can go to look for affordable resources to enhance classes, coursework, or personal research! There are several other sites and databases to look for books, articles, or even textbooks. This article will highlight a few resources for you to explore.


There are several sites that provide great access to affordable and free textbooks. These sites make available academic textbooks on a wide variety of subjects. Two examples are the Open Textbook Library and OpenStax. Items found on these sites can be used or adapted for free. The content is just as rigorous as what can be found in traditionally published textbooks, with the majority of them going through the peer-review process. These digital cooks can be used to replace traditional textbooks in the classroom, or as evidence for a project.

Teaching and learning materials

OER Commons and MERLOT are examples of open collections of learning materials. Tutorials, activities, and other resources that can be used in classes are found on these sites. They are organized by discipline and age range, and are great for faculty, graduate students, and anyone who needs to teach a course or workshop.

Documents and historical materials

Websites like HathiTrust and the Library of Congress’s Internet Archive provide access to a variety of different resources freely available online. Users can find book chapters, pamphlets, audio, video, pictures, and many other kinds of material for free. Most of these items are available because they are in the public domain and therefore not bound by copyright. This makes them excellent sources for historical material, but can be great for a variety of concentrations.


The Directory of Open Access Journals is a database of journals that publish open and accessible content. You can search for journals on a variety of academic subjects and find freely available articles. Journals listed on this site go through a rigorous application process and are often equally credible as their traditionally published counterparts. This site can be a great resource, not just for scholars searching for research articles, but it can also help authors find alternative journals where they can submit their work.

Milner search

The last suggestion isn’t a separate resource, but rather comes from within Milner’s revamped search engine. When searching through Milner’s Catalog, Article Search, or Combined Search, there is a filter that limits results just to open access resources. This filter lets you find freely available articles, books, and other materials directly through Milner’s search results. Look for the “Open Access” box on the right side of Milner’s results pages.

More from Milner’s Scholarly Communication Team