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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Copyright Basics

This section will provide a brief introduction to copyright basics that you may encounter while using and licensing OER.

Creative Commons Licenses

Creative Commons licenses are the most widely used type of open license. There are six different Creative Commons licenses available, each with a different set of conditions for re-use and adaptation of works.

Always check the license to determine if your intended use of an OER falls within the license terms.

Learn more about Creative Commons licenses here, or check out Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians by Creative Commons, published by the American Library Association.

Turn each card over to learn about each Creative Commons license. Click the blue arrow button to advance to the next card.


The next step in using OER is to ensure you have correctly attributed the work. Except for works in the public domain, all works with a Creative Commons license require attribution.

An attribution requires four parts, which can be recalled with the acronym TASL:

  • Title: Give the title of the work if there is one provided.
  • Author: Give the author's name, ideally with link to their profile. The author is usually the copyright holder. If the copyright holder requests another entity, such as an institution, to be credited instead, attribute the work accordingly.
  • Source: Give the URL or hyperlink to where the original work can be found. 
  • License: Give the CC License that was applied to the work you are using, and provide a link to the license deed

Example of a correct attribution for a work you have reused:

SIFT graphic





The SIFT graphic by Mike Caulfield (2019) is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

More information about how to attribute sources can be found on the Creative Commons Wiki.