What is OER?


 A buzzy term that’s in the air of academia; wafting through conferences and popping up in job descriptions – but what is it?

OER stands for Open Educational Resources which are materials that aid in teaching (textbooks, lesson plans, slide decks, images, modules, activities, etc…) that are free (or very low cost) and allow users (both students and educators) to make changes without asking permission. The OER community uses the “5R’s” to determine if something is OER.

  • Reuse
  • Remix
  • Revise
  • Retain
  • Redistribute

If someone is able to freely access a resource and they are allowed to change aspects of that resource, combine it with another resource, keep that it forever, and redistribute it with changes, then that resource is an OER.

5R’s. By Kiersten Merke/Auraria Library. CCO Public Domain


The benefits of using OER are many, including lowering costs to students, empowering educators to adapt materials to meet the needs of their classes, and creating a community of collaboration. As the costs of higher education continue to rise, assigning an affordable/free OER textbook is a direct way that faculty can lower the cost of attendance for students. In a 2017 study, 85% of students either delayed or skipped purchasing course materials and 91% of them cited cost as the reason for their decision. With OER, the course materials are freely available from the beginning of the course, thereby obliterating any need to waffle about whether or not the course materials are necessary. Additionally, the text can be far more vital to the course because the faculty can tailor it exactly to the needs of their course. No more skipping chapters or clarifying an outdated section. A win-win for everyone.


OER is made possible by Creative Commons licenses which grant the user many rights with very few caveats. They range in permissiveness from CC BY which only requires the user to give attribution to CC BY NC ND which prevents the user from making derivatives or from sharing anything commercially. These licenses are covered in a Copyright and Fair Use class that the Strauss Health Sciences library offers on a monthly basis. Come check it out!

OER is an exciting and emerging field that continues to break new ground. Check back every month for a new post about OER!

This was written by Ellie Svoboda, you can contact AskUs with questions.

Strauss Library Welcomes Cecelia Vetter!

Strauss Library is happy to announce that Cecelia Vetter, a National Library of Medicine Associate Fellow, will be completing the second year of her fellowship here at Strauss Library as an Education Librarian.

Cecelia spent the last year at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland learning about products and services provided by the National Library of Medicine and working on projects that included analyzing MEDLINE application data, researching computational reproducibility, and providing PubMed instruction.

Having begun her fellowship year at Strauss Library in September, Cecelia is excited to jump right into library instruction and reference.

Cecelia is from St. Louis, Missouri and received her Masters in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2018. Outside of work Cecelia enjoys playing cello in a community orchestra, spending time outside, and caring for her two guinea pigs, Ben and Jerry.

This was written by Cecelia, you can contact AskUs with questions.

New Amesse Leisure Reading



The following titles have recently been added to the Amesse Collection, located in the library’s leisure hub area adjacent to the 1st floor north information commons:


-Atwood, Margaret/ The Testaments

-Blake, Sarah/ The guest book

-Comyns, Barbara/ The juniper tree

-Lefteri, Christy/ The beekeeper of Aleppo

-Lippman, Laura/ Lady in the lake

-Vuong, Ocean/ On earth we’re briefly gorgeous



-Cep,, Casey/ Furious hours: Murder, fraud, & the last trial of Harper Lee

-Pankaj Mishra/ Age of anger: a history of the present

-Rieder, Travis/ In pain: A biothethicist’s personal struggle with opioids

-Smith, Jennifer/ Instant Pot pressure cooker cookbook

-Urbina, Ian/ The outlaw ocean: journeys across the last untamed frontier

Record Now: DIY Video Creation Station

The Strauss Library is happy to announce that the Record Now: DIY Video Creation Station is now available for students, staff, and faculty on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus!

You can learn more about the studio and how to book the room here: https://library.cuanschutz.edu/record-now-studio

The studio can be found on the third floor of the library and provides all that you need to record a presentation, practice your public speaking, record an interview, and more. Just bring a USB drive and everything else is ready for you.

Let us know what you think about the studio here: https://library.cuanschutz.edu/eform/submit/recordnow-feedback

This was written by Christi Piper, you can contact AskUs with questions.

Fitzsimons Army Base Photographs in Mountain Scholar

Strauss library just added the Fitzsimons Army Base Photographs to our digital repository, Mountain Scholar.

This is a collection of photographs taken of the Anschutz Medical Campus prior to the University of Colorado moving here. The photos show the campus when it was the Fitzsimons Army Base.

U.S. Army General Hospital No. 21 opened in 1918 during World War I to treat soldiers with tuberculosis. In 1941, a new building named Fitzsimons General Hospital was later renamed Fitzsimons Army Hospital and then was deactivated in 1996 and officially closed in 1999. Today the hospital is known as the Fitzsimons Building (or Building 500) on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

You can see the digitized images in Mountain Scholar. The images are originally slides, that have been digitized by the staff here at Strauss Library!

Please enjoy the collection, and contact the library if you have any questions.

This was written by Debra and Jessica, you can contact AskUs with questions.

New PsychiatryOnline eBooks Update

The eBooks collection Psychiatry Online has been updated! Please check out the new eBooks that have been added to the collection.

This was written by Jessica, you can contact AskUs with questions.

Introducing LibKey Nomad

LibKey Nomad, created by Third Iron (creators of BrowZine), is a Chrome browser extension that provides instant links to full text articles subscribed to by the Strauss Health Sciences Library as well as open access articles.

Get LibKey Nomad

After adding the extension to Chrome be sure to select our institution:

After the extension has been added and you’ve selected our institution you’ll begin seeing “Download PDF” buttons when looking at article abstracts:

If you encounter any issues please submit a help case and library staff will assist.

This was written by Danielle, you can contact AskUs with questions.