Making OER Discoverable in OneSearch

By Ryan Edwards, West Los Angeles College


As West Los Angeles College’s Systems Librarian and new Open Educational Resources (OER) liaison, I want to increase the visibility and use of OER in both our library systems as well as the Canvas online learning management system. Our library systems, Ex Libris’s Alma, a cloud-based library services platform and Primo, ExLibris’s discovery solution are used by more than 2,000 libraries across the United States and around the world. To increase the visibility and use of OER resources, I saw the opportunities to activate OER resources in Alma and exploit them Primo’s Resource Recommender service, which allows one to recommend resources based on searchable tags that are configured in Alma to expose databases, websites, people, library information, and library guides in Primo.

Collections and Resource Recommender

Upon performing a search on Google for "OER and Primo", I discovered via the SUNY Libraries Consortium Alma Discovery/Primo VE website an open access training video and PowerPoint presentation, "Making OER Discoverable in Primo." The presentation described what Open Educational Resources are, how to identify and evaluate OER in Alma and Primo VE, and how to increase the discoverability of OER in Primo. I learned that I could activate some OER collections in the ExLibris CDI (Central Discovery Index), including the Open Textbook Catalog, OpenStax College, and Open SUNY Textbooks collections. I also discovered that I could use Primo's built-in Resource Recommender to highlight OER collections and content not included in Alma or CDI, boost OER content, promote my library's OER libguide with a custom search box to search just open-access content, as well as promote myself as West's new OER librarian. I could also tag content with keywords to make finding OER in OneSearch easier. Ultimately, as a district, we decided not to activate Unpaywall as Unpaywall's linking was a bit spotty.

Resource Recommender Tutorial by Ryan Edwards

OER Webinar

I was asked by Eric Ichon, WLAC Dean of Distance Learning, to co-lead an OER webinar for the LACCD Distance Education Committee. Cyrus Helf, Multimedia Specialist and I developed and co-delivered an Open Educational Resources (OER) Zoom webinar on December 4, 2020.

OER-Webinar by Ryan Edwards

As you know, many of our students struggle to afford required textbooks for their classes. In the future West hopes to be able to offer some degrees and certificates without any required textbook costs. The webinar covered what OER is, the benefits of using OER, and how to search for OER resources via OneSearch as well as West's OER Resources page. In addition, the webinar covered finding OER course sites in the Canvas Commons, previewing OER course sites before import and importing as well as what to do after importing, including adjusting dates, choosing/creating assignments, editing content, scanning and fixing links, deleting content, and structuring content in the modules.


Recently one of West's Mathematics professors, Henri Feiner, shared his digital textbook Beginning/Intermediate Algebra that he authored with a Creative Commons license. West's Multimedia Specialist helped him upload his book to the Canvas Commons. In addition, Professor Feiner shared his "Beginning/Intermediate Algebra" book with LibreTexts.

History of LibreTexts by Delmar Larsen

I discovered that LibreTexts, home to the largest collection of open educational resources online, was not indexed in the CDI nor listed in the Alma Community Zone (CZ) as a collection to activate.  So, I decided to submit a new idea to ExLibris's Content Idea Exchange to add LibreTexts vast collection to Ex Libris's CDI.

Jeffrey Karlsen, from Sacramento City College suggested that it might be more useful to have LibreTexts added to the Alma CZ as bibliographic records.  That way libraries could add LibreTexts ebooks and course materials to course reserve lists in Alma and Primo.  So, I submitted this other new idea to the ExLibris Content Idea Exchange.

Since I'm on both the CCC Discovery and UX Work Group and the ELUNA Primo Product Working Group, I decided to promote the two ideas to add LibreTexts to the CDI and Alma CZ. I emailed both the Alma-L and Primo-L listservs to promote the ideas to ExLibris's Alma and Primo customer base. After Lauren Saslow, Los Angeles Community College District’s ILS Administrator, helped me email all the 56 librarians across the District, I also decided to email the California Community College's LSP-ALL listserv to promote the ideas to all of the community colleges in California's Community College system. My strategies worked! My idea to add LibreTexts to the CDI received 186 votes and the other idea to add LibreTexts to the Alma CZ received 89 votes. Ex Libris is now investigating adding the LibreTexts content alongside the inquiry to ingest the content in their Discovery products. In addition, to make sure that Ex Libris reviews adding LibreTexts to their products, I submitted a new content request to the New Enhancement Request System (NERS).


Hopefully, my efforts activating certain Alma open-access collections, implementing Resource Recommender, and delivering and co-delivering Resource Recommender and OER webinars should help promote OER visibility and usage in Primo (OneSearch) and Canvas. I discovered that collaborating with other librarians across the LACCD district and the California Community College system along with emailing both the Alma-L and Primo-L listservs helped to get Ex Libris to review LibreTexts OER content for possible ingestion into both the CDI and across Ex Libris’s discovery products. These collaborative efforts could be particularly useful in the future for introducing and promoting new ideas for Ex Libris’s review.