Open Educational Resources and Student Success

Studies have shown that students will forgo buying a textbook due to its price even while acknowledging that they will do worse in the class without their own copy. With hardcopy textbooks costing as much as $400 with averages running between $80 and $150, many students feel financially pressured to not purchase the text.

Open Educational Resources (OER) can help students succeed by reducing their costs and improving their access to course materials. OER are freely available material and the availability of them is growing as faculty recognize the advantages to students and their financial considerations in whether to buy textbooks, or indeed, to complete their degrees.

In order help faculty learn about OER, the University Libraries have created a new website,, that provides information on what OER are, how to find them, and how to implement them.

Open Educational Resources site home page
Open Educational Resources site

The Defining OER section introduces what OER are and how they benefit student learning.

The Finding OER section includes search options for OER metafinders and library e-books (which are available at no additional cost to UofL students, staff, and faculty). On the OER by Subject tab, faculty can link to individual guides for specific subjects which provide highlight available materials. The Evaluating OER tab provides a suggested list of questions faculty should ask when determining whether a particular OER will work for their class.

The Implementing OER section provides information on creating and adapting OER, creative commons licensing, and contact information for consultation services with our OER Librarian.

We invite you to explore the site and start thinking about how you could use OER to improve student success.


Richard, Brendan, Dean Cleavenger, and Valerie A. Storey. “The Buy-In: A Qualitative Investigation of the Textbook Purchase Decision.” Journal of Higher Education Theory & Practice 14, no. 3 (2014): 20-31.

“Average Cost of College Textbooks.” Updated August 12, 2021, accessed May 13, 2022,

Women’s Work in Louisville, Ky.

Over a decade ago I assisted at the research desk in the Archives & Special Collections (ASC) at the University of Louisville for a short time. I’m not an archivist, but I find the archival collections fascinating and I’d worked the ten years prior as the Social Sciences Reference Librarian. ASC was short on staff that year and I had just taken the position of Head of Web Services and wanted to keep some contact time interacting with the public, so I jumped at the opportunity to assist at the ASC Research Desk.

While working there, I got a lot more exposure to their collections – particularly the photographic collections. Being a woman, I started to notice a pattern in the photos related to Louisville: they were heavily-weighted towards men – well-off White men in particular. Talking with our archivists revealed some history about the collections. Most of our Louisville images came from the work of photographic studios in Louisville and the work of the studios during the early twentieth century was largely paid for by – you guessed it – White businessmen. So, it’s no big leap to understand why you see so many men in business suits and relatively fewer images of women, but that just made me more curious about what women were doing during these times and what life was like for them.

That started a ten-year journey into researching women’s roles in the workforce of Louisville, Kentucky. My research took me through dozens of collections in the UofL Archives and Special Collections, as well as collections at the Filson Historical Society, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, the Jefferson County Public School Archives, and the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives.

In doing this, I “met” some fascinating women – from a frontier businesswoman to a nun / nurse for Civil War soldiers. I felt that their stories needed to be shared more broadly to make people more aware of the contributions of women’s work to our community and to advertise these amazing historical resources to people who’ve never set foot in one of our archives.

So the Women’s Work of Louisville, Ky., project was born. It’s available to anyone with internet access at The project includes sections on Eras, Women, and a Timeline. The Eras section features essays about women’s occupations from settlement through World War II, along with a bonus essay on Louisville women’s fight for suffrage. The Women section includes short biographies of women in a variety of careers, from steamboat captain to Lieutenant Governor. Whenever possible, I tried to include quotes from the women themselves talking about their work experiences. The Timeline section highlights important legislation and firsts for women in Louisville.

timeline view

I hope you enjoy learning about these women as much as I did. And when you’re ready to learn more, come visit us in the archives!

UofL Digital Content Portal

Exploring digital content from the University of Louisville just got easier. The new portal provides an easy way to access faculty scholarship, theses and dissertations, UofL and student-produced publications, as well as archival photographs and newspapers, digitized interviews, and more.

The portal includes search boxes that make it simple to dive right in and explore. Visit it at

UofL Digital Content homepage

New Online Exhibit: Lost Louisville

Lost Louisville coverThe University Libraries are happy to announce the release of a new digital exhibit – Lost Louisville: Ghost Buildings of Louisville, Kentucky.

Lost Louisville focuses on buildings that once stood in Louisville, Kentucky. Photographs of the buildings come from the Archives and Special Collections. Librarians examined each building or street scene photo and determined whether the buildings still stand. If the building no longer stands, the librarian recorded the latitude and longitude of where the building stood so that these images could be mapped using ArcGIS.

The map allows people to explore the material visually and consider the implications of why these buildings no longer stand. Why were these buildings singled out for demolition? Which of them suffered natural catastrophes? Why do certain neighborhoods have so many buildings missing? Why have many of the buildings been replaced by parking lots? What does it all mean in terms of livability for citizens?

Lost Louisville mapPhase I, which is available now, focused on the areas of the city from Broadway to the Ohio River and from Beargrass Creek to the river. Over 1100 images cover the neighborhoods from Shawnee to Butchertown. Images marked with a star indicate links to interactive sliders that compares the historic photos to recent images of what the spaces where the buildings once stood look like now. The slider view is available for 50 of the images.

Research on Phase II has already begun and will expand the area included. In future phases we hope to add essays by experts that will interpret these maps and photos through the lenses of architecture, local history, and urban planning.

Explore Lost Louisville today!

East Entrance to Ekstrom Library Closed Beginning July 29th

Beginning Monday, July 29, the Ekstrom Library East entrance doors facing the Quad will be closed due to renovations.  Until further notice, please enter Ekstrom Library via the West entrance doors facing Third Street.

East entrance to Ekstrom Library

East entrance to Ekstrom Library

West entrance of Ekstrom Library

West entrance of Ekstrom Library

Save your Favorite Articles and Journals with BrowZine

The library is excited to offer access to our scholarly journals through BrowZine.

BrowZine is a service that allows you to browse, read and follow scholarly journals in a beautiful visual display.

In order to improve the accuracy of its results, we provide two entries for BrowZine:

  1. Medicine:
  2. All other subjects:

BrowZine on different devices

With BrowZine, you can:

• Browse and read journals: Browse thousands of top journals by subject, easily review tables of contents, and download full articles.

• Stay Current with My Bookshelf: Create a personal bookshelf of titles to follow and receive new article notifications.

• Access on any device: Easily access BrowZine from your iOS or Android device, or on your desktop to stay up to date wherever you are.

• Save and export articles: Use the BrowZine app to save articles for off-line reading or export to services such as DropBox, Mendeley, RefWorks, EndNote, Zotero, Papers and more.

While not all the journals we subscribe to our available via BrowZine, for those that aren’t available the system forwards you into the catalog for more information. More journals are being added to BrowZine on a regular basis and you can request a journal be added to BrowZine.

Get started today! Simply visit BrowZine or download the app from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, or Amazon App Store.

Help Promote Open Access Week

Faculty members! Are you curious about open access and what you can do to promote it? One of the ways faculty can promote and support open access is to deposit their scholarship in an open access institutional repository. The University Libraries hosts and sponsors UofL’s institutional repository, ThinkIR, and has a staff coordinator dedicated to working with faculty to make their research and scholarship more accessible to a wider audience. See the attached document for other ways faculty can promote open access!

What Faculty Can Do To Promote Open Access

Support Open Access

Embed Library Resources in your Blackboard Course

What if you could lead your students to library databases without them even leaving Blackboard? Now you can.

The University Libraries have worked with the Delphi Center to make it possible to embed material from the library website directly into Blackboard. You can embed an entire guide or a single box from the library’s site.

embedded guide

Blackboard instructor’s view of library guide added to course assignments

Our subject librarians often create guides tailored to a particular course, for example, POLS 495: Comparative Foreign Policy. Now you can embed that entire guide into your Blackboard course page. Or, you can embed any box from the University Libraries’ main website (pages beginning with

Some of our most used guides include:

We’ve created instructions on how to use this new feature at Embedding LibGuides into Blackboard. If you need assistance, our Online Learning and Digital Media Librarian, Amber Willenborg, is available to help you set it up.

library guide

Student view of embedded library guide



New Films – July 2017

SGA Collectionmovie poster for Logan

  • Broadchurch – season 2
  • She Gets What She Wants
  • Edge of Winter
  • Logan
  • A United Kingdom
  • Silent House
  • A Cure for Wellness
  • Primeval
  • Voice from the Stone
  • The Blackcoat’s Daughter
  • Before I Fall
  • Avatar
  • John Wick: Chapter 2
  • Miss Sloane
  • A Brilliant Young Mind
  • Money Monster
  • Game of Thrones – season 6
  • The Blues Brothers (Blu-ray)
  • The Blues Brothers
  • Empire – season 2
  • After.Life
  • The Guest
  • The Sea Wolves
  • To the Ends of the Earth
  • Lila & Eve
  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic
  • Haywire
  • Miss Meadows
  • The Beach
  • Small Island
  • Barbershop: The Next Cut
  • Big Game
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (Blu-ray)
  • Trading Places
  • Khartoum
  • E.R. – season 6
  • Toy Story 2
  • Almost Christmas
  • Troop Beverly Hills
  • Unaccompanied Minors
  • You Again
  • The Duchess (Blu-ray)
  • Escape to Athena
  • Dark Places
  • Forever Strong
  • Hard to Kill
  • Blackbird
  • Bessie
  • The Basketball Diaries
  • Table 19
  • Dungeons and Dragons
  • The Island at the Top of the World
  • The Room

Ekstrom Academic Collection

  • Orson Welles: King Lear
  • Richard III (1995)
  • Insiang (Blu-ray)
  • Insiang
  • Mysterious Object at Noon (Blu-ray)
  • Mysterious Object at Noon
  • Revenge (1989) (Blu-ray)
  • Revenge (1989)
  • Limite (Blu-ray)
  • Limite
  • Law of the Border (Blu-ray)
  • Law of the Border
  • Taipei Story (Blu-ray)
  • Taipei Story

New Films – June 2017

SGA Collectioncover for I am not your negro

  • Aliens
  • xXx: Return of Xander Cage
  • Ben-Hur (2016)
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • The Great Wall
  • Vantage Point
  • The Space Between Us
  • Timecop
  • Ouija: Origin of Evil
  • Modern Family – season 6
  • Orange is the New Black – season 4
  • In the Mouth of Madness
  • The Wicker Tree
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Maggie
  • The Exploding Girl
  • Prince of Darkness
  • Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus
  • MacGruber
  • Ronin
  • Baby Mama
  • Get Out
  • They Live

Ekstrom Academic Collection

  • Waterloo (1970)
  • La Collectionneuse
  • La Haine
  • Renoir
  • The Innocents
  • La Chevre
  • Going Places
  • Augustine
  • Je t’aime, je t’aime
  • Strella