Project Summary: Authoring Open Textbooks (Guide)


Title: Authoring Open Textbooks
Lead Authors: Melissa Falldin & Karen Lauritsen
Project Manager: Karen Lauritsen (Open Textbook Network) / @klaurits
License: CC BY
Target Audience: Authors or project managers/librarians working with faculty authors
Subject: Guide for writing open textbooks.
Released: Read here

Guide for authors or project managers/librarians working with faculty authors who want to write an open textbook. Content will cover author intake processes, timeline development, textbook organization and elements, writing resources and useful tools. This will be the first edition release; ideally it will evolve with time and greater community experience.

We are happy to announce that the book is published, and can be read here! We welcome any feedback, and may require help updating or expanding the book in future.

If you’re excited by this project, and have ideas about how to expand the book or feedback that you would like to give, sign up to the forum and post below.

This project couldn’t happen without your participation. All contributing authors will be credited prominently in their chapter, the book, the metadata and promotional materials. All editors, reviewers and other contributors will also be credited.

Here’s a list of useful documents:

@klaurits, @lindafrederiksen326, @danielle, @fisherdi, @ro.mckernan…and you?

Hi, Karen–

For the chapter Institutional Considerations, I am interested in writing a section on institutional challenges/barriers librarians and authors may need to consider when starting an open textbook project. Does that fit in to your project?


Hi Linda,

Thanks for your interest! Your proposed section sounds very helpful for those starting an open textbook project. It will be great to be honest and direct about challenges and barriers, and when possible offer suggestions for how to overcome them.

In terms of next steps, what do you think about creating an outline for the section?

Welcome to the project! We’re glad to have you, and thankful that you’d like to share your experiences.

Hi, Karen–

Thanks for your quick reply! I’d be happy to send you an outline. How long are you thinking you want these chapters/sections to be?



Hi Linda,

I can imagine a range of different lengths (I want to encourage others who may be thinking about contributing)! In the case of what you’re offering, it sounds like there may be a lot to delve into.

How about we set up a quick time to talk? That way I can hear more about what you’re thinking and we can talk about different ways to present the content. If that works for you, I’m happy to set it up. I just need your email address. (Mine is

Hi, Karen–

Sounds good to me. My email is I am currently away from campus on sabbatical, however, so let me know if you prefer a gmail address instead.


Hello Karen,

I might be able to do something with the Writing Recommendations piece, but I would prefer to wait until our project is further along to offer my experience. Would this be fine?

Also, I could collect tips from any or all of our authors, yes? I would think that would be more valuable than my experience alone.

This is my project:

We have submissions coming in already for editing, but we are a long way from completion.


Hello again Karen,

I just saw the timeline of April, 2017. Anything I could provide would be preliminary since we do not know how many chapters will be completed by that time, but I see that you have a second edition planned. Shall we discuss this by email? I want to be sure that what I could provide is what you are seeking.


@klaurits I would love to contribute to this. My unit has a partnership with the university libraries and the university press and we publish in a few different ways with these partnerships.

I may be able to add some notes for both “Institutional Considerations” (small cc, limited scope and support perspective) and “Writing Recommendations” (will there be space for tool specific info such as Pressbook-Textbook best practices?).

Would information on train-the-trainers work (working with grant recipients with open licensing needs and communication with authors in a team?)

@danielle Hi Danielle, I’m emailing you now, thank you! - Karen


Hi Dianna,

Awesome! I’m excited about your contributions, thank you.

I have your email and will reach out to chat more.



Sounds great, thank you! We do have a separate section on tools, and can talk about where your recommendations may best fit.

I’m finding it helpful to have a quick chat with contributors. If you’re amenable, I’m happy to set it up. I’ll just need your email address. Thank you for posting!

Re: Authoring Open Textbooks (Guide)

We’re excited to share the first iteration of our new open textbook authoring guide with you! Our goal was to create a useful resource for those who are making open textbooks from start to finish. The guide features adaptable tools like an author intake form and timeline framework, as well as an overview for organizing textbook content.

With big thanks to our contributors for sharing their experience, wisdom and case studies:

• Karen Bjork, Head of Digital Initiatives, Portland State University Library.
• Caitie Finlayson, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Mary Washington.
• Dianna Fisher, Director of Open Oregon State.
• Linda Frederiksen, Head of Access Services, Washington State University, Vancouver.
• Ralph Morelli, Professor, Computer Science, Emeritus, Trinity College.
• Shane Nackerud, Technology Lead, Library Initiatives, University of Minnesota Libraries.
• Deb Quentel, Director of Curriculum Development & Associate Counsel, Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI).
• Cody Taylor, Emerging Technologies Librarian, University of Oklahoma Libraries.
• Anita R. Walz, Open Education, Copyright & Scholarly Communications Librarian, Virginia Tech.

Read the Guide:

@klaurits Awesome work, Karen! (And all others involved!) Great to see this out in the world :smile:

@zoe Thanks, Zoe! It’s great to have your support, and the support of the Rebus Community and Press.

I’d be delighted to help/contribute to this in any way that I can. Would love to talk more about needs if you’re interested.

1 Like

@swagstaff Super! I’m glad to learn of your interest. Let’s talk more… Are you available on June 7, 8 or 9? If so, please email ( a few times that work and I’ll set up a Hangout for us. Looking forward to it!


This is excellent. I am reading this right now! Very useful information. ~Katie Kirakosian

@kvkirako Hi Katie, So glad to hear it! We welcome your continued feedback. Thanks for the note!