Skip to Main Content logo for Ventura College Library

OER and Creative Commons: Is your OER text a collection?

A how-to guide for Creative Commons and OER.


What is a Collection?

If you are finding that your OER content should exist within a compilation or anthology then this creation might fall under the definition of a collection.

A "collection" is where individual pieces of work exist as part of a new whole. Each work still retains its original characteristics and there is a distinct delineation of where one work begins and the other ends. (2)

An example could be the combining of separate chapters that have been sourced from different textbooks or individual manuscripts by different authors. These separate pieces continue to exist in their original form but have been brought together to create a new collection of works.


How can a Creative Commons License be applied to a collection?‚Äč

The assignment of a new Creative Commons license to a final project will not replace the existing licenses of the individual works. The new license will only apply to any original content that has been created by you while the individual works within the collection will retain the terms of their existing license.

Points to consider:

  • If you are reusing an unadapted piece of work that has the Share-Alike (SA) license, you do not have to apply a Share-Alike license as well.(2)
  • Non-Commercial licenses can limit the intended re-use of your collection, please see the Creative Commons Non-Commercial Interpretation Wiki page to help you determine if this applies to your work.


Note: If the reuse of the work falls under the definition of fair use or fair dealings, the rights reserved established by these licenses will not apply, please refer to your local copyright laws to determine whether your use qualifies under this exception.


Because each Creative Commons license includes the element "Attribution" it is important to consider what should be included in your final work to ensure that proper attribution is made.

Below is a helpful acronym to help recall what information should be included in all of the material that has a creative commons license.


Image of the letter "T" with flowers and a small spider in a web in the corner.

 -  Title of the work.


Image of the letter "A" with flowers.

  -  Author of work with a link to their profile page if available.


Image of the letter "S" with flowers.

 -  The source with a link to the original work.


Image of the letter "L" with flowers and two apples.

 -  The license that has been assigned to the deed.

(Image 5-8)







               Image of books open and stacked one on top of the other.

              (Image 2)

For examples and further illustrations, please visit the Creative Commons guide How to Give Attribution.