Merlot is a community of resources started by California State University. It is supported by educational institutions, professional societies, and industry. There are currently over 3,000 open textbooks, and it is still growing. People are also allowed to submit their own material. The material is constantly being reviewed and updated. They form communities based on subject and have peer review boards for each one so that some materials go through an extensive review process. None of the materials are stored on the Merlot website, but on the sites of the host provider. Finding exactly where the books are is a little hard, but once you sort out the materials through the search function, it makes a little more sense.

Overall, Merlot gives a lot of information about their organization as a whole and the books are good quality. However, it takes a lot of steps often to get to a resource, and some of the resources are hard to decipher once you get to the pages. Many do not have direct PDF links, and that means more work for the user.

 

Website Category Rating (1-5 Stars) Comments
Ease of Use 3stars It was a little hard to find the resources and there are so many facets on the side it can be even more challenging to find the textbooks. It works, but it is not the easiest.
Truly Free Picture1 All the books I saw were free, but with the amount of material there is no way to truly tell.
Quality 3stars The books I looked at were good quality, except some claimed to be books when they were just websites or other materials.
Offering Picture1 The sheer amount of material is good and coves a wide range of topics. This does make it hard to find, however.
Books Category Rating (1-5 Stars) Comments
Size Appropriate 3stars For some books that are truly textbooks, the size is appropriate, especially in the math texts. However, the texts for economics and social sciences were not large enough.
Proofreading Picture1 The offering is too large to tell whether all the books are well-proofed but the few I saw were done well, and the books are updated often.
Reviewed 3stars Some books are peer-reviewed, some are user reviewed, and some are neither.
Supplemental Material
(answers to problems, glossary, index)
Picture1 Most of the full books have the answers to problems and supplemental material where needed.

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