The use of open, sharable course materials is transforming education worldwide: Educators across the globe are taking open digital content items and repurposing them for their own classrooms; universities in Vietnam have begun translating materials available through MIT's OpenCourseWare program; and in Japan, leading universities have come together and agreed to make much of their courseware open as well.

But this movement toward open course materials for education has created something of a problem. Although a number of digital repositories have been set up to allow users to download sharable content, many of these sites contain materials that use different...

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