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Thursday, December 29, 2005

The online textbook is here

I finally came across a full free 1200 page textbook for undergraduate level organic chemistry from Daley & Daley. This is not a collection of Wikipedia articles but a full textbook of equal quality to any of the other currently used major orgo textbooks. In fact there is even a table to lookup the corresponding chapters of various textbooks! It looks like it covers about 80% of the material I am going to cover this fall. I have added it to my list online resources for my class.

The story behind this is very interesting. Apparently they were writing the textbook for a publisher, who decided not to publish it at the last minute. This is another example of open source removing the publisher from the equation in a natural way simply because the model does not work anymore. I think there are tremendous opportunities for publishers but they have to adapt.

Remember it only takes one person in the world to create a high quality open source product in a given field to change everything.

The problem sets, however, are not freely available. But they are provided at a reasonable price. The paper version of the book can also be ordered for a fee.

I don't think it will take long to find comprehensive high quality open source problem sets in organic chemistry. In my own courses I have made my problems and full screencast solutions openly available. Here is another great organic chemistry resource with plenty of good questions.

Thanks to Heather Morrison, who provided a link to the Textbook Revolution.


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