The Open Syllabus – Online Books Library of Top Universities

If you are among those who are not only register for on online courses but also are attending and finishing them, then you will find the following innovation in the world of online education very useful. The American Assembly from Colombia University has presented The Open Syllabus Project. It’s the first large-scale online database of books that are used in university programs of Columbia University, Stanford, Harvard, MIT and other schools.


The beta version of The Open Syllabus Project (OSP) has already collected data provided in almost one million syllabi from university websites. Right now the number of texts available is 933 636.

All this data could be used for effective self-education. All you need is to choose your needed field of study and the website will provide you with a list of books that are used in the study courses of top universities. You can also filter the list by universities, countries or even by corpuses.

Below of you can find an example of a list for Computer Science:

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If you click on one of the titles, you’ll see other titles that were assigned along with the text. So some popular title could lead you to one that you haven’t encountered before.

The creators of the OSP has visualized the top 10 000 most popular and most cited books in the university courses – http://explorer.opensyllabusproject.org/graph.

When going into the Open Syllabus Explorer, right off the bat you can view the top assigned titles. The top ten are: The Elements of Style, Strunk; Republic, Plato; The Communist Manifesto, Marx; Biology, Campbell; Frankenstein, Shelley; Ethics, Aristotle; Leviathan, Hobbes; The Prince, Machiavelli; Oedipus, Sophocles; Hamlet, Shakespeare.

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