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Research Guides

Open Educational Resources and Open Textbooks: Manifold & Pressbooks: What’s the Difference?

Adopting and Creating Open Educational Resources (OER)

What are Manifold and Pressbooks?

Manifold logoManifold is a digital publishing platform that brings texts, images, media, and more into conversation together under one umbrella. It can be used to share scholarly work and conference proceedings or used in the classroom.
Learn more about Manifold.

Pressbooks logoPressbooks is an easy-to-use book authoring platform that lets you develop free and openly licensed course materials—such as textbooks, guides, and manuals—that suit your teaching needs and that can be revised in the future.
Learn more about Pressbooks.

Both Pressbooks and Manifold are free for current UW faculty, staff, and students. Setting up an account looks different for each platform:

Which platform is right for me?

Manifold and Pressbooks are similar in some ways, but they have different strengths. Consider these questions to help you decide between Pressbooks and Manifold:

Do you want to make it easy to remix and revise the content of your digital book project later? Is it important to you to choose a platform that’s set up to help others build on your work? 

  • Yes — Pressbooks provides options for easily licensing your entire book or individual chapters in a way that allows others to reuse them (while still crediting you). You can also easily clone and remix openly licensed textbooks in the Pressbooks Directory. It lends itself toward supporting open educational resources (OER), which are free of cost for students and allow for other instructors to reuse your work in their classrooms.
  • No — Both Manifold and Pressbooks allow you to apply any license to your work, from public domain to all rights reserved. Manifold offers flexible licensing options for the project as a whole, at the text level, and at the individual resource level (image, media, visualization).


Is your project linear, like a book with chapters that you could page through from beginning to end? Or is it a collection of related content that you could explore in many different ways? 


Do you prefer to prepare your content in another program and upload it to publish it? Or would you rather write and edit in the platform itself? 

  • Outside of the platform — Both Manifold and Pressbooks allow you to author works in Microsoft Word and upload them as .docx files. Manifold allows you to import directly from Google Docs as well. For both platforms, you’ll want to make sure you are following best practices around headings and document structure; the software uses the headings in your document to create chapters within a text. (Unsure about best practices? Ask us!)
  • Within the platform — Pressbooks provides a text editor based on WordPress where you can develop your content within the platform.


Is it important for you to have your book integrated with UW Canvas?

  • Yes — Pressbooks allows you to import your book (including H5P activities) into your UW Canvas course as Canvas Modules.
  • No — Both Manifold and Pressbooks can be used independently of UW Canvas. Links to your Manifold project can also be inserted into your UW Canvas course.


Have you seen other projects that look similar to what you want to create? 


Is there another platform you're considering?

  • Omeka — This flexible open-source tool lets you create dynamic exhibits that showcase digital images, text, and other multimedia formats. Learn more about Omeka.
  • WordPress — This platform makes it easy to organize a wide range of content including oral histories, video, and more. Get information about WordPress.
  • Scalar — Instead of Scalar, we encourage you to build your project in Manifold or Pressbooks, which are supported by UW Libraries.

Published With UW Libraries Pressbooks

Bate-Papo: Introduction to Portuguese
Jacob Lawrence in Seattle
Designing Tech Policy: Instructional Case Studies for Technologists and Policymakers
Financial Strategy for Public Managers
How to FOIA
Critical Filipinx American Histories and their Artifacts

Published With UW Manifold

Healing with Poisons
Molecular Feminisms Biology, Becomings, and Life in the Lab
The Mill on the Floss: An Anthropocene Edition
Reproductive Politics and the Making of Modern India
How to Host Your Own MisinfoDay
2021 Teaching & Learning Symposium

Ask us!

Send your questions to the Open Scholarship Commons team:

  • Which platform is best for my project?
  • How do I get started?
  • I know the basics—where can I learn advanced techniques?
  • What other tools are available through the UW Libraries? (Hint: Check here!)
  • Where can I find resources for my project?