PressbooksEDU Feature

Pressbooks enables you to easily “clone” or copy any public, openly licensed book from one Pressbooks network to your own PressbooksEDU network. Instead of using the XML import option, the cloning routine makes use of Pressbooks’ REST API, which allows you to include any objects in the book which have REST endpoints, like embedded H5P activities.

NOTE: Book cloning is currently only available on PressbooksEDU networks, and is not supported on the Pressbooks.com network designed for self-publishers. To learn more about PressbooksEDU plans, please contact us.

Use Cases for Cloning a Book

Cloning is especially valuable in situations where you would like to adapt an open textbook produced by another OER program for your own local purposes. By cloning the book to your own PressbooksEDU network, you can then revise or remix the contents and redistribute your revised copy of the book however you like. Cloning enables a wide range of open pedagogical practices for both individuals and institutions. For example, cloning empowers:

  • Students to collaborate on and improve ‘living resources’ that have been sustained over several iterations of a course
  • Instructors to duplicate and immediately begin personalizing books specifically for their learners’ needs
  • Course chairs, program leads, or department heads to quickly update shared course material (like syllabi) each semester without altering or destroying previous versions
  • Universities to freely share public teaching and research materials they have developed with other institutions for quick adoption and adaptation, and to collaborate across multiple institutions on projects of mutual interest.

How To Clone a Book

If your network has the cloning feature enabled, you can clone any Pressbooks book that is:

  • Made public on the web
  • Licensed with a Creative Commons license that allows derivatives (you cannot clone books published ‘All rights reserved’ or with a ‘No Derivatives’ (ND) license)

If you try to clone a book that doesn’t meet these criteria, you will receive an error informing you that the book is not availble for cloning:

Clone a book error message
Sample error message shown when you attempt to clone a private book: “The source book’s metadata could not be read. Unauthorized”
Clone a book error message
Sample error message shown when you attempt to clone a public book which does not have an ‘open’ license: “BOOK TITLE is not licensed for cloning”

If the book you want to clone is published with an open license you can follow these steps to create your copy:

  1. On your Pressbooks dashboard, hover over  “My Catalog” and click on “Clone a Book”.

    You’ll be brought to the cloning interface.Clone a book interface

  2. Enter the the Source Book URL (the URL of the book you would like to copy). If the book is private or isn’t openly licensed, you will receive an error message when attempting to clone the book.
    This is the book I would like to clone
  3. Enter the Target Book URL (the URL for your new version of the book.) This will be the URL that your new book can be found on the web after cloning, so choose carefully.
  4. Enter your desired title for the target book in the “Target Book Title” field. If you leave this field blank, the target book will have the same title as the source book. Your book title can be changed after cloning is completed from the Book Info page.
  5. Click Clone This Book! and watch as the progress of the clone is tracked in the progress bar on the page
    The progress bar on the Cloning page
  6. When the cloning process completes, you will see a success message at the top of the page.
    Cloning success message

    You can click on the new book’s title to be redirected to the dashboard, or enter the new URL to navigate to the book homepage.

    NOTE: The user interface of cloned books will be inherited from the source book’s metadata. You can return the user interface to your chosen language in your profile settings. To find out more, go to https://guide.pressbooks.com/chapter/languages/

What Content is Cloned

What is included when you clone a book:

  • All the chapters, front matter, and back matter that were public and openly licensed in the original source book
  • All the text in the above chapters, front matter, and back matter
  • All the images, videos, and other media that were in the media library of the original source book and are linked from the cloned content
  • Metadata associated with an image
  • The metadata in the Book Info section of the original source book
  • The metadata for the media content cloned from the original source book
  • H5P activities that have been inserted into public parts, chapters, front matter or back matter.

What isn’t included when you clone a book:

  • Chapters, front matter, and back matter in the source book that were not public (i.e. has ‘show in web’ checked) or openly licensed at the time the clone was performed
  • TablePress tables
  • Media galleries, audio and video playlists
  • H5P activities in the source book but were not embedded in public parts, chapters, front matter, or back matter.[1]

  1. All PressbooksEDU networks hosted by Pressbooks fully support H5P cloning, but the success of the clone depends on the versions of Pressbooks and the H5P plugin running on both the source and target network. Open source networks must be running Pressbooks 5.13.0 or later and H5P 1.15.0 or later for H5P cloning to succeed. If you experience cloning errors related to H5P, please contact your network manager.


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Pressbooks User Guide by Book Oven Inc. (Pressbooks.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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