Simply put, textbook & syllabus mapping is the process of breaking down a textbook, syllabus, or course into discrete content areas, and focusing on finding affordable content for those content areas. It could also be called affordability mapping.
This guide provides some resources for finding affordable content, and provides a step by step process for doing the 'mapping'. This kind of a project can either be done by faculty trying to select their own texts for an affordable class, or by librarians, instructional designers, or other affordability advocates as a sort of 'minimum viable textbook' to present to faculty teaching courses your institution or organization is targeting for affordability initiatives.
1. Break your textbook, syllabus, or course goals into specific content areas that you would like to have a text resource for.
2. Describe the content you are looking for. Is there a specific coverage or perspective you need represented in the content you will be using?
3. Find affordable content using Open Educational Resources, library licensed-content, or free, stable internet resources.
4. Document how you can use each resource. Can it be packaged in a LMS, printed, reused in your own course text, or otherwise reproduced? Or do normal copyright restrictions apply?
This work can also be split up! A faculty member could work on the first and second steps, and then an instructional designer or librarian could work on finding content and documenting how it would be used.
Resources for finding affordable content
Open Education Resources - these works are published with Creative Commons licenses or are in the public domain. You can reproduce them and, depending on the license, can remix them as well.
Licensed materials - These items should be treated like normal items protected under copyright; even though your institution pays for them, you do not own them. Consider permalinking to the items.
Free and stable internet resources - Of course, you are not limited to formal textbooks or even traditional 'static' works licensed through the library. Consider the breadth of resources that might be available in your discipline that could serve as a substitute for a textbook chapter or module.