Resources are materials used in several crafting skills. Some may be used for cooking or the creation of clothing, weapons, and armor, or even housing addons.
Each resource has a different method of gathering them, for instance, leather and scales can be skinned off several types of creatures you kill (dragons, cows). Wood can be obtained by chopping at trees. Metal and gems can be obtained by using a pick/shovel at mountain areas. Cloth gained by working the sheared wool from sheep or the picked cotton from fields.