University of Oregon

A Typology of Supported eText


The distinguishing characteristic of a supported eText is its resources. The resources chosen to support a specific source text depend on the characteristics of that text, the characteristics of the student(s) using the text, and the requirements of the specific reading or learning task that the student is undertaking. The list below describes a typology of 11 categories of supported eText resources. Additional information about the typology is in the chart following it.

  • Presentational – Changes in the look and presentation of the source text;
  • Navigational – Mechanisms for moving within and between documents;
  • Translational – One-to-one equivalent in an alternative language or representation;
  • Explanatory – Information to clarify and explain;
  • Illustrative – Multimedia representations and examples;
  • Summarizing – Summaries, overviews, or condensations;
  • Enrichment – Supplementary information.
  • Instructional – Prompts, questions, strategies or instruction;
  • Notational – Tools for marking up the text or taking notes;
  • Collaborative – Tools for working collaboratively with peers and teachers;
  • Evaluative – Materials, prompts and assignments to assess learning.

Resource Type




Enables the text and accompanying graphics to be presented in varying ways, hence customizable to meet the needs of individual readers

Font size and style, text and background color, line and page length, page layout and juxtaposition with other pages, graphics in relationship to text


Provides tools that allow the reader to move within a document or between documents

Within-document links, across-document links, embedded menus, links from other resources such as Table of Contents, Glossary, Bibliography


Provides a one-to-one equivalent or simplified version that is more accessible or familiar to the reader. May focus on a word, phrase, paragraph, picture, or whole document. Translation may or may not be of the same modality or media.

Synonyms, definitions, digitized or synthesized text-to-speech, alternate language equivalents (Spanish), video of ASL translation, text descriptions for images, captions for video


Provides information that seeks to clarify the what, where, how, or why of some concept, object, process, or event.

Clarifications, interpretations, or descriptions that point to causes, operations, components, mechanisms, parts, methods, procedures, context or consequences; list of influencing factors


Provides a visual representation or example of something in the text. Designed to support, supplement or extend comprehension of the text through illustrations or examples.

Drawings, photos, simulations, video, photos, reenactments, sounds, music, information that something is representative of its type (“…. is a typical example of…”)


Provides a summarized or condensed way of viewing some feature of the document.

Table of contents, concept map, list of key ideas, chronology, timeline, cast of characters, abstract


Provides supplementary information that is not strictly needed to comprehend the text, but adds to the readers’ appreciation or understanding of its importance or historical context

Background information, publication history, biography of the author, footnotes, bibliography, influence on other writers


Provides prompts, questions, strategies or instruction designed to teach some aspect of the text or how to read and interpret the text

Tutorials, self-monitoring comprehension questions, annotations, instructional prompts, study guides, embedded study strategies, online mentoring, tips for effective reading


Provides tools for marking or taking notes on the text to enable later retrieval for purposes of studying or completing assignments.

Electronic highlighting, bookmarking, post-its, margin notes, outlining, drawing. Ways to gather and group these notes for post-reading review.


Provides tools for working or sharing with other readers, the author, or some other audience.

Threaded discussion, online chat, email links, podcasts, blogs


Provides materials, prompts, and assignments designed to assess student learning from the text

Questions, quizzes, tests, surveys, online interviews, assignments leading to products