University of Illinois

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I want my text to be available beyond University audience? Can my readers use Faceook or GoogleID to authenticate?

Development to offer OAuth based authentication (both Facebook™ and Google™ use OAuth) are underway.

How does the cost-recovery work? Will I see portion of the revenue?

eText works on a revenue split between the author and/or their department. The split is negotiated based on expected sales and always is very favorable to the author. eText’s revenue share is for cost recovery to support the service.

Who owns the copyright? What about copyright clearance?

Consistent with university policy faculty are understood to hold the copyright in their original work. It is not necessary to register your copyright, though you are welcome to do so. Staff in the University Library can usually help you with this.

The author or authors of original content or the Publisher must own rights to material made available on eText. Copyright clearances and releases must be obtained on all relevant material before making eTexts available.

What about DRM and copyright protection?

eText platform provides protection against digital rights violations. Users also have to sign an End User License Agreement (EULA) wherein they agree to refrain from willfully violating digital rights and copyrights.

Can consumers of my material get offline access?

As an author, you may choose to offer an ePub version of your book available for download by subscribers. The ePub would not have the interactive and communication features of reading while on the web platform. Future versions of eText will offer HTML5 offline local storage and syncing of notes, bookmarks.

How close is the eText experience to a paper book? How are eTexts received by students? By instructors?

While electronic textbooks differ from paper books due to their very nature, eText developers have strived hard to create a hardware reader experience (akin to Kindle™ or nook™) in a web browser. eText has been used by over 7,500 students to date, and has been very well received. Instructors also find its functionality easy to use and adopt.

What sort of multimedia can be included in a book?

Any multimedia supported by HTML5 and javascript standards can be used in an eText. Video, audio, images, scientific and math equations, charts, graphs, tables, and the HTML5 <canvas> tag are all possible. Appropriate accessibility accommodations are made for each media type.

Do all multimedia components need to have alternate descriptive text or captions?

eText’s first goal is a universally accessible reading and media experience that follows the Americans With Disabilities Act Section 508 guidelines. To guarantee this, all images have descriptive alternate text, videos have captions and descriptions, and media players have keyboard controls.

What does eText use for authentication and authorization?

eText currently uses Kerberos-based authentication and will be moving to Shibboleth-based authentication at the end of Spring 2013.

Who translates the works into eText?

The eText team will consult with the author on a deliverable draft format that best captures the author’s intent using standard tools. The eText team then starts with that final draft and converts the book into HTML5 fully accessible files. Each book is proofed and tested with assistive technologies before publishing.

Can I publish my content directly to eText?

We’re experimenting with WYSIWYG systems that will allow creation of semantic and accessible markup which can be imported into an eText book. We plan to offer this as a feature in future to streamline the authoring process.

What if I want to change the content in the book?

An eText book is published and stays unedited during the term it is being used in a class. Additions and modifications can be handled by either the author or the instructor by adding public notes within the book at appropriate spots in context. Often these pieces of “marginalia” are incorporated into the next edition of the book. A common cycle is to publish a book in the summer for use in the fall and spring semester (changes are added as “notes in the margin” as the course is being taught) the notes are then incorporated into an updated book and published the following summer.

I have a lab manual with lots of tables meant for data entry. How will eText handle data entry?

All tables within eTexts are easily printable for offline data entry in a laboratory setting. A future version will allow users to enter observational data right in the book using their computer, tablet or smartphone.

My course content includes a lot of mathematical material, can eText represent math, in an accessible way?

The eText team will work with content creators to convert mathematical/scientific content into MathML. Depending on how the content was created, this process can be straightforward or complicated.

How does eText save me money?

eTexts typically sell for 40% to 75% less than traditional books. Skipping physical printing and shipping keeps costs down. Some courses use eTexts adapted from physical textbooks by major publishers, while others use course-mates or original texts written by university professors. Both will save money, though the latter may be significantly cheaper overall. The final price of your book will depend on whether it is adapted from a major publisher or written by a university author.

How do I access my book?

Log in to eText, then type in your access code on the Library page. Buy an access code from the campus online Store.

Can I read offline?

Some books are available in an ePub format for download, though this depends on the author or publisher’s preferences.

How is eText a useful study tool?

eText can be accessed from your phone or other mobile device anywhere with an internet connection. Use notes, bookmarks, and multicolored highlights in eText as you would in a traditional book. In addition, view lists of all your markings sorted by chapter. Ever wished CTRL or CMD + F worked in a traditional textbook? Use eText’s search to find terms or phrases across chapters or books. View figures, glossary, and passages from previous chapters in popup boxes without interrupting your reading.

Can I read on my mobile device?

Yes. Just connect to the internet and use your web browser* to access eText.
*Web browser must be up-to-date and HTML5 compliant

What is the environmental impact?

Since costs associated with printing, shipping, warehousing, inventory, resale, recycling are avoided, environmental impact of eText is miniscule compared to conventional textbooks.

What if I drop a class? Can I get a refund?

Unfortunately, there is no way to refund electronic materials.

How long do I have access for?

Unless the author or publisher specifies otherwise, you will have access to your books until your campus credentials expire. (At Illinois this is 1 year after your graduation date.)

Can I keep my annotations and notes after my subscription expires?

This is currently not supported. We have plans to create this feature in future versions.

How do physical page numbers translate in eText books?

Since page lengths in eText vary based on the screen size of your device, fixed page numbers have no meaning. When a book is adapted for eText, its content is organized by chapters and sections. Your instructor should reference these sections in addition to page numbers, if there is also a physical book for your class.

Can I print my book? How about printing chapters?

eText currently allows single-page printing. Chapter printing is a planned feature, and will depend on the approval of each individual book’s author/publisher.

How do I or my students seek assistance? How soon are trouble tickets resolved?

To seek assistance, e-mail etext@illinois.edu. Trouble tickets are continuously monitored.

Can I work with published textbooks?

eText has entered, or in the process of entering, in contractual arrangements with major publishing houses to offer textbooks on the eText platform. Similar contracts can be executed in conjunction with eText, a Publisher and University.

Can I use my own course material?

eText is an ideal platform to offer original authored content to students in a cost effective manner. Instructional content can also contain multimedia and interactivity to enhance the learning experience.

Can I use a combination of published textbook and original content?

While original-authored content and publisher-owned content can be offered alongside each other on eText, current contractual restrictions prohibit us from commingling the material. We plan to revisit this issue in future.

How close is the eText experience to a paper book? How are eTexts received by students? By instructors?

While electronic textbooks differ from paper books due to their very nature, eText developers have strived hard to create a hardware reader experience (akin to Kindle™ or nook™) in a web browser. eText has been used by over 7,500 students to date, and has been very well received. Instructors also find its functionality easy to use and adopt.

How do physical page numbers translate in eText books?

Since page lengths in eText vary based on the screen size of your device, fixed page numbers have no meaning. When a book is adapted for eText, its content is organized by chapters and sections. Instructors should reference these sections in addition to page numbers, if there is also a physical book.

What about accessibility? Are you endorsed by any organization on accessibility?

eText complies with all relevant sections of Americans with Disabilities Act Section 508 and Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act. Our Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT), a complete list of accesible features supported by eText, can be found here. The eText platform and textbooks offered undergo extensive testing to ensure accessibility. eText developers also routinely collaborate with leading experts to enhance accessibility.

Can I integrate eText with BlackBoard™, Canvas™, DesireToLearn™ or LMS of my choice?

Future release of eText will facilitate closer integration with LMSs via IMS Global’s Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) interface.

Can I use my material on eText for a MOOC that I am teaching?

Stay tuned. The eText group is actively looking into other (non-University based) authentication mechanisms and is currently discussing partnerships with MOOC providers.

Will eText access class rosters so I may assign instructors to manage sections within my class?

eText queries campus student records data each time the student logs in and assigns the correct book based on available course and section information. Instructors are assigned to each section within the eText system. The instructor’s public notes, assignments and bookmarks within the book are available to all students in an assigned section. If the students change sections, the instructor assignment automatically changes as do notes, highlights and bookmarks.

How long do students have access to material on eText platform?

Students maintain their access into the eText system as long as their campus login credentials are valid. Depending on the choice of the author/publisher, a downloadable version of the book may be available to keep forever that would work with standard digital book readers.

Can students have access to their personal notes if and when their subscription expires?

Personal notes, highlights and bookmarks are only accessible as long as student have access to textbooks. This may be for the student’s entire time at the university, or shorter, if required by the publisher.

Can I track how my readers are using the book? What analytics can eText run on students in my course?

Every interaction between user and eText is logged. We’re working with instructional design and pedagogy experts to make meaningful analytics available to instructors.

Can I interact with my users in a forum setting?

Instructors can create a discussion assignment that seeds a topic at any point in the book. This offers “Facebook™” style discussion in the context of the reading.

My course content includes a lot of mathematical material, can eText represent math, in an accessible way?

The eText team will work with content creator to convert mathematical/scientific content into MathML. Depending on how the content was created, this process can be straightforward or complicated.

How does one print from eText? What does the printed rendition look like?

Printing is currently restricted to a page as it appears onscreen. eText will also be implementing chapter-based, formatted printing in the near future.

How stable is eText? Are there safeguards to prevent downtime at high activity periods during the semester?

The eText platform is built on robust hardware and the application has been hardened to ensure uptime. It has been load tested to ensure satisfactory performance while serving several thousand concurrent users.