Requesting cases

Every week, we add to the H2O database of cases. If a case that you want to collage and add to a playlist isn’t available in H2O yet, you can request it by filling out and submitting a short form here. (Note: you will need to be logged in as a user to request cases.) Once you request a case, you should receive an e-mail notifying you that the case request has been submitted (if you don’t, please let us know!). We will try to locate and ingest the case into our database as soon as possible.

If you need a specific case really quickly, in addition to submitting the request via the form above, please also send us an e-mail to h2o [at] cyber [dot] law [dot] harvard [dot] edu, and we’ll try to get it as a priority item.

By the way, if you see that a case has a typographical error, please let us know by clicking on the “Report Error” button at the side of the window. We are implementing a system so that we can emend those errors. It’s a little tricky to do technically, especially once a case has been collaged, but our crackerjack developers have created a way to do so by versioning cases.

H2O @ BU Law, April 8th

We are excited to demo H2O to faculty, law librarians, and education technologists at Boston University School of Law on Monday, April 8th, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm in the Faculty Lounge.

Kim Dulin — a Co-Director of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab and the Associate Director for Collection Development and Digitization at the Harvard Law School Library — and I plan to discuss the use of H2O in HLS courses and to showcase some of H2O’s innovative features, including the text-layering-and-annotating tool. We hope to also show professors how they can can build their own digital casebooks on H2O, whether by transforming an existing syllabus into an H2O playlist, building off a preexisting H2O playlist or set of playlists, or creating a brand-new playlist.

Showing and (temporarily) hiding parts of a case

Learning American law requires reading a lot of cases. And cases can be long — sometimes really long.

Traditional casebooks typically include only excerpts of most of their cases. A casebook’s editors decide what parts of each case should be included in the book and, as a consequence, they also decide which parts of each case will not be shown. Students interested in reading the whole case have to track down a full version elsewhere.

One of the tools H2O provides professors is the ability to show or hide portions of a text while maintaining the ability to read the hidden parts of the text by clicking on an elision box.

For instance, in Professor Zittrain’s edited version of Carroll Towing, students automatically see only the required portions of the text.

Clicking on any of the elision boxes allows students to see those non-required portions of the text.

To revert back to see just the required portion, students can just click on either of the wedges that mark the beginning and end of the non-required text.

Convergence Workshop on Annotations@Harvard, March 28th

We plan to present H2O during the lightning talks at the Annotations@Harvard Convergence Workshop in the Radcliffe Gymnasium on March 28th. The event’s organizers have lined up a great collection of projects involving annotations.

H2O allows users to provide in-line annotations in collages. Professor Zittrain, for instance, added a few explanatory notes and definitions in U.S. v. Carroll Towing Co. in his spring 2013 Torts playlist.

UI and design enhancements

The H2O team is working on UI and design enhancements. With these updates, we hope to make it easier and more seamless for professors and students to create and use playlists; to make and revise collages; and to see the influence of their work. We plan to preview the changes on this blog before they’re deployed. We’re hoping to deploy the UI and design enhancements to at the end of the Harvard Law School spring 2013 semester (around the middle of May). If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know by sending an e-mail to h2o [at] cyber [dot] law [dot] harvard [dot] edu!


H2O is a suite of online classroom tools developed and provided by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society in collaboration with the Harvard Law School Library. H2O allows professors to freely develop, remix, and share online textbooks under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License (per the Terms of Service). This blog aims to provide information about H2O-related developments and plans.