To help streamline the process of viewing and interacting with collages on H2O, today we deployed a new feature — the “Show/Hide” button, which replaces the two separate “Text” and “Layers” buttons that used to exist for collages. The “Show/Hide” button is located at the top of each collage. It allows you to decide what text and annotations to view, what layers to highlight, and whether — if you have remixed a preexisting collage with at least one layer — to delete all of the inherited layers. Alongside of this new button, we have also, based on strong user feedback, added a “Required” layer for all collages, so that professors can even more easily and quickly start selecting the text that they want to designate as required.
A sample view of the new Show/Hide button
Here are the different parts of the “Show/Hide” button:
— Select not only if you want to show all of the text of the collage, or just some or all of the layers in the collage, but also whether you want to default to the author’s version of the collage.
— Decide whether you want all annotations to be automatically shown, or contracted.
— Select if you want to turn the highlight on or off for each layer in the collage. (Note: if you turn a highlight on, and then print the collage by clicking on the printer icon, then H2O automatically maintains the shown highlights in the print with an underline.)
— If you remixed a preexisting collage that already had at least one layer, then you will have the option of deleting all inheriting layers in one fell swoop.
H2O has nearly 4,000 cases — with more added every week — that users can edit by making a collage of the case and then applying their own layers, annotations, and highlights. The H2O team adds all cases into the platform. If H2O doesn’t have a case that you’d like to use, there are two ways that it can be added.
1. The preferred route is to send an e-mail to h2o at cyber.law.harvard.edu with a list of cases that you want to be added to H2O (please include, if possible, the short name and citation of each case).
2. The other option is to request a case via H2O itself. Login to your user account, then navigate to the cases section (by clicking the cases icon at the top of the window). Once you’re in the cases section, there should be a “Request case” button next to the search field. Click the “Request case” button, provide the relevant information for the case, and hit submit.
One of the central features of H2O is the ability to edit collages. Collages, for those new to H2O, are what we call edited cases or other texts. In H2O, users can layer, highlight, and/or annotate portions of a case or other text. Layering, in particular, allows users to decide what part of a text will be displayed by default and, conversely, which parts will be hidden by default—though even hidden text can be read by clicking the ellipses indicating what part of the text has been layered.
A key part of the design overhaul of H2O is our attempt to make it easier and more seamless to edit collages. In the current version of H2O, users have to click the beginning and end of the portion of the text they want to edit, and then click through a series of pop-up windows to make their edits. The process is not as intuitive as it could be.
To make it easier for users to edit their cases and other texts, the design overhaul will now allow users to layer, annotate, and highlight their collages with a persistent right side bar. Teachers will no longer have to click through a series of pop-up windows. Instead, they will be able to make multiple its in the side bar without the page needing to reload each edit.
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.