What is H2O?
H2O is a free platform for making, sharing, and remixing open access and open-licensed casebooks and other course materials. It's developed and maintained by our team at the Library Innovation Lab at the Harvard Law School Library. We are dedicated to expanding the bounds of open access legal education.
Why does H2O exist?
We believe legal educational materials should be free to access and build upon. Most legal coursework is taught from casebooks - inflexible and proprietary books that cost hundreds of dollars even as they are comprised largely of caselaw that is already in the public domain. Emerging digital licensing models for these casebooks often increase costs and erode the feasibility of secondary book markets. By leveraging free digital content in an easy to use digital tool, H2O offers a different way of doing things.
How does H2O work?
H2O allows professors to develop, remix, and collaborate on digital course materials under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License (per the Terms of Service). By creating and sharing casebooks and other resources in H2O, educators can drastically reduce textbook costs for their students, collaborate toward new pedagogical methods, and increase the impact of their ideas.
Powered by a database of 6.5M+ court opinions, H2O allows authors to seamlessly integrate these cases alongside other digital content. Possible formats in H2O include casebooks, syllabi, reading lists, and more. Final casebooks are available freely online to be easily accessed by students and colleagues, and can be printed from anywhere. By sharing and remixing H2O course materials, authors can build upon and respond to each others’ work, incorporate new perspectives, and experiment with their pedagogy.
Who can use H2O?
While our focus right now is supporting law school faculty and students, H2O is a free and open platform. Anybody associated with an educational organization can sign up and create their own resource or adapt an existing one.
Over 100 faculty authors have published H2O casebooks to use in their courses. About a third of them are from Harvard Law School - the remaining authors are from institutions across the country and around the world.
H2O is built on top of the Caselaw Access Project - a database of 6.5M+ court opinions freely available online and hosted by the Harvard Law School Library. If you’re including links in your casebook, consider creating a perma.cc link to protect your materials from linkrot.