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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an H2O casebook?

A casebook is a legal textbook for a particular area of study that uses cases to show how the law of that area has been applied. An H2O casebook is a free, high quality collection of cases, texts, cases, and links that can be shared and remixed for use in courses. Learn more.

How do I create a casebook?

Anyone can create a casebook by first creating an account. Once logged-in, click the “Create casebook” button, where you can select “Make a New Casebook” or, if you want to adapt an existing casebook, “Search Casebooks.” For more on creating casebooks and adding content, view the entry on creating casebooks in our user guide.

I want to use H2O to teach my class. Can you help get me going?

H2O is built to be self-service, with our user guide addressing most user questions, but we love to hear from professors interested in using H2O, whether to develop a new casebook from scratch or to adapt existing casebooks or syllabi. Reach out to us at info@opencasebook.org!

Have Harvard professors used H2O?

Over 30 professors at Harvard Law School have used H2O for their courses since 2010, along with instructors at 35 other universities. HLS faculty who have used H2O for their courses include Profs. Jonathan Zittrain (Torts), Charles Fried (Contracts), Jeannie Suk-Gersen (Criminal Law), and more.

Can I share copyrighted material in my H2O casebook?

Yes, though it must be linked to on the web, rather than uploaded directly to H2O. As content in H2O is shared under a Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) license, copyrighted material that is not compatible with that must be either directly linked to, or, when excerpted, linked to behind a firewall with access available only to those who have permission to view it.

How do I get a case that is not in the database yet?

The H2O caselaw database, which already included 2200+ cases, is now integrated with the Caselaw Access Project (CAP) database, which contains 6+ million cases published through 2018. To add a case that is not available in H2O, create a new text resource with your case text.

How do I export/print a casebook or item?

To print an entire casebook, or a single item (such as an edited case or text), click the export button in the upper-right side of the screen while viewing what you wish to export or print. If there are annotations on the item, a dialogue box will appear asking whether or not you wish to include annotations. After selecting one of these, your browser will download a Word document that includes what you wished exported, which can then be printed.

What are you working on now?

We’re working to improve the speed and responsiveness of annotations, as well as exploring easy ways for instructors to import their syllabus or course outline directly to an H2O casebook. We’ve also released a “Collaborators” feature that allow admins to designate more than one user the ability to edit a single casebook. Shoot us an email at info@opencasebook.org to request this for your team!

Who has supported H2O?

H2O is a project of the Library Innovation Lab at the Harvard Law School, and has received generous support over the years from the Harvard Library Lab, the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching, Fastcase, and the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society.