Jonathan Zittrain’s H2O-made Torts Casebook

Having built his Torts Playlist on H2O, Prof. Jonathan Zittrain was interested in converting that work into a physical casebook. Utilizing H2O’s new export feature and with the assistance of Jordi Weinstock and Samantha Bates, edited cases and commentary were pulled out of H2O and, after some additional formatting work, a casebook was created & printed for Prof. Zittrain’s 1L course at Harvard Law School.

“Torts!” was printed by a local on-demand service and is a hit with Professor Zittrain’s 1L students. This is an exciting project to see come to fruition, as the casebook was created for free in H2O, and being able to create print-on-demand books one of the goals of H2O’s continually-improving export feature.


Interesting in learning more? Visit to create a free account or email us at h2o[[at]

H2O’s print improvements

This week the H2O team is releasing an update that will expand your options for printing playlists and other content from H2O. Up until now, your only option has been to print directly from the web browser, with limited capabilities for reformatting or restyling content.

H2O’s forthcoming changes will allow you to export a playlist, or any portion of a playlist, as a Microsoft Word file. This will enable you to edit content or modify styles within Word before printing or converting to PDF. If you prefer to print directly from the web browser, that capability remains.

New Print Header
The H2O print header has been revamped as part of the changes to print.

You must first be logged in before you can export, since H2O emails a link to the exported content to the email address associated with your account once it’s ready.

After clicking the print button on the right side of the screen when viewing a playlist or piece of content, you will be taken to the print preview & new print header:

toolbar h2o^click to enlarge

style presets allow you to toggle between predetermined collections of print settings – such as ‘classic’ and ‘modern’ – if you wish to use a default set rather than modifying the settings individually.

style settings allow you to customize individual style elements before export.
→ TOC 
is table of contents: the number selected determines the depth of the TOC you wish to output (i.e., 5 will output a TOC that is 5 levels deep).
→ Margins are the four settings on the right side: left, right, top and bottom margins are set here.
→ Para Nos. are paragraph numbers. (Note: paragraph numbers do not carry over to Microsoft Word export at this time.)

annotation settings allow you to dictate how to annotations will appear on the export.

export format is where you select whether you want a Word (.doc) or PDF export.

Printing from Browser
The print preview screen is now a true print preview, meaning the content is not displayed in full in the browser.
If you wish to print from browser, scroll to the bottom of the preview and select “view the rest in your browser”:Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 10.27.25 AM

As this notes, loading large playlists in your browser may temporarily freeze will working to display all content and annotations. Once this has completed loading, you can select File -> Print in your browser, as was the process previously.

H2O Faculty User Profile: Brian JM Quinn

Boston College Associate Professor Brian Quinn has been an H2O user since 2013. He has used H2O to teach his Corporations course for the past two years, but this year he took the Corporations playlist he created in H2O and published it in book form on Amazon and Createspace.

Three-fourths of his class purchased this casebook at a price of $30 each. The book sales produced a royalty of $10.17 a book, all of which professor Quinn has directed toward Boston College’s Public Interest Law Fund.

The H2O team is currently working on tools to make export and print easier for both faculty and student users, so other users can similarly easily export their work to print-on-demand.

H2O annotating: easier than ever

With H2O’s re-done annotator tool, the most commonly used annotation – hiding text – is drastically simplified. Previously, the hiding of text required one to highlight the text, name and create a layer, then navigate to the SHOW/HIDE button and hide that layer.

Now, one has to simply select the text they would like hidden, and click the hide-eyeball from the annotator toolbar that appears, and the text is hidden. The difference between these is demo’d here.

The following demonstrates the entire suite of annotations available: hide text, highlight, comment, and link – here!

H2O: Changes, updates and new features

We’ve been hard at work on H2O, focusing on improving site performance and user experience. Here are some of the improvements we’ve unveiled this summer!

1. Advanced Search
General search, playlist creation and dashboard all now have advanced search capability: results can be filtered by item type, creator, or keyword.
Adv Search screenshot

2. Dashboard
In addition to advanced search sorting, the user dashboard allows users to set their Print Defaults through My Settings. New playlists can also be tagged with “Primary” to further assist sorting.
Workshop screenshot

3. Annotator
The annotator tool, used for selecting text to edit (hide, highlight etc.) has been significantly simplified: instead of clicking the first & last word of the section you want to modify, you can now click-and-drag to select the desired text. In addition, item owners (and viewers) now have the option to hide paragraph numbers.

4. Performance improvements & bug fixes
We’ve implemented quite a few improvements and fixes, including deactivating the karma bar & heat map which have given H2O a significant performance boost.

Note: with the annotator change, the way text was layered changed from word-to-word to a full text selection -this allows the click-and-drag that’s now possible.
When this change was implemented, it retained all collages’ layers but toggled the state of any that were “on” (i.e., hidden or highlighted) to off. If you have collages from before this summer’s annotator improvement, this may necessitate re-hiding portions of your collages.

We’re pleased with progress so far and are excited for what’s in store! We appreciate any suggestions as we continue to work on hard enhancing and improving H2O -reach out to us at  h2o at !

H2O’s New Home Page

If you logged into H2O recently you may’ve seen the new home page:
Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 6.01.49 PM

The new home page is simplified, giving snappier access to one’s dashboard, a “get started” button, as well as featured playlists and collages. It also gives a snapshot of the functions that H2O can facilitate. In tandem with additional features and bug fixes this is a part of the Summer 2014 H2O overhaul. Happy playlisting!

Rotisserie and Question Tool

H2O is a suite of online classroom tools. In addition to providing a platform to create and distribute digital casebooks, textbooks, and modules [link], H2O also includes a Rotisserie [link] and a Question Tool [link]. The Rotisserie (which we recently moved under its new directory, as part of our efforts to centralize H2O) and the Question Tool are active and being used by teachers and students—and we welcome more users. The Berkman Center plans to continue supporting both into the future, and we would be keen to hear from potential partners interested in these tools. We may also update the tools, and potentially incorporate them (or at least the Rotisserie) into the current H2O theme and suite (which underwent a design overhaul late last spring).


New Show/Hide Button

New Features

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.

Short Video Guide

Erika Wayne — the Deputy Director of the Robert Crown Law Library and a Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School — has developed a helpful short video guide to using H2O. The video is a great jumping off point for students looking for useful information about how to navigate some of H2O’s basic functionalities.

The video is available online here.

The most recent H2O User Guide, for reference, is available online here.