History Keeping in Computer Applications: a Workshop

Friday, December 3, 1999

Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory
University of Maryland at College Park

Room 2120 - A.V. Williams building


History-keeping has long been a part of many types of interactive systems. Document-preparation applications, (e.g. word processors, spread sheets, etc.) keep command histories to permit the undo and redo of edits. Navigational applications (e.g. Web browsers and Help programs) keep histories of visited documents for later recall. In their simplest form, histories permit user actions to be logged and recorded, making them accessible in various ways for recovery and backtracking. Recovery mechanisms themselves range widely in complexity, from simple stack-based undo/redo to complex structures such as graphical trees.

With the advent of interactive systems and networking, rich history mechanisms have become essential for applications where navigation and orientation are critical. Various strategies have been developed for history dynamics in browser programs and for temporally-based history visualization. Such research has greatly enhanced the playing field for history systems that are still used primarily for recovery and recall. Recently, however, history-keeping has surfaced as a potentially valuable asset in the context of educational software. Current research in learning histories considers the hypothesis that providing learners with a readable record of their actions may help them monitor their behavior and reflect on their progress. Moreover, histories can facilitate active collaboration among dispersed learning communities

The University of Maryland Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL) has been working on histories ( Visual Histories, Trails, PadPrints) and is organizing a workshop (with a maximum of 25 participants) to help consolidate this emerging topic. We invite active researchers to come to College Park to present their work and discuss future directions.


There is no charge to participants. Refreshments and copying of handouts will be paid for by HCIL. Abstracts will be collected into a program and distributed to participants.

Location: The workshop will be held in ROOM 2120 (UMIACS conference room) in the A. V. Williams Building where the HCIL facilities are located on the College Park campus (see directions to HCIL).

If you plan to drive a car, send your postal address to Janet Sumida <sumida@cs.umd.edu> and she can mail you a parking permit for a lot in near the building.

Hotels, travel: Participants will be responsible for their travel and housing. The campus is just northeast of Washington, DC (taxi or Metro ride from National or Dulles Airports) and 25 miles south of Baltimore-Washington Airport. We are close to Amtrak's Washington, DC and New Carrollton, MD stations.

One of the close-by hotels is the University of Maryland University College Inn and Conference Center, located on campus (more exactly it is on the other side of campus so we will arrange to pickup by car the attendees who prefer not to walk the 20-30 minute walk to A.V. Williams - let us know if you need a ride).

Equipment for talks: The room we will use has a large square-donut shape table. There is a 1024 x 768 computer projector for PC-based presentations and demos, an overhead projector and a TV for showing videos. We will have a good quality IBM PC portable in the room as well. If you need 35mm slides or access to a machine for demos in the lab, let us know in advance and we will try to arrange it. Our lab has PCs, Macs and Sun Workstations; other types of machines can probably be found in the building.

Handouts: If you have brief materials you want to handout to participants, bring a good original and we will make copies, or contact Janet Sumida (sumida@cs.umd.edu) in advance.

Contact telephone during the day: Janet Sumida's number is (301) 405-2769, UMIACS general telephone number is (301) 405-6722.

For questions and special needs contact HCIL secretary Janet Sumida <sumida@cs.umd.edu> or Kathy Bumpass <kbumpass@cs.umd.edu>.


Richard Salter <rms@cs.umd.edu>
Ben Shneiderman <ben@cs.umd.edu>
Ben Bederson <bederson@cs.umd.edu>
Gary Rubloff <rubloff@isr.umd.edu>
Catherine Plaisant <plaisant@cs.umd.edu>
Anne Rose <rose@cs.umd.edu>
                hcil     umiacs     isr

last modified November 30, 1999 by rms@cs.umd.edu

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