Activity History Research Group

UC San Diego Design Lab


We are a research group spanning the Design Lab at UC San Diego and the Tabard Lab at Université Lyon 1. We develop tools to help people track, resume, reflect on, and share their everyday work. As our working lives become increasingly fragmented and collaborative, we believe it important to develop technologies that help people track and share the process of their work with their colleagues, and their future selves, so they can reflect on and resume those activites.

Our research has followed two themes. The first, is using visual histories to help people resume interrupted activities. The second, is helping helping data analysts track and share their analytical steps using computational notebooks.


Jim Hollan

Aurélien Tabard

Adam Rule

Past Members

Amy Fox, Karen Boyd, Rizwan Ahmad, Jonas Kemper, Azeem Ghumman, Kendall Youngstrom, Maxime Guillaux, Audréa Malialin, Erin Cole, Regina Cheng, Nathan Hassanzedah, Katya Noble, Evan Schmitz, Allison Reiss


Rule A, Tabard A, and Hollan J. (2018) Exploration and Explanation in Computational Notebooks. CHI 2018.

Rule A, Tabard A, and Hollan J. (2017) Using Visual Histories to Reconstruct the Mental Context of Suspended Activities. Human Computer Interaction (32, 5-6), 511-558.

Rule A, Tabard A, Boyd K and Hollan J. (2015) Restoring the Context of Interrupted Work with Desktop Thumbnails. Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.

Rule A, Tabard A, and Hollan J. (2016) Traces: A Flexible, Open-Source Activity Tracker for Workplace Studies. CSCW Workshop on the Qunatified Workplace

Rule A. (2015) Visualizing Computer Activity to Support the Resumption of Long-term Creative Work. Creativity + Cognition 2015