Through a study of field biology practices, we observed that biology fieldwork generates a wealth of heterogeneous information, requiring substantial labor to coordinate and distill. To manage this data, biologists leverage a diverse set of tools, organizing their effort in paper notebooks. These observations motivated ButterflyNet, a mobile capture and access system that integrates paper notes with digital photographs captured during field research. Through ButterflyNet, the activity of leafing through a notebook expands to browsing all associated digital photos. ButterflyNet also facilitates the transfer of captured content to spreadsheets, enabling biologists to share their work. A first-use study with 14 biologists found this system to offer rich data capture and transformation, in a manner felicitous with current practice.
The HCIL has a long, rich history of transforming the experience people have with new technologies. From understanding user needs, to developing and evaluating these technologies, the lab's faculty, staff, and students have been leading the way in HCI research and teaching.