Grouplab Internet History System

The Grouplab Internet History System integrates Back, History and Bookmarks into a single recency based list of pages visited across multiple sessions. Pages are shown as visual thumbnails, can be 'dog-eared' to stand out, and can be filtered by frequency of use, by domains, and by partial text matches to titles. It also has recency-based Back/Forward buttons.


Download and Installation

Grouplab IE History System (5th July, 2001).

  • Developed for earlier versions of Windows and IE.
  • Works well enough under Windows XP / IE 6 to illustrate its concepts.
  • No longer maintained / supported.

Grouplab IE History System (5th July, 2001).


  • Thumbnail Icons. As the user navigates web pages, the history system collects thumbnail images of the visited pages. The listing shows these thumbnails, which are zoomed when the user holds the mouse over an item. These thumbnails allow the user to find pages by their 'look', which is helpful in situations where the title is not easily recognized.
  • Recency-Based Back / Forward Buttons. Current web browsers have stack-based back and forward buttons which have the advantage of allowing quick moves up and down the levels of a web page. Their disadvantage is that they do not allow the user to return to pages that are not on the current path of navigation. This leads to situations where the user must re-navigate through the web site's links in order to find a page that was accessed very recently. The recency-based buttons are a true time-ordered history of the user's web page navigations, allowing the user to access any page they have visited. Further, they allow the user to move back to pages visited in previous sessions, which are not accessible by the standard back and forward buttons.
  • Search By Site (Domain). This dropdown list shows the web sites visited by the user - sorted to show those most recently visited. If for example, the user selects the item, "", the history list will update to only show pages from that web site.
  • Title Search. As the user types in this field, the list is dynamically updated to only show pages whose title contains the typed in text. For example, typing, "hockey" will filter the history list to only show web pages that have the word "hockey" anywhere in the title.
  • Hits Slider. This slider filters the list by 'visit count'. As the user moves the slider point to the right, the history list is updated to only show pages that have been visited that many times. The pages marked as 'Dog Ears' (See below) are not filtered off the list, and are the only pages shown on the slider's right-most position
  • Dog Ears. These are similar to the standard 'Favorites' Folder. However, Dog Ears are designed to be light-weight, and do not require organization into folders in order to keep them uncluttered. By 'right-clicking' an item in the history list, the user can make that page a 'Dog Ear'. By using the hits slider (above), the user can easily return to pages marked as Dog Ears. Dog Ears do not need to be organized into folders, as they are sorted by recency - ensuring that old items do not interfere with newer, more important Dog Ear pages.

Tutorials and Examples

After Installation

  • Internet Explorer should now have 3 additional buttons on the toolbar: Grouplab History and new back and forward buttons.
  • If these buttons do not appear, Right-click on the toolbar, then choose Customize.... Select each button icon on the left panel and choose Add. Click Close
  • Similarly, if you want to shift the buttons to the left, choose Customize and move them up the list.
  • To make the sidebar appear, either click the Page button, or select the menu sequence: 'View -> Explorer Bar -> Grouplab History.
  • Note that thumbnails of old web pages will be blank, but all newly visited pages will now have thumbnails.

Thumbnails Cleanup

  • If you want, you can completely remove your thumbnails file (although you shouldn't have to do this).
  • Open up you Windows Disk Cleanup utility - Start menu, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup. You will see a new entry for the Grouplab Thumbnails Cleanup. Select that to remove it.


Developed by Shaun Kaasten as part of his MSc work, supervised by Saul Greenberg