Callisto: Capturing the "Why" by Connecting Conversations with Computational Narratives

CHI 2020

Honorable Mention

When teams of data scientists collaborate on computational notebooks, their discussions often contain valuable insight into their design decisions. These discussions not only explain analysis in the current notebooks but also alternative paths, which are often poorly documented. However, these discussions are disconnected from the notebooks for which they could provide valuable context. We propose Callisto, an extension to computational notebooks that captures and stores contextual links between discussion messages and notebook elements with minimal effort from users. Callisto allows notebook readers to better understand the current notebook content and the overall problem-solving process that led to it, by making it possible to browse the discussions and code history relevant to any part of the notebook. This is particularly helpful for onboarding new notebook collaborators to avoid misinterpretations and duplicated work, as we found in a two-stage evaluation with 32 data science students.