Information Retrieval Specialist Group
IRSG Supported Events
Information Retrieval (IR) is concerned with enabling people to locate useful information in large, relatively unstructured, computer-accessible archives. In this respect, anyone who has ever used a web search engine will have had some practical experience of IR, as the web represents perhaps the largest and most diverse of all computer-accessible archives.
Much of the technical challenge in IR is in finding ways to represent the information needs of users and to match these with the contents of an archive. In many cases, those information needs will be best met by locating suitable text documents, but in other cases it may require retrieval of other media, such as video, audio, and images.
In addition, IR is also concerned with many of the wider goals of information/knowledge management, in the sense that finding suitable content may only be part of the solution - we may also need to consider issues associated with visualisation of the contents of an archive, navigation to related content, summarisation of content, extraction of tacit knowledge from the archive, etc.
The IRSG is a Specialist Group of the BCS. Its aims include supporting communication between researchers and practitioners, promoting the use of IR methods in industry and raising public awareness. There is a newsletter called, The Informer, an annual European Conference, ECIR, and continual organisation and sponsorship of conferences, workshops and seminars.