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Editorial

Information Retrieval in action

Welcome to a new edition of Informer! It’s Spring 2017 and you are reading the official newsletter of the BCS Information Retrieval Specialist Group. What an honour to have YOU as our readership. Let’s jump straight in: we did introduce an important change this time. We  Continue reading “Editorial”

ECIR 2017 conference review

Aberdeen – granite, oil, gas, and home of The Grill

For its 39th edition, the European Conference in Information Retrieval (ECIR) returned, after 20 years, to Aberdeen, Scotland. The conference was organized by the School of Computing Science and Digital Media at Robert Gordon University (RGU) and took place in two separate venues: tutorials and workshops were held at RGU’s Garthdee campus, while the main conference, as well as the industry day, were hosted by the Aberdeen Exhibition Conference Center. The wonderful backdrop of ECIR was the city of Aberdeen, also known as the Granite City; the origin of this nickname can be traced to the high number of buildings in the city that incorporate grey granite.The granite sparkles under the sunlight; thanks to five days of almost perfect weather, conference attendees were able to enjoy this beautiful effect.

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Call for Book Reviews (Spring 2017)

This issue we include another Call for Reviews in which we seek reviewers for a number of recently published books that may be of interest to the IR community. Books will be allocated for review on a first-come-first-served basis and you would have about one month to carry out the review. If you are interested in reviewing one of these books, please let Frank know which book you are interested in reviewing and we will arrange for a copy (paper or online format) to be sent to you along with review guidelines. The currently available books (courtesy of Springer Verlag) are:

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ECIR 2017 Industry Day Review

Industry Day – a (now) traditional feature of ECIR

The tradition of closing out ECIR with industry day continued for its 11th year in Aberdeen, Scotland.  This year’s event was co-organized and moderated by Udo Kruschwitz and Tony Russell-Rose.  For those who made the trip up north, a potpourri of exciting applications of academic research in IR and NLP was presented, including event detection and analytics at major news media outlets to methods of retrieval and identification of non-factual news.    A “Fishbowl” discussion, including ways to run future industry day sessions, provided the official end to ECIR…with the unofficial end happening in the wee hours over Scottish Whisky.

 

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Events Spring 2017

One Day Events

Search Solutions 2017. The annual practioner focused event for the IRSG held at the BCS offices in Covent Garden, together with a tutorial day on 28 November 2017, with the main event on 29th November 2017.

Conferences/Workshops

Healthcare’17: 2017 International Conference on Healthcare Science and Engineering. Of interest to members working in the area of health and search. 1-3 June 2017, Zhengzhou, China.
http://healthcare.ha.edu.cn/2017

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Editorial

Shape retrieval - a tricky task

Welcome and Happy New Year! “We had a great 2016. 2017 will prove to be even better” as an anonymous letter writer assures me … although he/she/it also assures me that the European Union is doomed and that I should respect the democratic will of the British people. What better way to start the year than with a few friendly words?
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A Case for Satellite Events in Evaluation Campaigns

Local conferences, such as TREC in North America, CLEF in Europe, and NTCIR in Asia, play a leading role in promoting information retrieval research by supporting novel campaigns and releasing datasets to share the latest research challenges. To gain access to these datasets, participants are requested to communicate their work in the form of working notes. Despite the overall success of these conferences, the main drawback is that these working notes are not peer-reviewed. This may pose problems, especially for researchers who cannot easily afford or justify travel expenses to attend such conferences. To overcome the problem of distance, we organised an experimental satellite session that allowed participants of the Asia-based evaluation campaign NTCIR to present their work either in Europe or in Asia. Given participants’ feedback, we see this as an attractive method to foster research and innovation beyond continental borders.

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Search Solutions 2016 – Matching the IR talent supply and demand in the industry

Great thing about Search Solutions: the Audience

This past November 30th 2016, the British Computer Society hosted the Search Solutions forum at its London Offices.

It was divided into 5 sessions with the following themes: 1. Understanding users and context, 2. Moving towards question-answering, 3. Beyond web search, 4. New modes of search, and 5. Panel session. Particularly interesting, was the panel session, in which attendees and participants alike had a discussion on the possible reasons talent in Information Retrieval (IR) was so hard to find and not matching the industry’s demand. This article will attempt to summarize each of the 4 sessions preceding the panel; using issues and solutions that arose during the panel as a framework to structure the summary. First, I will attempt to summarise and list the panel’s main talking points. Afterwards I will map the talks given at the forum to these points, and will conclude with a personal take on these issues.
The panel session’s discussion was taken over by the unmet IR talent demand in the industry, observed (by some if not all of the attendees). This problem was also described as a lack of interest in IR areas by working technology professionals and students. After describing the problem this way, the discussion yielded the following possible causes:

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