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Editorial

Autumn time – travel time. Join us at Search Solutions in London!

Welcome to the Autumn 2018 edition of Informer! What a great time of the year, the days get shorter, the nights get colder, the Pound drops further. Happy days. You can be happy too if you do not miss our early-bird deadline to register for our annual practitioners’ event – Search Solutions! We have been running this event for more than 10 years now. Time flies like an arrow.
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Visualizing search strategies (part 2)

In our last post we reviewed some of the issues involved in developing effective solutions to complex search problems, and explored some of the challenges involved in formulating and representing Boolean strings and expressions. In particular, we explored the contribution of three experimental systems which aimed to offer an alternative to the conventional approach exemplified by line-by-line query builders and ‘advanced search’ forms. In this piece, we review some of the more recent examples, and reflect on the ways in which their ideas, insights and innovations may be productively applied to address contemporary search challenges.

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BCS Search Industry Awards 2018: final call for nominations

On behalf of the BCS IRSG I am delighted to announce this year’s Search Industry Awards, celebrating the best search innovations of 2018. Presented by the Information Retrieval Specialist Group of the BCS, these awards recognize people, projects, and companies that have excelled in the design of search and information retrieval products and services.

If you know of any companies, projects, or products that deserve recognition, let us know by submitting a recommendation. Alternatively, if you’re involved with something special yourself, you can submit an application today!

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Conference Review: Autumn School for Information Retrieval and Information Foraging 2018

The Autumn School for Information Retrieval and Information Foraging (ASIRF) is a five-day intensive seminar held in mid-September at Schloss Dagstuhl in Saarland, Germany. In 2018, 20 people from five different countries engaged in a series of lectures, tutorials, and project-based work with internationally recognized scholars who specialize in information retrieval and information seeking behaviour.

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Events Autumn 2018

One Day Events

DIR2018: The Dutch-Belgian Information Retrieval workshop 2018. 23 November 2018. Leiden, the Netherlands. http://dir2018.nl/

Our annual search solutions event will take place on Tuesday 27th November 2018, with tutorials taking place one day beforehand on Monday 26th November 2018 https://irsg.bcs.org/SearchSolutions/2018/sse2018.php

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Editorial

Searcher’s paradise: high precision AND high recall (sample query: “Shōchū”)

Welcome to the Summer 2018 edition of Informer! We are back with a mix of news, reports and reminders, all from the world of search. Did I say reminder? If you are planning to host the top European Information Retrieval conference in 2020, then you have until Friday next week to hand in your bid. Another reminder? Ok, here we go: the nomination deadline for this year’s Karen Spärck Jones Award is fast approaching too!
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Visualizing search strategies

According to the IDC whitepaper, The High Cost of Not Finding Information, knowledge workers spend 2.5 hours per day searching for information. Whether they eventually find what they are looking for or just stop and make a sub-optimal decision, there is a high cost to both outcomes. The recruitment industry, for example, relies on Boolean search as the foundation of the candidate sourcing process, and yet finding candidates with appropriate skills and experience remains an ongoing challenge. Similarly, patent agents rely on accurate prior art search as the foundation of their due diligence process, and yet infringement suits are being filed at a rate of more than 10 a day due to the later discovery of prior art which their original search tools missed.

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CfP: Workshop on Ethics, Privacy, Transparency and Bias in Information Retrieval in Sheffield

More than ever before, information, algorithms and systems have the potential to influence and shape our experiences and views. Especially in the context of information retrieval and recommender systems, an awareness and understanding of areas, such as algorithmic accountability, transparency, governance and bias, are becoming increasingly important. Recent cases in the news and media have highlighted the wider societal effects of data and algorithms requiring we pay it more attention.

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SIGIR 2018 Review

The 41st International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval took place at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor July 8th – 12th 2018. As usual, the conference was highly competitive, with a 21% acceptance rate for long papers! For the first time, China surpassed the USA with most accepted papers.

Given the recent spotlight on privacy and ethical concerns in technology, I paid particular attention to what was presented around these topics. Tuesday morning provided one end of the spectrum, which kicked off with a keynote address on data science for social good and was followed by a session on methods to protect individual privacy in search. The other end of the spectrum was provided the following morning, with the location and trajectory session with methods that provide little to protect privacy and the mobile user behavior session (further discussed below) that had many concerns about digital ethics.

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Information Retrieval in the Workplace: a comparison of professional search practices

If you are interested in professional search and applications of IR in the workplace, you may be interested in a paper titled ‘Information Retrieval in the Workplace: a Comparison of Professional Search Practices‘ in Information Processing & Management. This work is a collaboration with Tony Russell-Rose and Leif Azzopardi, and uses a common research protocol to investigate and compare information retrieval practices across a number of different professions. The paper is freely available for a limited period (until 15-Sep-2018) from the IPM website. Abstract follows:

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