Spring 2012

Editorial

ECIR 2012: When in Barcelona ...

ECIR 2012: When in Barcelona ...

Welcome back! What a busy period this has been since our winter issue had come out, and what a lot of activities. Most of the editorial team has just returned from an excellent ECIR 2012 in Barcelona and you can read more about the conference in this issue (a small challenge: spot the editors in the photos in this issue of Informer). Just a quick subjective two-word summary of the conference’s main theme: social networks.

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Conference Review: ECIR 2012 Industry Day


Three speakers, one session: getting ready for Industry Day

Three speakers, one session: getting ready for Industry Day

The annual BCS IRSG European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR 2012) was held in Barcelona, Spain, this year. The 34th edition of the conference has been organized by Yahoo! Research, Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Barcelona Media, supported by BCS IRSG and ACM SIGIR. The conference represented a valuable moment for researchers to share their results. Very interesting papers have been presented during the three days of the conference.

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Book Review: Search Analytics for Your Site

Search Analytics for Your Site, L. Rosenfeld.

ISBN: 1-933820-20-9  (paper)  and  1-933820-04-7 (digital)

Financial services company The Vanguard Group had just purchased a shiny new search engine to improve search for their 12,000 employees. There was only one problem: the search results were worse than what they had before.

John Ferrara, an information architect who had helped select the new search platform, blew the whistle, asking the project to be delayed so that relevancy could be improved before the search engine went live. Unfortunately, he failed to make a convincing case to his IT colleagues.Technically, the new platform was running just fine. Besides, the search vendor undoubtedly new more about this kind of stuff than the internal guys.

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Conference review: ECIR 2012

Always busy: conference chair Ricardo Baeza-Yates

Always busy: conference chair Ricardo Baeza-Yates

ECIR 2012 took place in Barcelona at a campus of the Pompeu Fabra University which is situated not far from the city centre. Despite the size of the city, most ECIR participants stayed around the same area and wherever you went, you inadvertently bumped into a few other fellow attendees every day & night.

The conference started off with the tutorials and workshops on Sunday, though at 9:30am a lot of people still looked a bit bleary-eyed. It proved to be a popular day, a large number of people attended and the workshop organizers did their best to make it a fun and interactive event.

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Call for Book Reviews

Periodically we will be sending out a Call for Reviews in which we seek reviewers for a number of recently published books that may be of interest to the IR community. Instead of including book reviews in this issue of Informer, we would like to issue a call for interested parties to review one of the books listed below. 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 Cathal know (cgurrin@computing.dcu.ie) 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. For examples of previous book reviews, see the most recent issues of Informer. The currently available books (courtesy of our good friends at Springer) are:

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Conference Review: ECIR 2011

ECIR 2011, the 33rd European Conference on Information Retrieval and the BCS IRSG’s flagship annual conference was organised by Dublin City University in cooperation with the University of Sheffield, and was supported by the Information Retrieval Specialist Group at the British Computer Society (BCS-IRSG) and the Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval (ACM SIGIR). It was held during four days (18-21) of April 2011 in Dublin, during a week that was uncharacteristically warm and sunny.

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The Information Needs of Mobile Searchers

We live in a post-desktop era. In the UK alone, 45% of Internet users used a mobile phone to connect to the Internet in 2011 [7], and Morgan Stanley predicts that by 2014 there will be more mobile Internet users than desktop Internet users globally [6]. Not only are more people connecting with mobile devices, but they’re also consuming more and more data. Mobile data usage more than doubled every year between 2008 and 2011, and is predicted to grow from 0.6 exabytes per month in 2011 to 6.3 EB/month in 2015 [3]. The numbers are impressive, but all it really takes is a quick glance at the people around us to recognize that mobile Internet is pervasive.

Yet the practice of designing search experiences for mobile users is still in its infancy. The challenge is much more sophisticated than simply reworking existing user interfaces to fit on the smaller screens of mobile devices, which would be to ignore the vast situational differences between desktop and mobile search. Mobile search user interfaces must be based on an understanding of the contextual factors specific to the mobile user.

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Events spring 2012

AGM/Talks/One Day Events

  1. ISKO-UK Seminar and Workshop: “I think, therefore I classify”. A joint ISKO/IRSG on classification. BCS Covent Garden, 16th July 2012
  2. BCS IRSG Search Solutions 2012. The annual one day event on search practice. 28th November 2012

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