Spring 2022

In the Spring issue

Pride of place in this overview of the Spring issue has to be the report on ECIR 2022, which so elegantly and effectively integrated the on-site and virtual conference experiences that I for one felt that I had been transported StarTrek-style from Horsham to Stavanger. Dennis and Satya have contributed a such a comprehensive and engaging account of the event that Krisztian Balog decided that there was nothing he could add to it. The event was also the occasion for the Karen Spark Jones award presentation  Work on ECIR 2023 in Dublin has already started so add the dates of 4-6 April 2023 to your diary. Udo Kruschwitz, Chair of IRSG comments on both ECIR 2022 and future events.

As usual Andy Macfarlane has contributed his list of forthcoming events, a valued feature of Informer for many years.

The ACM SIGIR CHIIR 2022 conference took place in March and Selina Meyer has contributed an excellent account of the event. There is also a report on a series of virtual lectures entitled Exploring Information Retrieval that took place in February and March. The lecture series was a joint venture between ISKO UK and the BCS IRSG.

I would encourage you to look at the December issue of SIGIR Forum, which appeared after the Winter Issue of Informer had been published. There are always interesting papers and conference reports of this very active community of the ACM.

Looking forward, Search Solutions 2022 will take place in London on 24 November and the Call for Proposals has now been published.

This issue also marks the start of what I hope will be a regular feature of Informer. Jochen Leidner came up with the idea of the Graduate Student Corner.  As an enterprise search practitioner, I am aware that I may inadvertently bias Informer towards practice and away from research, so I was very eager to build on Jochen’s suggestion. Feedback on the concept would be very much appreciated. Pedro Ruas is the initial contributor, providing a very good template for future contributions.

Two news items for you. The first is the launch of the NeurodiverseIT Specialist Group of the BCS and I have commented on the very welcome and timely launch of this SG, suggesting some resources should you like to understand more about why I feel that this initiative is so important. The second item is about a new Enterprise Search Management on-site one-day training course that I am offering through Intranet Focus Ltd.

The book review in this issue took me some time to write  as Information – A Historical Companion is 880 pages long and weighs 1.7Kg.

The Copy Date for the Summer issue is 18 July and 31 October for the Autumn issue.

 

ECIR 2022 Experience Report


Dennis Aumiller and Satya Almasian, Heidelberg University

After two years of (involuntary) abstinence from any in-person event, this year’s ECIR marked the start of a new era of hybrid conferences. Despite a late lifting of travel restrictions by the Norwegian government, which was announced only two months before the conference date, over 180 people decided to attend at least part of the conference in person.

Read more…

Karen Spärck Jones (KSJ) Award Presentation at ECIR 2022

A report from Haiming Liu and Jochen Leidner.

On Wednesday 14 April Professor Jochen L. Leidner gave the prestigious KSJ award for talented early career researchers in Information Retrieval (IR) or Natural Language Processing (NLP) to Dr Ivan Vulić at ECIR 2022. Read more…

ECIR 2023 Dublin

ECIR2023 will take place in Dublin on 2-6 April 2023. The web site is now live and sets out the timetable for the submission of presentations and lists the organisers.

From the BCS IRSG Chair

ECIR 2022 — a real conference with a real banquet

Hello everybody and welcome back to a world of in-person meetings, conferences and banquets. Just as we had started to get used to living in a virtual world we will have to adapt again. Do you even remember what it was like to ask a question from the floor? Or how about shaking hands? What’s that? Read more…

CHIIR 2022 report by Selina Meyer

Selina Meyer is a PhD student and research assistant at the Chair of Information Science, University of Regensburg. Her research focuses on empathetic conversational agents for behaviour change. Currently, she receives a scholarship from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation.

The seventh ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval (CHIIR) was supposed to happen in my hometown Regensburg, Germany.Unfortunately, it had to be moved to the virtual space due to the pandemic.To recreate the feel of the historic city, the local organisers took it upon themselves to model the city in gather town, complete with livestreams of popular places in town and Bavarian music. Read more…

ISKO UK/BCS IRSG Exploring Information Retrieval lectures series – February/March 2022

There has always been close cooperation between the IRSG and the UK Chapter of the International Society for Knowledge Organisations (ISKO UK), including a common interest in findability issues, including support our Search Solutions conference. Over the course of the pandemic ISKO UK made a significant contribution to maintaining its programme of meetings and workshop and last year I was invited to give a virtual presentation on the subject of information foraging.

Towards the end of last year I was approached by Aida Slavic, Vice Chair of ISKO UK to explore whether IRSG would be interested in developing a series of lectures on information retrieval pitched at a relatively low-technology level for ISKO UK members in a wide range of knowledge organisation roles in the public, academic and corporate sectors.

Read more…

SIGIR Forum December 2021 issue

The ACM SIGIR Forum is published twice a year, and is an essential read. The December 2021 issue came out after the Winter issue of Informer was published so this is my first opportunity to bring it to your attention. Each issue contains a few research papers and some abstracts of dissertations but the most valuable feature are the reports of ACM conferences.

Graduate Student Corner – a new feature for Informer

The Graduate Student Corner concept was suggested to me last year by Professor Jochen Liedner with the following scope note

“IRSG would like to offer doctoral students a forum to present their research in progress beyond the more formal workshop, conference and journal papers.  Many of you have plenty of good ideas, and often the Ph.D. degree time period is too small to follow up on all of them. Peer reviewed papers are also more rigid and formal, and often not easy to digest, so it may be pleasant to lay out some ideas or hypotheses for discussion in a more informal way and place, and for readers to pick up the intuitions and drivers behind your research.

Read more…

Graduate Student Corner – Pedro Ruas, University of Lisbon

I am currently a PhD student in the PhD Programme in Informatics at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. My main research interests are biomedical text mining and natural language processing. I have published several journal and workshop articles that focus on improving the named entity linking task and other text mining tasks, such as scientific recommendation and text classification. Read more…

NeurodiverseIT Specialist Group

The Information Retrieval Specialist Group can trace its origins back to 1998, though the British Computer Society itself was founded in 1957. There are over 50 Specialist Groups, and in 2022 a NeurodiverseIT Specialist Group was formed as the result of the independent efforts of Richard Cornell and Matthew Bellringer. The Group is run for and by neurodivergentpeople and held its first meeting in April. It is growing fast and expanding its committee to make sure it is as effective and representative as possible. The Group welcomes those with diagnoses of neurodivergent conditions, those who identify with those conditions, and those with a personal or professional interest in neurodiversity.

Read more…

Enterprise Search Management training course from Intranet Focus Ltd

In 2012 I undertook a project for the European Commission which had as its objectives the identification of barriers to the development and use of enterprise search applications in the EU. The primary conclusion was that the lack of training for enterprise search software developers and for enterprise search managers was the major barrier. Read more…

Information – A Historical Companion (Review)

How do you review a book that runs to almost 900 pages? Answers on a pack of postcards please! Two books sparked my interest in the history of information. The first was A History of Online Information Services 1963-1976 by Bourne and Hahn which provides a vast amount of detail on the early development of IR applications as well as the remote access services that really took off in the late 1960s. Read more…

And finally…..from the Editor

When I started work at Logica in 1989 one of the most talented of my consulting team (let me call him John) had a significant visual handicap resulting from macular degeneration. At the time John had to rely on a horizontally-scrolling LED display of text to write reports and create emails. Apart from being a superb technology analyst John also spoke absolutely fluent French and German as his hearing became a means of offsetting his visual handicaps. Read more…