13th Dutch-Belgian Workshop on Information Retrieval

Delft: host city of DIR'13

The DIR workshop traditionally represents one of the annual highlights for information retrieval researchers in Belgium and the Netherlands. Hosted alternatingly in between the Netherlands and Belgium it serves as a venue for networking, sharing and discussing late-breaking research results as well as promoting recent publications in international key conferences and journals. A special emphasis has always been put on contributions from doctoral students, giving them a forum to communicate their results and gather experience presenting their work. Like other workshops, DIR invites original research papers and demonstrators for presentation. The third accepted publication format are extended abstracts of previously published papers. The motivation is to call internationally successful recent or upcoming publications to the Dutch-Belgian IR community’s attention. In this spirit, recent papers that were well-received at original venues such as JASIST, SIGIR, CIKM, ECIR, etc. can be discussed in more detail, leading to a strong network of national and European collaborations.

This year, the 13th edition of DIR was held in the beautiful Faculty of Architecture at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The program featured a total of 29 research contributions from 6 countries and attracted an international audience of 79 participants. In his keynote “The Return of the Probability of Relevance”, Norbert Fuhr argued for an adequate use of formal methods in today’s mainly data-driven research and service landscape. Guided by practical examples, the 2012 Salton laureate demonstrated how the probability ranking principle (PRP) can be applied to a wide range of modern IR tasks such as aggregated search, interactive IR, or document clustering and makes for a strong competitor to unsupervised, fully data-driven approaches.

The workshop program boasted 3 oral presentation sessions and a total of 6 novel and 12 compressed research papers covering topics such as word sense disambiguation, expert finding, learning to rank, social networks, search intent analyses, mobile and multimedia device usage, including among many others the ECIR 2013 best student paper.

To the participants’ delight, the buffet broke with the Dutch tradition of serving cold dishes for lunch, eliciting many surprised compliments. In addition, 4 poster presentations, 7 demonstrators and several industry presentations enriched the lunch break by food for thought and discussion.

Thanks to generous support by Google and other sponsors, DIR 2013 was able to hand out awards for the best novel research paper as well as the best demonstrator. The best novel research contribution “An Adaptive Window-Size Approach for Expert-Finding” by Fawaz Alarfaj, Udo Kruschwitz and Chris Fox describes a content based method for deteriming optimal text window sizes in expert finding. The predicate of best demonstrator was handed out to Bart de Goede, Justin van Wees and Maarten Marx for their PoliticalMashup Ngramviewer. The system allows for dynamic visualizations of the language use during debates in the Dutch parliament, enabling the user to zoom in on individual parties or politicians.

Best paper (and best beard)

Best demo

For more information on the program, the workshop proceedings and a few impressions of the event, please visit the workshop website at http://www.dir2013.org or look out for us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dir2013. We hope to welcome many of you to the next DIR in 2014.

About Carsten Eickhoff
Carsten Eickhoff

Carsten Eickhoff is a Ph.D. student at Delft University of Technology. His main research interests are information retrieval, natural language processing and crowdsourcing. In particular, he investigates multi-dimensional notions of document relevance. In 2013, he organized the 13th edition of the Dutch-Belgian workshop on information Retrieval.