New year, new health and safety regulations

Welcome to our winter 2016 edition of Informer! Another year has passed and we are now in the fifth year of our relaunched newsletter. Time for a review? No way, but perhaps you tell us what you think so far.

What’s new this time? Many new contributors for a start… But first a quick update on what’s happening within the IRSG. A new member joined the IRSG committee following the elections at the AGM. Welcome, Ingemar Cox! And, by the way, this year will see almost the entire committee (including all committee roles) being up for election, so please do consider standing!

No need to tell you anything about our flagship event ECIR as you will know that it is only a few more weeks to go. An interesting novelty this year is that there will be keynotes by two winners of the Karen Spärck Jones Award. The 2015 winners are Emine Yilmaz (congratulations to our IRSG committee member!) and Jordan Boyd-Graber who were judged to have made equally impressive contributions to the fields of Natural Language Processing and Information Retrieval that the award committee decided to hand out two full awards. ECIR 2016 is set to be an excellent event … but enough about us, now it’s over to you.

Paul Cleverley brings you a comprehensive review of Search Solutions 2015, and as if Christmas had not quite passed yet, we give you a bonus piece on the event. A few years ago we introduced a fee waiver scheme for Search Solutions to attract more PhD students to attend,  and Tu Bui writes about his experience of attending Search Soultions for the first time  and how the discussed themes relate to his own PhD topic. Let me also tell you that we already have some excellent speakers lined up for Search Solutions 2016. If you think, YOUR talk is a valuable addition to the event, then do let us know as we are always open for new faces and ideas.

Our co-editor Gabriella provides  a news digest in machine learning including references to some of the recent top stories – be it the new Yahoo! news dataset or Google’s success in playing board games …  If you like this news digest, drop us a line and Gabriella will (perhaps) compile this every time for you.

We also have a feature article by Marco Palomino and colleagues at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen on sensing political content in soial media streams which nicely illustrates the multiple facets that search applications offer nowadays.

This time we have three book reviews for you (thanks to our book editor Frank for getting those in). Marina Santini starts with a detailed chapter-by-chapter review of Fundamentals of Predictive Text Mining, edited by Sholom Weiss, Nitin Indurkhya, and Tong Zhang. Paul Matthews reviews Applications of Social Media and Social Network Analysis, edited by Przemysław Kazienko and Nitesh Chawla. Gabriel Tanase takes a closer look at Personalized Task Recommendation in Crowdsourcing Systems by David Geiger.

And — at the risk of repeating myself here — what would Informer be without the work of our Senior Events Compilation Director Andy. He has again spared no effort to compile the hottest selection of search related events and here they are – just for you!

Enjoy the snow/rain/hail/sun wherever you are!


About Udo Kruschwitz
Udo Kruschwitz

Udo Kruschwitz is a Professor of Information Science at the University of Regensburg and a long-standing member of the IRSG committee (currently serving as Chair). His main interests are in information retrieval and natural language engineering. He enjoys being involved in organising events such as Search Solutions in London and ECIR Industry Day (e.g. at ECIR 2019 in Cologne) which aim at bringing together academia and industry.