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In the Summer 2021 issue

I have often wondered if Editors of newspapers ever worry about whether there will be enough news to fill the next edition. I have a basic structure for Informer issues that runs several issues ahead because it is largely shaped by conference announcements and then reports of those conferences. Those items alone would make for […]

Search Solutions 2021 24 November – call for presentations and tutorials

Since 2007 the BSC IRSG Search Solutions conference has been an event where search good practice and academic IR research come together to share experience, user and business requirements and visions for the future of search. This year the conference will take place on 24 November, and we would welcome proposals for 30- minute presentations […]

ECIR 2022 10-14 April 2022 Stavanger, Norway

The European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR) is the premier European forum for the presentation of new research results in the broadly conceived area of Information Retrieval.  ECIR features full-paper and poster presentations, system demonstrations, tutorials, workshops, an industry-oriented event, and traditionally has a strong focus on the active participation of early-career researchers.  The 44th […]

ECIR 2021 Industry Day highlights

The Spring issue of Informer contained a number of articles on the very successful ECIR 2021 event, so I decided to carry over some reflections on the Industry Day to this issue. My first visit to ECIR was the 2011 Dublin event where I presented my SearchCheck methodology, which in the event was eventually launched […]

The Information Retrieval Anthology 2021: inaugural status report and challenges ahead

To quote from a paper published in the June 2021 issue of SIGIR Forum, “The Information Retrieval Anthology, IR Anthology for short, is an endeavor to create a comprehensive collection of metadata and full texts of IR-related publications. We report on its first release, the use cases it can serve, as well as the challenges […]

Search Industry Awards 2021 – call for nominations

We are delighted to announce this year’s Search Industry Awards, celebrating the best search innovations of 2021. Presented by the Information Retrieval Specialist Group of the BCS, these awards recognize people, projects, and organizations that have excelled in the design of search and information retrieval products and services. If you know of any people, projects, […]

Karen Spärck Jones Award 2021 – Second Call for Nominations

A pioneer of information retrieval, the computer science sub-discipline that also underpins the technology of modern Web search engines, Karen Spärck Jones was a British professor of Computers and Information at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge. Her contributions to the fields of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Information Retrieval (IR), especially with regard to […]

Strix Award 2021 – call for nominations

The UK e-information Group (UKeiG) is delighted to announce the call for nominations for the prestigious Tony Kent Strix Award 2021. Nominations should be received by 6 pm GMT on Thursday 30th September 2021. The Tony Kent Strix Award was inaugurated in 1998 by the Institute of Information Scientists. It is now presented by UKeiG […]

Report on the SIGIR 2021 Workshop “IR for Children 2000-2020: Where Are We Now?”

Authors (Monica Landoni, Theo Huibers, Emiliana Murgia, and Sole Pera) This year, researchers and practitioners gathered during a workshop co-located with the 44th edition of the renowned ACM SIGIR conference to discuss the current status of information retrieval (IR) research targeting children. The idea of hosting a workshop at ACM SIGIR first emerged from discussions […]

Journals publishing information retrieval research – are there any missing?

The IRSG web site (see above) has  carried a list of journals that cover information retrieval research for many years. However there are a number of broken links and some rather strange omissions, such as the Journal of Information Science. The table below is a draft of the revised version, which I have expanded a […]

David Maxwell wins the 2020 BCS/CPHC Distinguished Dissertation award

The BCS in collaboration with the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC) gives an annual award for the best thesis in computer science. David (at that time at the University of Glasgow) was recognised for his thesis: ‘Modelling search and stopping in interactive information retrieval.’ David is now undertaking post-graduate research at the […]

Book Review – Seeing with Fresh Eyes:  Meaning Space Data Truth by Edward Tufte

I am concerned at the lack of interest in the IR search community in the design of search results pages and the design of the individual results snippets. You could argue that these are topics  are out-of-scope and yet recent work on perceptual speed suggests that we should be taking more care about information design […]

Is there now a business in paid-for web search?

I would commend a blog post by Stephen Arnold on the future of paid-for web search, prompted by the release of Neeva which comes free for three months and then you pay $4.95 a month. (That fee is in very very small print on the home page!) Over the years several companies have tried to […]

On the dangers of stochastic parrots: Can language models be too big?

There are few better ways of spending an hour than doing so listening to Professor Emily Bender, University of Waashington, taking about language models in a virtual presentation hosted by the Alan Turing Institute on 8 July 2021. The main topics in this excellent lecture (content, presentation and discussion) were Are ever larger language models […]

IRSG web site upgrade

Work is now in progress with the migration of the IRSG web site into the new BCS Specialist Group web site style. For rather too long we have been somewhat out of step with the other Specialist Groups. We are anticipating that the new site will be launched towards the end of August. We have […]

Informer redesign plans

We are also planning to change the template of Informer, which apparently dates from 2008. However, this change will almost certainly not take place until the Winter issue in early 2022. The main reason for this is that the Editor is also acting as the Web Migration Manager and as the Conference Convenor for the […]

And finally…..the pleasures and pain of inverting files

The topic of search index development came floating across my mind when reading the work of the IR Anthology team on identifying over 53,000 research papers. To take advantage of the outcomes of this research by a commercial search software company would almost always require its customers to re-index their document collection (which might be […]