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In the April issue

To start with IRSG affairs, our Chairman Udo Kruschwitz comments on some aspects of the very successful ECIR 2023 conference  and our Secretary, Steven Zimmerman has an update on Committee Membership following the 2022 AGM held in November following the Search Solutions 2022 event. The ECIR 2023 conference was a great success, and there are […]

The Editor’s in-tray

A small miscellany of search-related items that have arrived in my in-tray recently that you might be interested in Microsoft Search Hero Mastermind Group This is a new and very enterprising training course for Microsoft search managers that has a mix of tuition and mentoring spread out over a three month period. The course has […]

CIKM 2023 Birmingham 21-25 October 2023

The 31st ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM) will be held in Birmingham on 21-25 October. The last time this conference was held in Europe was 2018!  It is not a BCS event but many members of IRSG are involved in the event. The General Chairs are Ingo Frommholz, University of Wolverhampton, […]

Search Solutions 2023 London, 21/22 November

A mark-your-diary item for the annual Search Solutions 2023 conference. It will be held at the BCS London office in Moorgate and will be on-site only. Tuesday 21 will be Tutorials Day and Wednesday 22 will be Conference Day. There will be call for papers and tutorials in early May and this will be posted […]

Karen Spärck Jones (KSJ) Award – 2023 timeline for nominations

Professor Jochen Leidner, the current chair of Karen Spärck Jones (KSJ) Award, presented the trophy to the 2022 KSJ award winner, Professor William Wang, who delivered his keynote presentation at ECIR 2023. Since Jochen has chaired three years of the KSJ Award, and 2022 is the last year of his term I am now the […]

IRSG 2022-2023 AGM and Committee Elections

The IRSG Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place immediately after Search Solutions 2022, where the committee election results were announced.  The draft 2021 minutes can be found here, with 2021 AGM confirmed minutes found here.  The full list of current committee members is now available on the IRSG governance page.  All committee positions were filled […]

Academia and the Enterprise – Steve Zimmerman

Academia and the Enterprise It is an honour to be asked by a highly respected contributor to the enterprise search community to share my journey from academia into the enterprise.   Admittedly, it has been an unusual journey, so perhaps it’s best to say a bit about where things are at the exact moment before […]

Alan Turing Institute Conference on LLMs February 2023 – a historical perspective?

This symposium, organized by the Alan Turing Institute,  was held at the IET, Savoy Place on 23 February and attracted around 350 delegates, including what seemed to be the entire UK machine learning research community. There were seven presentations and a panel session that I was not able to stay for. (Note from the Editor. Two […]

ECIR 2023 Industry Day

The European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR) seems to have emerged from the pandemic stronger than ever. This year, in Dublin, saw the highest number of attendees ever, I’m told, at over 380 in-person and virtual attendees. I’m not a computing academic, so I don’t sit through the academic presentations, but the last day of […]

Call for proposals for IRSG one-day events in 2023

The Information Retrieval Specialist Group (IRSG) of the BCS invites proposals for the organisation of one day events supported by BCS. Proposals will be evaluated based on the organisational and financial plans and benefits to the Information Retrieval community. Important dates * Submission deadline for this round: 19-May-2023 * Notification: 02-Jun-2023

Relevance under uncertainty – the commercial realities of IR development

Relevance Under Uncertainty – How Loop54 does software engineering to advance relevance Loop54 (on the market under the name FactFinder Infinity) is a technology that integrates with e-commerce stores and determines based on visitor interactions, in real time, which the most relevant products are for each individual user at every moment. It attempts to perform […]

Tony Kent Strix Award 2022 lectures

The 2022 annual memorial lecture for the International Tony Kent Strix Award  hosted by the UK electronic information Group (UKeiG) in partnership with the International Society for Knowledge Organisation UK (ISKO UK) , the Royal Society of Chemical Information and Computer Applications Group (RSC CICAG)  and the British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group (BCS […]

Understanding Search Engines – Dirk Lewandowski

It is remarkable that this book is unique in its coverage of the development of the technology, business and impact of web search. The web search engines play such an important role in our lives and our business activities that we take them for granted. It’s not just a lack of books but a lack […]

Events Spring 2023

One Day Events  Search Solutions 2023: The groups annual industry focused event, includes a tutorial day. 21-22 November 2023. 

ECIR 2023 Dublin – conference report

ECIR 2023 Dublin – conference report

Last week I attended the 45th edition of the European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR) which was hosted in Dublin, Ireland. Given that this was only my second in-person conference I have ever attended it was great to bump into several familiar faces throughout the week. One reason for that could be that this year’s […]

Karen Spärck Jones Award 2023 – Timeline for nominations

  Professor Jochen Leidner  has been the Chair of the KSJ Awards panel since 2019. As his term of office has now come to a conclusion Dr. Haiming Liu (University of Southampton) is taking on the role for the next three years. The Award now alternates between ECIR and the Annual Conference of the European […]

An interview with William Wang – KSJ Award Winner 2022

I asked William Wang, who at ECIR 2023 was presented with the Karen Spark Jones Award for 2022, if he could respond to a series of questions about his background and career. I am most grateful to William for the care he put into his replies. What were your aspirations at high school? I have […]

ECIR 2023: bigger (and heavier) than ever

From Udo Kruschwitz – BCS IRSG Chair

Welcome to our Spring 2023 edition of Informer! Have we seen you in Dublin? Not inconceivable given it was the biggest ECIR ever in many respects including number of attendees (more than 400 registrations!). It felt as if everbody was there … Well, in case you missed the conference there is plenty of reading material […]

Search Solutions 2022 Conference report

Search Solutions is managed by the Information Retrieval Specialist Group of the British Computer Society and is the only broad-spectrum search event outside of the USA. The conference was held at the BCS London office on 23 November, preceded by a day of Tutorials. The conference was held at the BCS London office on 23 November, […]

ChatGPT take on Academia and Enterprise

The following is the version authored by ChatGPT of Steven Zimmerman’s article titled ‘Academia and the Enterprise‘.   This version is notably shorter than the original article, and the facts  that remain are all correct.  However, ChatGPT has removed many anecdotes, including the mention of SkyNet (should we be concerned).   Which version do you prefer? Academia […]

And finally – from the Editor

I’ve included a conference report in this issue of Informer on the Alan Turing Institute conference on LLMs (held in London on 23 February) to give an indication of the speed of development of LLMs and related applications (ChatGPT, Microsoft Copilot and oh so many more!) over the last few months. The opportunities for research […]