In the Autumn 2021 issue

I’ve given a lot of prominence to the forthcoming Search Solutions 2021 event on 23/24 November with Tutorials on the Tuesday  and the Conference on the Wednesday. Apart from one tutorial it will (sadly) be a virtual event. The IRSG AGM will take place at the end of the Conference, and a call for nominations […]

Search Solutions 2021 23/24 November

We had hoped to run the Search Solutions 2021 Conference and Tutorials on-site at the BCS London HQ but constraints on the number of delegates that could be accommodated because of Covid concerns meant that last month we made the decision to go virtual with the Conference (which worked well last year) and with one […]

Call for nominations to the BCS IRSG Committee

The BCS Information Retrieval Specialist Group invites nominations for the following positions: – Vice-Chair – Secretary – Inclusion Officer – Six ordinary members of the committee

IRSG web site revisions

The new BCS IRSG web site has been up and running for a couple of months now. The web team at the BCS HQ were a pleasure to work with, and I’d like to thank Simon Curd and Fiona James For their patience and expertise converting my suggestions into the BCS Group template. There are […]

ECIR 2022 Stavanger 10-14 April 2022 

  The 44th European Conference on Information Retrieval will take place on site in Stavanger, Norway.  Sessions will also be streamed for delegates who are not able to travel to Norway. There has been a very good response to the invitations to all the sections of this conference. The conference team has set up an […]

IR and ACL Anthologies

The US equivalent of IRSG is SIGIR, which publishes its Forum newsletter every six months. This is always a very good read and you do not have to be a member of SIGIR to do so. One of the feature articles in the June issue (which only came online in October!) is an introduction to […]

Big Information and big budgets

The concept of Big Data has been around for some time. John Mashey at Silicon Graphics is usually credited with inventing the term in a presentation he gave in 1998. Without doubt big data is very difficult to manage and the demand for people with data science skills never seems to slow down. However much […]

History of the Institute of Information Scientists 1958-2002

Over the last two years I have been working with Dr. Sandra Ward and Professor Charles Oppenheim in writing a history of the Institute of Information Scientists. The IIS was founded in 1958, largely due to the vision and commitment of Jason Farradane and the support of G. Malcolm Dyson. The IIS merged/was taken over […]

Book Review ‘Between the spreadsheets’ Susan Walsh

The full title of this book is Between the Spreadsheets – Classifying and Fixing Dirty Data. Hooray – at last a book that focuses on content quality and does so in a very practical way. Susan Walsh (aka The Classification Guru)  is an information entrepreneur who somewhat accidentally fell into the business of sorting out […]

And finally….

I suspect that the name G. Malcolm Dyson in the History of the IIS item above will be unfamiliar to anyone who has not been in chemical information retrieval for quite a number of decades. Dyson developed a linear notation for organic chemical compounds in 1946, initially with a view to supporting the use of […]

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 […]

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 […]