Brexit: Making good progress.

Welcome to a new issue of Informer! Has it really been 7 years since we relaunched Informer? Then this must in fact be Editorial number 29 … it feels like it was just twenty minutes ago that I wrote the first one.  Time flies when you are getting old. So perhaps it’s time to step down and leave the stage for some fresh blood. And that’s exactly what I am doing now … Continue reading “Editorial”

My week: Natasha Chowdory, a CEBIS Specialist at a large hospital in the West Midlands

Our work is fairly constant, with large influxes in September and January from people gearing up for conference submissions. However, it’s not just conference submissions but also applying for research grants. A fair amount of the research we do, will contribute to bids that individuals make for the hospital – some of which that have been really successful! I am constantly amazed by how little time people leave to get the research for their proposal done and the date of the proposal itself.  We have become adept at guessing the difference between someone who sends us an email saying ‘ASAP’ and one saying ‘as soon as possible’.

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FIRE 2018 Conference Review

The wonderful attendees of FIRE 2018

The 10th annual meeting of the Forum for Information Retrieval Evaluation (FIRE 2018) took place in Gandhinagar, India. The conference took place at the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT). Several participants dubbed the venue as a mini zoo because of the varied wildlife, especially monkeys, squirrels and peacocks on the campus. FIRE 2018 was one of the biggest FIRE till date with over 80 participants and 11 invited speakers. Besides the main conference FIRE-2018 hosted six evaluation tracks and two tutorials.

FIRE 2018 consisted for the following tracks:

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1959 – the dawn of relevance and the benefits of IR

There was a remarkable amount of interest in the publication of a belated obituary of Karen Sparck Jones in the New York Times on 9 January 2019. I was delighted to see that the University of Cambridge obituary for Karen (published at the time of her death in 2007) has now been updated with the NYT reference. It never fails to surprise me how few people have an appreciation of the history of information retrieval and search both in terms of its technical development but even more of the people whose insights transformed our views of how to use computers to manage language.

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Events: Winter

One Day Events


CHIIR 2018: ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Information. A conference with a very clear focus on user issues in search. 10-14 March 2019. Glasgow, Scotland. http://sigir.org/chiir2019/

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Autumn time – travel time. Join us at Search Solutions in London!

Welcome to the Autumn 2018 edition of Informer! What a great time of the year, the days get shorter, the nights get colder, the Pound drops further. Happy days. You can be happy too if you do not miss our early-bird deadline to register for our annual practitioners’ event – Search Solutions! We have been running this event for more than 10 years now. Time flies like an arrow.
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Visualizing search strategies (part 2)

In our last post we reviewed some of the issues involved in developing effective solutions to complex search problems, and explored some of the challenges involved in formulating and representing Boolean strings and expressions. In particular, we explored the contribution of three experimental systems which aimed to offer an alternative to the conventional approach exemplified by line-by-line query builders and ‘advanced search’ forms. In this piece, we review some of the more recent examples, and reflect on the ways in which their ideas, insights and innovations may be productively applied to address contemporary search challenges.

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BCS Search Industry Awards 2018: final call for nominations

On behalf of the BCS IRSG I am delighted to announce this year’s Search Industry Awards, celebrating the best search innovations of 2018. Presented by the Information Retrieval Specialist Group of the BCS, these awards recognize people, projects, and companies that have excelled in the design of search and information retrieval products and services.

If you know of any companies, projects, or products that deserve recognition, let us know by submitting a recommendation. Alternatively, if you’re involved with something special yourself, you can submit an application today!

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