Spring 2014


That was ECIR 2014

Welcome to a new edition of Informer and a very short editorial (just to find out if anybody notices). What do we have to offer this time? First of all we have a number of workshop and conference reviews. March saw the annual iConference leaving America for the first time and what better place to organise it than Berlin? Read more…

Workshop Review: MindTheGap’14

Nick Belkin, the first key note speaker of the day

The MindTheGap 2014 full day workshop, held 4 March in conjunction with the iConference at Germany’s Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, aimed to bring together researchers from different domains (including Information Systems, Information Retrieval, Natural Language Processing and Recommender Systems) to discuss the idea of going beyond search  as a “single shot”, i.e., an isolated single query, and move towards more user based and personalised models. The strong program committee selected a broad range of papers and key note speakers making for an interesting day, all whilst overlooking the impressive grounds of the University and Berlin city Centre.

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Conference Review: ECIR 2014

Discussion Session During Wrokshop

Lively discussions at the Bibliometrics workshop

The 36th European Conference on IR Research (ECIR2014) was held in the beautiful city of Amsterdam on 13-16 April 2014. With its objective to provide the venue for the presentation and publication of the original research outcome in various domains of Information Retrieval, the conference provided a diverse range of opportunities, i.e., workshops, tutorials, short papers (posters/demos), full papers, Industry sessions, for the participation and dissemination of research.

The conference started with the workshops and tutorials day on 13th April. The workshops were arranged in full day and half day sessions, based on the contents and the proposals. The full day workshops were on Information Access in Smart Cities where the theme was:

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Workshop Review: GamifIR 2014

The 1st Gamification in Information Retrieval (GamifIR) workshop was held at ECIR 2014 on April 13 in Amsterdam. The workshop focused on the challenges and opportunities that gamification may present for the information retrieval (IR) community.

Keynote Richard Bartle unpicking the Call for Papers

Gamification, which is the application of game elements and mechanics in non-gaming environments with the aim to increase user engagement, data quality or cost effectiveness, is rapidly moving beyond being a buzzword and becoming a key strategy for a wide range of applications. A core aspect of gamification solutions is to infuse intrinsic motivations to participate by leveraging people’s natural desires for achievement and competition. While gamification, on the one hand, is emerging as the next big thing in industry, e.g., an effective way to generate business, on the other hand, it is also becoming a major research area. However, its adoption in IR is still in its infancy, despite the wide ranging IR tasks that may benefit from gamification techniques. These include the manual annotation of documents for IR evaluation, the participation in user studies to study interactive IR challenges, or the shift from single-user search to social search, just to mention a few.

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Towards Search Standardisation

The EU-funded COST Network IC1002 (http://www.mumia-network.eu/ ) is a four year (2010-2014) networking programme which aims to promote collaboration between researchers and professionals working on Multilingual and Multifaceted Information Access (MUMIA), principally in Information Retrieval, Machine Translation and related topics. More than 250 scientists and professionals from 28 COST countries and 4 non COST countries participated in the Action activities during its operation.  One of the areas in which the network is active is the development of standards for search systems. This networking activity was mainly motivated by previous work and discussions that were developed inside the network about integrating various Information Retrieval and Natural Language Processing (IR/NLP) technologies. During early 2013 two internal Working Group meetings and a Workshop (at ECIR in Moscow) were organised to discuss the problems of Integrating IR/NLP tools for professional search systems.

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Information Retrieval in Austria

The ECIR will take place in Vienna, Austria in 2015. Leading up to this event, we will have short presentations of some of the IR research groups in Austria in upcoming issues. To begin with, we provide a short overview of the IR landscape in Austria.

The Austrian IR community is small, but active, with IR work applied to a variety of modalities. Research in Austria is carried out both at universities, as well as at non-university research centres, where the work at the latter tends to be closer to the market. As is to be expected, music IR has an important place in the Austrian landscape, with research being done both at the University of Linz and at the Vienna University of Technology. Text retrieval work is done at six universities and the Know Center, a non-university research centre. It is often closely tied to activities on knowledge management and the semantic web, as well as to a specific focus on medical text analysis at the Medical Universities in Vienna and Graz. Image, video and multimedia search is tackled at two universities and the Austrian Institute of Technology, a further non-university research centre. Austria also has successful academic spin-off companies in the IR domain, including Spectralmind, max.recall, Lixto and m2n.

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Call for Book Reviews (Spring 2014)

This issue we include another Call for Reviews in which we seek reviewers for a number of recently published books that may be of interest to the IR community. Books will be allocated for review on a first-come-first-served basis and you would have about one month to carry out the review. If you are interested in reviewing one of these books, please let Cathal know (cgurrin@computing.dcu.ie) which book you are interested in reviewing and we will arrange for a copy (paper or online format) to be sent to you along with review guidelines. For examples of previous book reviews, see the most recent issues of Informer. Please don’t request a book to review unless you plan to complete the review.

The currently available books (courtesy of our good friends at Springer) are:

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Events Spring 2014

One day events

Making Metadata work. A one day event on meta-data of interest to members working in the area of meta-data and search. A joint event with ISKO UK.  23rd June 2014. BCS offices, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2 7HA. http://www.iskouk.org/events/metadata_June_2014.htm


LIDA 2014: Libraries in the Digital Age. Of interest to members working in the area of search in Libaries. 16–20 June 2014, University of Zadar, Zadar, Croatia.  http://ozk.unizd.hr/lida/

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