Summer 2018


Searcher’s paradise: high precision AND high recall (sample query: “Shōchū”)

Welcome to the Summer 2018 edition of Informer! We are back with a mix of news, reports and reminders, all from the world of search. Did I say reminder? If you are planning to host the top European Information Retrieval conference in 2020, then you have until Friday next week to hand in your bid. Another reminder? Ok, here we go: the nomination deadline for this year’s Karen Spärck Jones Award is fast approaching too!
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Visualizing search strategies

According to the IDC whitepaper, The High Cost of Not Finding Information, knowledge workers spend 2.5 hours per day searching for information. Whether they eventually find what they are looking for or just stop and make a sub-optimal decision, there is a high cost to both outcomes. The recruitment industry, for example, relies on Boolean search as the foundation of the candidate sourcing process, and yet finding candidates with appropriate skills and experience remains an ongoing challenge. Similarly, patent agents rely on accurate prior art search as the foundation of their due diligence process, and yet infringement suits are being filed at a rate of more than 10 a day due to the later discovery of prior art which their original search tools missed.

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CfP: Workshop on Ethics, Privacy, Transparency and Bias in Information Retrieval in Sheffield

More than ever before, information, algorithms and systems have the potential to influence and shape our experiences and views. Especially in the context of information retrieval and recommender systems, an awareness and understanding of areas, such as algorithmic accountability, transparency, governance and bias, are becoming increasingly important. Recent cases in the news and media have highlighted the wider societal effects of data and algorithms requiring we pay it more attention.

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SIGIR 2018 Review

The 41st International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval took place at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor July 8th – 12th 2018. As usual, the conference was highly competitive, with a 21% acceptance rate for long papers! For the first time, China surpassed the USA with most accepted papers.

Given the recent spotlight on privacy and ethical concerns in technology, I paid particular attention to what was presented around these topics. Tuesday morning provided one end of the spectrum, which kicked off with a keynote address on data science for social good and was followed by a session on methods to protect individual privacy in search. The other end of the spectrum was provided the following morning, with the location and trajectory session with methods that provide little to protect privacy and the mobile user behavior session (further discussed below) that had many concerns about digital ethics.

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Information Retrieval in the Workplace: a comparison of professional search practices

If you are interested in professional search and applications of IR in the workplace, you may be interested in a paper titled ‘Information Retrieval in the Workplace: a Comparison of Professional Search Practices‘ in Information Processing & Management. This work is a collaboration with Tony Russell-Rose and Leif Azzopardi, and uses a common research protocol to investigate and compare information retrieval practices across a number of different professions. The paper is freely available for a limited period (until 15-Sep-2018) from the IPM website. Abstract follows:

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Playing our way to understanding language: Workshop report for Games4NLP at LREC’18

LREC 2018 – first time outside Europe

Fresh back from Miyazaki, Japan and my mind is buzzing with new ideas about how language researchers can leverage the power of games to create and annotate language resources. The Games4NLP workshop aimed to promote and explore the possibilities for research and practical applications of using games and gamification for the creation of language resources for Natural Language Processing.
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Call for book reviews (Summer 2018)

Summer, sun, and a free book in your hands. What’s not to love about this!? We are again searching for reviewers for below books which have recently been published in Springer Verlag. Just drop me an email if you are interested in reviewing one of these gems and a free copy will be send to you.

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Events Summer 2018

One Day Events

Workshop on Ethics, Privacy, Transparency and Bias in Information Retrieval in Sheffield. A one day event focusing on some very hot topics given current events.

DIR2018: The Dutch-Belgian Information Retrieval workshop 2018. 23 November 2018. Leiden, the Netherlands.

Our annual search solutions event will take place on Tuesday 27th November 2018, with tutorials taking place one day beforehand on Monday 26th November 2018

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