Winter 2013


Fed up with the snow? Tired of writing SIGIR papers?  No exam papers to mark? Then why not take a glass of whisky, sit by the fire and read this new issue of Informer … We have prepared quite a mix of articles this time.

The problem with probabilities: is this relevant?

We start with an idea that the older readers will remember. Years ago we had a number of special issues of Informer each of them looking at the IR scene in a specific country such as Spain or Switzerland. This time we give a very gentle introduction into IR research in Germany. Ingo will first of all outline the activities of the German equivalent of BCS IRSG and we also get to know more about two of the better known IR groups in Germany, the Webis group in Weimar and the group in Hildesheim which actually combines an IR perspective with more traditional library science. By the way, Read more…

IR Made In Germany – The German IR Special Interest Group

Introduction – IR Made In Germany

2012 marked an exciting year for the German Information Retrieval community, when for the first time ever with Norbert Fuhr a German was awarded the prestigious Gerard Salton Award. Besides being a well-deserved personal award, this brings with it a nice appreciation of the work performed by the German IR groups and it also reflects the growing importance information retrieval gains in industry and academia in Germany. In addition to the fact that some of the steering committee members of the BCS IRSG are actually German, this is enough motivation to have a closer look at “IR Made in Germany”. In this Informer issue, we will therefore start introducing the German IR Special Interest Group and some of the growing number of German IR groups.

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Webis Group, Weimar

The Web Technology and Information Systems group, Webis for short (, is part of the media faculty at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. The faculty provides, among others, the study course Computer Science and Media (both bachelor and master) and has a strong commitment to research in the field of digital media and information technology.

The Webis group was founded in 2005. The group conducts basic and applied research in the cross section of information retrieval, data mining, and knowledge processing, whereas a main focus is on algorithm development. Our contributions include original work for density-based cluster analysis and cluster labeling, query segmentation and session handling, hash-based search and efficient indexing, the cross language ESA retrieval model, retrieval-specific one-class classification and domain transfer, Web genre categorization, as well as algorithms for text forensics to address the detection of Wikipedia vandalism and text plagiarism.

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Information Retrieval between Disciplines: Computer Science and Information Science – The IR group at the University of Hildesheim

Information Retrieval Research in Germany is mainly done within the Computer Science Community represented by the Special Interest Group. But there is also a considerable amount of work done within the smaller Information Science Community in the German speaking countries. The University of Hildesheim forms a link between these otherwise largely distinct communities.

Information Science is traditionally interested in the observation and analysis of information processes which involve users and systems. Information science is built around a paradigm of user-orientation. Information and all processes concerning information are viewed from a pragmatic perspective introduced by Kuhlen (1989). His formula “information = knowledge in action” has ever since accompanied generations of students. It claims that information is created in an active problem-solving context. For knowledge to become information, a “refinement” is required which leads to a value-add.

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Enterprise Search Europe 2013

The third Enterprise Search Europe conference will take place in London on 15-16 May 2013, chaired by Martin White of Intranet Focus. BCS-IRSG Members can benefit from 20% discount on delegate places.

“This year, the conference will focus on 5 key themes,” said Martin White. “SharePoint, the opportunities and challenges of big data, getting the best from open source, optimising user experience,  and search implemention. In addition this year we have responded to delegate feedback to introduce a major focus on case studies which demonstrate implementation good practice.”

The keynote speaker this year will be experienced enterprise search practitioner Ed Dale from Ernst & Young who will reveal what he considers to be the six drivers for search quality, based on his own experience of being the business owner of search at Ernst & Young. His presentation will give  delegates insight into a process which they can adopt and use to improve the performance of their own search applications.

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Events Winter 2013

Forthcoming Events

Edited By Andy MacFarlane


35th European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR 2013). The IRSG’s annual conference. Moscow, Russia, 24-27 March 2013.

1st AISB Symposium on Music and Unconventional Computing. Of interest to members working in the area of music retrieval. University of Exeter, 3-5 April 2013.

SDM’13: THE TWELFTH SIAM INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON DATA MINING. Of interest to members working in the area of text mining or information extraction. Austin, Texas, USA, 2nd – 4th May 2013.

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