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No April fools from me today but instead just a quick heads up that on Sunday April 13 I’ll be presenting a tutorial at ECIR 2014 in Amsterdam called Designing Search Usability. This is part of a programme of tutorials offered that day, so there are lots to choose from.

The course represents a wholesale revision of my original tutorial, updated to accommodate new concepts and exercises drawn from the book “Designing the Search Experience: the Information Architecture of Discovery”, published by Morgan Kaufmann in December 2012.

For further details and registration, see the ECIR 2014 website. In the meantime, I’ve appended further details below.

Hope to see you there!

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Over the last few months I have been working with Paul Clough and Elaine Toms of Sheffield University on a Google-funded project called ‘A Taxonomy of Search Sessions’. A session, in case you’re wondering, is defined as a period of continued usage between a user and a search application. So if you spend a while Googling for holiday destinations, that’s a session. Sessions are interesting because they form a convenient unit of interaction with which to study usage patterns, and these can provide insights that drive improved design and functionality.

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ESE 2014

I’m pleased to say that on Monday 28 April I’ll be leading a workshop at Enterprise Search Europe on the subject of Search Interface Design. It’ll be held at the Park Plaza Victoria London, and will consist of a mix of formal presentations, group work and discussion. It’s a chance to discuss with like-minded folks your own challenges in the world of search interface design and usability, and to share ideas, best practices and solutions. I’ve appended a longer abstract below. If you have any queries, just drop me a line.

Hope to see you there!

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Valentin Tablan kicks things off (photo: Hercules Fisherman)

After a brief hiatus I’m pleased to say the London Text Analytics meetup resumed last night with an excellent set of talks from the participants in the AnnoMarket project. For those of you unfamiliar, this project is concerned with creating a cloud-based, open market for text analytics applications: a kind of NLP ‘app store’, if you will. The caveat is that each app must be implemented as a GATE pipeline and conform to their packaging constraints, but as we’ve discussed before, GATE is a pretty flexible platform that integrates well with 3rd party applications and services.

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[Note: this post was originally written for and published in the Winter 2014 edition of Informer]

The start of a new year is always a good time to reflect on the role and impact of groups such as ours, and ask the question ‘why are we here?’ For many of us on the IRSG committee, the answer is simple: to promote the dissemination of IR knowledge and best practice in all its forms, and to create connections between communities so that research results are visible to practitioners and challenges faced by practitioners are visible to researchers.  But are we delivering on this objective? Do our activities and outputs truly reflect the interests of our members? And how far should we go in understanding those interests?

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