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I know the official publicity may not have reached your inbox just yet, but here’s a sneak peek at this year’s lineup for Search Solutions 2020. For those unfamiliar with the event, it is described as:

… the premier UK forum for presentation of the latest innovations in search and information retrieval.  The programme includes presentations, panels and keynote talks by influential industry leaders on novel and emerging applications in search and information retrieval.

Here is the provisional programme thus far:

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In case you missed it, here are details of the latest issue of Informer, which just came out this week. This is again one of our bigger issues, with 11 articles including conference reviews, feature articles, news and updates from the world of search and information retrieval. Big shout out to colleague Steve Zimmerman for publishing this issue and putting together the flyer below. For further details see the Informer website. If you fancy becoming a contributor, get in touch!

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In the previous video we learnt how to use search suggestions to help us choose effective keywords for our search. In this video, we’ll look at techniques to make those terms more precise.

A key task in developing effective search strategies is choosing the right terms for the various facets of your information need. For example, if you are researching the topic of promoting physical activity to prevent obesity in older people, you might start with a search like this:

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IRSG logoJust in case you missed it, here are details of the latest issue of Informer, which came out on this week. This is one of our biggest issues, with 16 articles including conference reviews, feature articles, news and updates in the world of search and information retrieval. Big shout out to my colleague Steve Zimmerman for publishing this issue and putting together the flyer below. For further details see the Informer website. Or if you fancy becoming a contributor, get in touch!

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On Friday I was privileged to present a paper called ‘Towards Explainability in Professional Search‘ at the 3rd International Workshop on ExplainAble Recommendation and Search (EARS 2020), part of SIGIR 2020. This paper was co-presented with my colleague Andy MacFarlane of City University, and represents our collective thoughts and recommendations on how to develop more transparent, reproducible and explainable systems in professional search. Understandably, given our respective geographic locations the presentation was made remotely, and we are thankful for the local attendees who stayed around until 22:00 (local time) for our talk. The slides are available below. We view these recommendations as a conversation starter rather than the last word, so comments & feedback are particularly welcome. The paper itself is available for download from the EARS website.

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In our previous video we learnt how to use visual approaches to create the correct structure for our search strategy. In this video, we’ll look at techniques to create the right content.

A key task in developing effective search strategies is choosing the right keywords. But how do we create these terms in the first place? One way is simply to brainstorm them, i.e. think up related terms for each facet. Or you might use your search results as a source of inspiration. But is there a more efficient way to generate related terms?

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Last week I was privileged to present at the Singapore Chapter of ISKO on the topic of “Putting search theory to work on large datasets“. Understandably, given our respective geographic locations this presentation was made remotely, but I’m pleased to say we had a good attendance and a very informative discussion. Big thanks go to Patrick Lambe, Maish Nichani and Mark Garlinghouse for making this happen. The slides are available below, and the video should follow shortly. As always, comments & feedback welcome 🙂

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In this video, we’ll look at how data visualization techniques can help us optimize and re-use search strategies.

The benefits offered by visualization become more apparent as the complexity of your search increases. For example, here is a relatively complex search string used by a recruiter to find social profiles for project managers in the Republic of Ireland. As you can see, it is quite hard to visualize how this search is structured, and even harder to debug or improve.

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In our previous video we learnt how to build a search strategy and then save it and create a shareable link to it. In this video, we learn how to use visual approaches to make our searches smarter and more efficient.

Let’s return to the previous example where our research question concerned the role of physical activity in preventing obesity in older people. One of the immediate benefits of the 2D approach is that it you can see hit counts for each search block, displayed in the top right hand corner. You can use these to better understand which parts of your search to focus on when optimising your query.

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