Here’s a sample of some of the things we’re working on at UXLabs this year, neatly packaged into Masters level ‘internships’. I use quotes there as although it’s a convenient term used by many of my academic colleagues, these opportunities are (a) unpaid and (b) remote (i.e. hosted by your own institution). So maybe ‘co-supervised MSc projects initiated by a commercial partner’ is more accurate term… Anyway, what we offer is support, expertise, co-supervision and access to real world data/challenges. If you are interested in working with us on the challenges below, get in touch. Continue Reading »

IRSG logoJust in case you missed it, here are details of the latest issue of Informer, which came out last week. As usual, lots of good stuff, this time with a comprehensive round up of what’s been happening on the IR conference scene. For further details see the Informer website. Or if you fancy becoming a contributor, get in touch!

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uxlabs-192-79-transI am currently recruiting for the following position. We’d like to start asap, so if you know of anyone suitable, please do point in the direction of tgr AT uxlabs.co.uk. Thanks!

Researcher / analyst

UXLabs is seeking a researcher / analyst for a 4-6 month government-funded project investigating the commercial feasibility of a new approach to search query formulation. The project will involve a programme of qualitative research involving end users and stakeholders from a variety of target sectors. It will also include a competitive analysis of alternative approaches to complex query formulation. The results will be used to identify key user tasks and goals, quantify market opportunities, and drive product development.

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A short while ago I posted the slides to Despo Georgiou’s talk at the London Text Analytics meetup on Sentiment analysis: a comparison of four tools. Despo completed an internship at UXLabs in 2013-4, and I’m pleased to say that the paper we wrote documenting that work is due to be presented and published at the Science and Information Conference 2015, in London. The paper is co-authored with my IRSG colleague Andy MacFarlane and is available as a pdf, with the abstract appended below.

As always, comments and feedback welcome :)


Sentiment analysis is an emerging discipline with many analytical tools available. This project aimed to examine a number of tools regarding their suitability for healthcare data. A comparison between commercial and non-commercial tools was made using responses from an online survey which evaluated design changes made to a clinical information service. The commercial tools were Semantria and TheySay and the non-commercial tools were WEKA and Google Prediction API. Different approaches were followed for each tool to determine the polarity of each response (i.e. positive, negative or neutral). Overall, the non-commercial tools outperformed their commercial counterparts. However, due to the different features offered by the tools, specific recommendations are made for each. In addition, single-sentence responses were tested in isolation to determine the extent to which they more clearly express a single polarity. Further work can be done to establish the relationship between single-sentence responses and the sentiment they express.

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Last month I announced the line-up for Search Solutions 2014, to be held at BCS London on Thurs November 27. This year we’re also offering a Tutorial Programme, which will run the day before (November 26). The programme consists of four half day-tutorials:

  • 09:30-13:00 Designing Search Usability (Dr. Tony Russell-Rose, UXLabs)
  • 09:30-13:00 Pattern Search and Information Retrieval (Epaminondas Kapetanios, University of Westminster)
  • 14:00-17:30 Text Analysis with GATE (Diana Maynard, University of Sheffield)
  • 14:00-17:30 Metadata Management in SharePoint (Marc Stephenson, Metataxis)

I’ve appended further details of my tutorial below. Full details of pricing and registration are available on the Search Solutions website. Note that the closing date for bookings is 23:59 on Wednesday 12th November 2014 (i.e. tomorrow!) Hope to see you there :)

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