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We are delighted to announce this year’s Search Industry Awards, celebrating the best search innovations of 2021. Presented by the Information Retrieval Specialist Group of the BCS, these awards recognize people, projects, and organizations that have excelled in the design of search and information retrieval products and services.

If you know of any people, projects, or products that deserve recognition, let us know by submitting a nomination. Alternatively, if you’re involved with something special yourself, you can submit an application today.

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In this short video we learn how to automatically translate search strategies to the syntax of different databases.

Let’s start with a simple search strategy that finds documents on the use of exercise to prevent obesity in older people:

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I’m delighted to report that our paper ‘Interactive query expansion for professional search applications‘ has just been published in the journal Business Information Review. It’s been a long time in the making, primarily as the work was completed over an extended period of time involving many iterations, not all of which were successful (in the product development sense). But it does represent a concise summary of our work in investigating knowledge-based and distributional (word embedding) approaches to the generation of interactive query suggestions for professional search (which, I should point out, poses a qualitatively different and greater challenge than query suggestions for traditional keyword/web search). In fact, this paper represents an abridged version of the full results, since for reasons of space we were obliged to omit certain techniques that were less successful. For full details of those, please refer to our pre-print on arXiv.

Anyway, feedback so far has been very informative. Keep it coming in! New release coming soon, so happy to accommodate thoughts & suggestions. Abstract appended below.

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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 over a dozen articles including conference reviews, feature articles, news and updates from the world of search and information retrieval. This one features extended coverage of the IRSG’s awards programme and a variety of upcoming events and news items. For further details see the Informer website. If you fancy becoming a contributor, get in touch!

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On Wednesday next week (14th July) I’ll be presenting a half day course called Search Usability, courtesy of CILIP and the UKeIG in particular. This course is new in two ways:

I did give some thought to the title. In particular, I’m aware that the term ‘usability’ has fallen out of favour in recent years, partly due to its connotations (in my view) as being a ‘nice to have’ feature or attribute. Instead, I prefer to frame UX in terms of ‘fitness for purpose’ or simply ‘good design’ – few would argue that those criteria are essential to any successful product or service. Moreover, they are central to the design of effective search experiences, and that’s what this course is all about.

I did also consider ‘Designing the Search Experience’, but I’ve rather beaten that title into submission in recent years, and besides, the course includes insights from UX research as well as UX design, so if you take it too literally you may incorrectly conclude that the course is aimed exclusively at designers (or individuals with such aspirations). Maybe I’m over-thinking this, but ‘Search Usability’, although it’s a bit 1990s, feels more inclusive.

Since this is only the second presentation of this particular course, its likely that we will need some flexibility in approach and content. For that reason I have included a few extra activities which I don’t expect to need on the day, but they are there just in case.

A final update: the previous presentation of this course sold out, so we said we’d do another one later in the year. As far as I’m aware, at the time of writing this there are still a few places available.

For further details and registration, see the UKeIG event page. In the meantime, I’ve appended further details below.

Hope to see you there!

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irsg

We are delighted to announce this year’s Search Industry Awards, celebrating the best search innovations of 2021. Presented by the Information Retrieval Specialist Group of the BCS, these awards recognize people, projects, and organizations that have excelled in the design of search and information retrieval products and services.

If you know of any people, projects, or products that deserve recognition, let us know by submitting a nomination. Alternatively, if you’re involved with something special yourself, you can submit an application today.

Continue Reading »

IRSG logo

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 15 articles including conference reviews, feature articles, news and updates from the world of search and information retrieval. This one features an extended review of the many faces of ECIR 2021 and a first announcement of the upcoming Search Industry Awards program for 2021. For further details see the Informer website. If you fancy becoming a contributor, get in touch!

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Spring is traditionally a time of new beginnings, so I am delighted this week to announce a new release of 2Dsearch. This release contains a variety of bug fixes and improvements, including support for two new databases: ACM Guide to Computing Literature and IDEAS (the largest bibliographic database dedicated to Economics available freely on the Internet). We’ve also improved our search report generation tool and now offer query statistics to help you refine those all important search strategies.

What all this means is that you can now use 2Dsearch to search visually across 12 different databases and use automated translations for 8 more. We’ve also made further improvements to the user experience and now provide example searches for each of the 12 databases.

We’ve lots more planned for the next release, so if you’d like to help shape this and/or have comments or suggestions then do let us know. We’d be delighted to hear from you!

I am currently starting work on developing an undergraduate module in Natural Language Processing (level 6, 3rd year). Although I have been involved in the field of NLP for many years, recent times have witnessed a transformation of the field, not just in terms of its academic foundations, but also its practical application in industry and its attractiveness as a fulfilling and rewarding career choice. My sense is that some of the topics which I originally studied for my doctorate retain their appeal since the key ideas remain relevant despite radical changes in the implementation. However, others are more hostage to the technological fortunes of deep learning and other neural/distributional approaches.

My view is that field benefits by being informed by more than one perspective: computer/data science may be a given, but cognitive science, information science and linguistics all have their contributions to make. Clearly, it is a tricky task to pack all this into just 10 topics, and to do so from both a theoretical and practical perspective. Here is my current thinking:

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I am delighted to announce the publication of Search Insights 2021: an edited collection of timely, vendor-neutral advice and expertise from some of the world’s foremost experts on search and information retrieval. It covers a broad range of topics, from enterprise search to eCommerce. In contrast to traditional (‘sponsored’) analyst reports, this publication is wholly independent and CC licensed.

This report embodies the collective expertise of 11 search implementation specialists working across the globe. It offers vendor-independent advice and guidance that has been acquired through a range of projects over many years, and I am honoured to be a part of this network.

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