This blog is a little different to most. Its primary purpose is as a vehicle for sharing ideas about user experience, search and text analytics. But it also has a secondary purpose: as a conduit for republishing the best of the content from Informer (the newsletter of the BCS IRSG, of which I am editor).
Of course, you may wish to download Informer content directly, or even join IRSG and receive it quarterly. To hep you decide, I’ve included my opening editorial from Informer below.
Welcome to the new edition of Informer. As many of you know, the last edition of Informer came out in 2002, and since then we’ve waited a long time for a new editor to come forward. Now that’s resolved, let me outline a few of the opportunities I see for us going forwards.
Firstly, I’d like us to engage more fully with the practitioner community. There are thousands of information professionals in the UK (and further afield) who regularly use information retrieval (IR) concepts & technologies to get their jobs done, and I’d like to see us do more to address their needs and interests. In this regard I’ll be looking to balance our traditional research-oriented content with more practice-oriented case studies, reviews and opinion pieces.
Secondly, as Editor I’ll be adopting a more inclusive definition of IR, and looking to explore its relationship with other topical areas, notably:
· Search engines (web & enterprise, text & multimedia)
· Information architecture & information management
· Knowledge & content management
· Data mining & visualisation
This is, of course, in addition to maintaining coverage of our traditional ‘core areas’ such as text retrieval & classification. There are other new columns in the pipeline too, along with regular features such as jobs pages, events listings, and so on. (If you’d like to suggest others, by all means let me know).
One thing we won’t be doing is competing head-on with mainstream IR journals: they do a perfectly adequate job already, and I see no particular virtue in us trying to compete with them. Moreover, I see great opportunities for us to cover the spaces left by the traditional journals, in providing more informal, topical coverage of interesting developments in IR theory and practice, and to do so in a style that encourages newcomers to the field to get involved. Incidentally, as part of this approach I’d like to adopt a ‘rapid turnaround’ policy wherever possible – if you have something to say that is interesting, topical and relevant, I’ll do my best to see that it gets published in the next edition.
Finally, in amongst all this I’d like to think there would be one common denominator: quality. I’d like to see us publish quality, original content, written in an accessible, inclusive style. Ideally, that content would be described as thought-provoking, compelling, radical even – but I appreciate we’re not going to get there from here overnight. It’ll take effort & commitment, but as is often the case, you get out of it what you are prepared to put in.
So in the meantime, I’d like to welcome you once more to the new Informer, particularly to those for whom this is a new experience. I hope you like it, and find something in here of value. If you do, tell your friends. If you don’t, tell me.
Tony Russell-Rose, PhD MBCS CITP