A while ago I posted out the full line-up for Search Solutions 2009, to be held at BCS London on October 1st. But one thing that we hadn’t finalised then was the panel – that was still very much a TBD, with at least two candidate topics under consideration. So I’m pleased to now confirm that the theme for this year’s panel will be “Interactive Information Retrieval”. It’s a subject close to my heart, and one that is receiving increasing amounts of attention through events such as the HCIR conference series and dedicated columns within UX web magazines such as UXmatters, in addition to growing interest and awareness within the UX and IR communities more generally.
The details for the panel are attached below. I’d like to acknowledge Leonard Will as the (somewhat unwitting) inspiration for this, with his thought provoking observations on the talks given at the BCS event “Search – the Science Making Tomorrow’s World” earlier this year.
Actually, on reflection, the title “Interactive Information Retrieval” isn’t ideal, as it’s a bit generic and doesn’t quite capture the essence of the specific themes alluded to in the abstract. So if you can think of a shorter, better, or more pithy title, please let us know!
It has been widely reported that the “Google Generation” is changing our expectations of online information-seeking behaviour, and that impatience in search and navigation and zero tolerance for delay in satisfying information needs are becoming the norm. But should simple keyword search remain the dominant paradigm for information seeking behaviour in the future? Should we not be encouraging users to employ more sophisticated search techniques than simply entering keywords and relying on best-first ranked retrieval algorithms? What prospects are there for developing a more meaningful interaction with end users, providing a constructive dialogue that supports and facilitates search and information discovery in its widest sense?