Just in case you missed it, here are details of the latest issue of Informer, which came out on this week. As usual, lots of good stuff, with a mix of conference reviews, feature articles and the several obligatory mentions of the word ‘chatbot’. For further details see the Informer website. Or if you fancy becoming a contributor, get in touch!
Informer: Winter 2017 Issue Out Now
By Udo Kruschwitz
Welcome and Happy New Year! “We had a great 2016. 2017 will prove to be even better” as an anonymous letter writer assures me … although he/she/it also assures me that the European Union is doomed and that I should respect the democratic will of the British people. What better way to start the year than with a few friendly words?
::: Read more at: http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/2017/02/editorial-21/
A Case for Satellite Events in Evaluation Campaigns
By Frank Hopfgartner
Local conferences, such as TREC in North America, CLEF in Europe, and NTCIR in Asia, play a leading role in promoting information retrieval research by supporting novel campaigns and releasing datasets to share the latest research challenges. To gain access to these datasets, participants are requested to communicate their work in the form of working notes. Despite the overall success of these conferences, the main drawback is that these working notes are not peer-reviewed. This may pose problems, especially for researchers who cannot easily afford or justify travel expenses to attend such conferences. To overcome the problem of distance, we organised an experimental satellite session that allowed participants of the Asia-based evaluation campaign NTCIR to present their work either in Europe or in Asia. Given participants’ feedback, we see this as an attractive method to foster research and innovation beyond continental borders…
::: Read more at: http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/2017/02/a-case-for-satellite-events-in-evaluation-campaigns/
A framework for chatbot evaluation
By Tony Russell-Rose
Unless you’ve been on another planet for the last year or so, you‘ll almost certainly have noticed that chatbots (and conversational agents in general) became quite popular during the course of 2016. It seems that every day a new start up or bot framework was launched, no doubt fuelled at least in part by a growth in the application of data science to language data, combined with a growing awareness in machine learning and AI techniques more generally. So it’s not surprising that we now see on a daily basis all manner of commentary on various aspects of chatbots, from marketing to design, development, commercialisation, etc.
But one topic that doesn’t seem to have received quite as much attention is that of evaluation. It seems that in our collective haste to join the chatbot party, we risk overlooking a key question: how do we know when the efforts we have invested in design and development have actually succeeded? What kind of metrics should be applied, and what constitutes success for a chatbot anyway?
::: Read more at: http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/2017/02/a-framework-for-chatbot-evaluation/
Search Solutions 2016 – Matching the IR talent supply and demand in the industry
By Jose Alberto Equivel
This past November 30th 2016, the British Computer Society hosted the Search Solutions forum at its London Offices.
It was divided into 5 sessions with the following themes: 1. Understanding users and context, 2. Moving towards question-answering, 3. Beyond web search, 4. New modes of search, and 5. Panel session. Particularly interesting, was the panel session, in which attendees and participants alike had a discussion on the possible reasons talent in Information Retrieval (IR) was so hard to find and not matching the industry’s demand. This article will attempt to summarize each of the 4 sessions preceding the panel; using issues and solutions that arose during the panel as a framework to structure the summary. First, I will attempt to summarise and list the panel’s main talking points. Afterwards I will map the talks given at the forum to these points, and will conclude with a personal take on these issues.
The panel session’s discussion was taken over by the unmet IR talent demand in the industry, observed (by some if not all of the attendees). This problem was also described as a lack of interest in IR areas by working technology professionals and students. After describing the problem this way, the discussion yielded the following possible causes:
Call for Industry Day Proposals at ECIR 2017
By Tony Russell-Rose
This year’s ECIR conference will include an Industry Day, following very successful events at ECIR in recent years. The Industry Day will be held on Thursday 13th April 2017, immediately after the regular conference program.
The Industry Day’s objectives are three-fold. The first objective is to present the state of the art in search and search-related areas, delivered as keynote talks by influential technical leaders from the search industry. The second objective of the Industry Day is the presentation of interesting, novel and innovative ideas related to information retrieval. Finally, a highly-interactive panel session will conclude the day, topic to be announced.
Speakers confirmed so far include:
::: Read more at: http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/2017/02/call-for-industry-day-proposals-at-ecir-2017/
Information retrieval, information literacy: a common cause?
By Stephane Goldstein
What do information retrieval (IR) and information literacy (IL) have in common? At a fundamental level, they are both concerned with enabling users to locate and retrieve information, and thereby to meet their information needs; and the deployment of IL is partly dependent on IR systems. To a large extent, there is therefore a common purpose, but both concepts approach this from rather different perspectives. Given current and growing concerns about ‘post-truth’ and the tension between information and misinformation, it is perhaps timely to reflect on how approaches to IR and IL can feed off each other.
::: Read more at: http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/2017/02/information-retrieval-information-literacy-a-common-cause/
Events Winter 2017
By Andy Macfarlane
One Day Events
Search Solutions 2017. The annual practioner focused event for the IRSG held at the BCS offices in Covent Garden, together with a tutorial day on 28 November 2017, with the main event on 29th November 2017.
CHIIR 2017: ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction & Retrieval. A conference focusing on the interaction aspect of search. 7-11 March 2017. Oslo, Norway. http://sigir.org/chiir2017/
::: Read more at: http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/2017/01/events-winter-2017/
::: Opportunities for Authors :::
If you are an expert in information retrieval or any aspect of search who has strong writing skills, we invite you to contribute to Informer. Please send an article proposal to us at: email@example.com.
For more information about the BCS IRSG, please go to:
::: About Informer :::
Informer is the quarterly newsletter of the BCS Information Retrieval Specialist Group (IRSG). Its aim is to provide insights and inspiration to researchers and professionals working in all aspects of search and information retrieval. Our articles provide accessible and timely coverage of important topics, ranging from focused, practical advice, to concise overviews of broader topics, and to deeper, research-oriented articles and opinion pieces.
The IRSG is a Specialist Group of BCS. Its mission is to provide a focus for the European IR community, facilitate communication between researchers and practitioners and promote the adoption of IR research within industry. We host a major European conference (ECIR) and provide an associated programme of workshops, seminars and events. The IRSG is free to join via the BCS website, which provides access to further IR articles, events and resources.
BCS is the industry body for IT professionals. With members in over 100 countries around the world, BCS is the leading professional and learned society in the field of computers and information systems.
::: Visit Informer at http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/
::: If you have comments, questions, or suggestions for Informer, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Designing Search – tutorial at Search Solutions 2016
- Who needs UX professionals anyway?
- Call for Industry Day Proposals at ECIR 2017
- Search Solutions 2016: London, November 30
- New Informer – Spring 2016