[Corpora-List] BCS Informer: Winter 2020 Issue Out Now

Udo Kruschwitz Udo.Kruschwitz at ur.de
Thu Feb 6 08:37:09 CET 2020

BCS Informer: Winter 2020 Issue Out Now


Editorial By Martin White

In the Conference Year there are only two seasons. The first runs from March to early May and the second from October to early December. This particular bi-seasonal structure is primarily driven by the time it takes to promote the event and attract reservations. So in this issue I can offer you very good reports of the Taxonomy Bootcamp (October) and BCS-IRSG Search Solutions together with the Strix Award lecture (late November). Forthcoming are a workshop about fairness in information retrieval to be held in Glasgow in March and then ECIR2020 in the sunshine of Lisbon in April. The main feature of this issue is a detailed analysis of the current situation and future development of the search functionality in Microsoft Office 365. The installed base of SharePoint/Office 365 is immense, and for a great many customers O365 offers the most powerful search application they have probably ever come across. However, this application arrives with the rest of Microsoft Office 365. There was no statement of requirements for the search element, so whether it meets the current and future requirements of an organisation is uncertain, especially when Microsoft has a fairly cavalier attitude to version release dates. Agnes Molnar is one of the leading independent consultants on Microsoft search applications (there are very few!) and I invited her to write an overview of the application. Finally there is a short contribution from me on BM25, which for me is where information retrieval meets search, a continuing theme of my curation of Informer. Of course if you have travel and registration budget to use up Andrew MacFarlane provides his comprehensive list of conferences despite being on a sabbatical. That’s real dedication to the IRSG!


Microsoft Search – status and roadmap By Agnes Molnar

Office 365 is now almost ubiquitous in the corporate sector and increasingly in the public sector. Embedded into O365 is a search application which is optimized for Microsoft files and may well be the first time employees and IT departments have experienced a powerful search application. De facto it represents a benchmark against with other search applications may be judged. However it comes with some challenges. I have invited Agnes Molnar, one of the few independent search consultants with SharePoint/O365 expertise, to summarise the current situation.


BM25 – the magic dust of search? By Martin White

A preprint of an ECIR2020 paper by Chris Kamphuis, Arjen de Vries, Leonid Boytsov and Jimmy Lin caught my eye recently as it reports on an investigation of eight variants of the BM25 scoring function. BM25 is where information retrieval meets search, as most search vendors will claim they are using BM25 but will never go into details. As the authors note BM25 is now often incorporated into a multi-stage reranking process, and for commercial vendors the exact basis of this reranking is their magic dust when it comes to relevance ranking.


Taxonomy Bootcamp London 2019 – conference report By Helen Lippell

Helen Lippell is a highly experienced UK-based taxonomist and took on the role of Programme Chair for the inaugural event in 2016. There has been a Taxonomy Bootcamp event in the USA for some years but launching the event in the UK (especially with the ‘bootcamp’ label) was a significant commitment for Information Today Inc. but the conference is now well established. I asked Helen to give me her perspective on the event.


Search Solutions 2019 – conference report By Alberto Purpura

It is not easy to sit through a day of presentations on a wide range of topics and at the same time make good enough notes to prepare this detailed account of the meeting. I am grateful to Alberto Purpura for writing this excellent account.

Search Solutions is the premier UK forum for presentation of the latest innovations in search and information retrieval. This year’s event featured lots of interesting talks covering many of the challenges in different Information Retrieval (IR) areas: from how to benefit from Neural IR models in the task of Job Search, to how search engines can help in the healthcare domain.


2019 Tony Kent Strix Award Lecture By John Tait

John Tait FBCS, Secretary of the IRSG, attended the Tony Kent Strix Award Lecture on Friday 29 November 2019 at the Royal Geographical Society in London. This is his report of the meeting

If you don’t know it, the Tony Kent Strix Award is probably the second most prestigious life time achievement award in IR (after ACM SIGIR’s Salton Award). The award commemorates Tony Kent, a pioneer of early information retrieval systems, and awarded through a joint effort form the BCS IRSG, the UKeiG of CILIP, ISKO and Royal Institute of Chemistry’s CICAG. In the past it has been won by Stephen Robertson, Donna Harman, Keith van Rijsbergen and Bruce Croft amongst others.


Fair Information Retrieval for Industry Workshop 27 March Glasgow By Martin White

Fair Information Retrieval for Industry is a one-day workshop, sponsored by IRSG and SICSA, that will bring together practitioners from academia and industry to discuss the challenges relating to fair IR that are faced by industry and recent advances in fair IR research.


ECIR 2020 Lisbon 14-17 April By Martin White

The list of accepted papers at ECIR 2020 now been published. If like me, you are interested in the Industry Day...


Events: By Andy Macfarlane

One Day Events

Fair Information Retrieval for Industry Workshop. 27th March, University of Glasgow, Glasgow. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fair-information-retrieval-for-industry-tickets-91620779217

LREC 2020: Workshop on Cross-Language Search and Summarization over Text and Speech. A one day workshop on cross language search with both text and speech. Marseilles, France. 16 May 2020. http://users.umiacs.umd.edu/~oard/clssts/


ACM HotMobile 2020: The 21st Annual International Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications. Of interest to members working in the area of Mobile search. Austin, Texas, USA. 3-4 March 2020. https://hotmobile.org/2020/

CHIIR 2020: The 5th ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval. A conference focused on the user interaction side of search. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 14–18 March, 2020. http://sigir.org/chiir2020/

And Many More...



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: irsg at bcs.org. For more information about the BCS IRSG, please go to: http://irsg.bcs.org/about.php

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.


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