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Informer is dead: long live Informer!

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Informer is dead: long live Informer!

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Well, who’d have guessed it? After two long years, the new edition of Informer is finally out.

Can it really be that long? Has a full two years passed since the last issue? So much has happened in that time. First, we’ve expanded the team: I am now joined by Udo Kruschwitz (Co-editor), Tyler Tate (Features Editor), Cathal Gurrin (Reviews Editor) and Andy MacFarlane (Events Editor).

Second, we are now a web-only publication. Goodbye pdf! By moving to WordPress, we can engage much more closely with our audience, and deliver a much more interactive and engaging reading experience.

But we remain committed to our original editorial principles. In particular, we’ll continue to bridge the divide between research and practice, balancing research-oriented content with more practice-oriented case studies, reviews and opinion pieces. We’ll also continue to adopt a broad definition of IR, embracing related topics such as information architecture, knowledge management, data mining, visualisation, and more. But above all, we’ll focus on publishing high quality, original content, written in an accessible, inclusive style.

So, welcome to the new Informer! For further details of the current issue, read on.


Informer: Winter 2012 Issue Out Now!




By Udo Kruschwitz

Welcome to the January 2012 edition of Informer, the quarterly newsletter of the BCS Information Retrieval Specialist Group (IRSG). For those of you who have been eagerly waiting for the next issue, we are pleased to announce that after a bit of a hibernation we are back in full swing. Has it really been more than two years since we last had an update on information retrieval research, handcrafted in Tony’s study and sent out as a PDF file? Well, the world has changed, and we are back with a new-look Informer that makes is easier for us to update you as quickly as possible and for you to feed back your ideas to us immediately.

Those of you who have have not heard about the IRSG or Informer before may still have come across some of the events we are in charge of. Our flagship event is the annual European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR), and ECIR 2011 was a great success with record numbers of submissions and a week of sunshine and blue sky in Dublin (believe it or not).

::: Read more at: http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/2012/01/editorial/


The Three Circles of Collaborative Search

By Tyler Tate

Search often appears personal, introspective, and private; an activity of the individual in isolation. In fact, most researchers depict search as a single-user activity. Yet a 2008 survey found that over half of respondents self-reported having co-operated with other people to search the web, while an impressive 97.1% went on to indicate at least one form of collaborative search activity in which they had engaged (Morris, 2008). It’s safe to say that collaboration is pervasive.

Yet collaborative search is a broad term, encompassing explicit cooperation with others during information seeking, enlisting help from one’s social groups, and implicit collaboration with strangers. We must attain a holistic view of collaboration in order to design socially-aware search applications that support collaboration. I believe that holistic view can be found in a three-circle model: the inner circle, intermediate social circles, and the outer circle.

::: Read more at: http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/2012/01/three-circles-of-collaborative-search/


Conference Review: Search Solutions 2011

By Charlie Hull

In November I attended the British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group’s annual Search Solutions conference, which brings together theoreticians and practitioners to discuss the latest advances in search. This is always a fascinating event, split into several sessions to cover the various aspects of search: web, enterprise and more.

::: Read more at: http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/2012/01/conference-review-search-solutions-2011/


Delivering Successful Search Within the Enterprise

By Marianne Sweeny

There is a strange phenomenon surrounding enterprise search. Unlike the practical factors of managing enterprise content, search is shrouded by the expectations of magic.  It is the only component of a document management or content management platform that is expected to work flawlessly out of the box, just point-and-index for perfect search results every time. After all, enterprise search engines are just like Web search engines only smaller, right? Wrong and the purpose of the article is to examine why enterprise search is not only different from Web search but has the potential to exceed the discovery success of Web search by more than we can imagine.

::: Read more at: http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/2012/01/delivering-successful-search-within-the-enteprise/


Designing Faceted Search: Getting the basics right (Pt 1)

By Tony Russell-Rose

Faceted search offers tremendous potential for transforming search experiences. It provides a flexible framework by which users can satisfy a wide variety of information needs, ranging from simple lookup and fact retrieval to complex exploratory search and discovery scenarios.  In this post, we begin with a look at some of the fundamental design considerations such as layout (i.e. where to place the faceted navigation menus) and default state (e.g. open, closed, or a hybrid).

::: Read more at: http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/2012/01/designing-faceted-search-getting-the-basics-right-part-1/


Book Review: The Social Semantic Web

By Frank Hopfgartner

The Social Semantic Web is, as one would expect, another book on the Semantic Web. This book provides an easy-to-understand insight into Semantic Web and Social Web technologies and highlights research challenges when applying these technologies. The Social Web is defined as the Web where users can share content, discuss, collaborate and meet online. In recent years, Social Web services such as Facebook, del.ici.us, Digg, Wikipedia and other online platforms that thrive on user input have attracted millions of users as well as significant investment. Hence, the Social Web plays an important role in today’s online communities. Semantic Web technologies attempt to understand the semantics, i.e. the meaning of information. The main argument of the book is that these technologies can match diverse person- to object-oriented data which can be extracted from the Social Web, hence improving the way information is processed and utilised.

::: Read more at: http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/2012/01/book-review-the-social-semantic-web/


Book Review: Semantic Web Information Management

By Alejandra Gonzalez-Beltran

Be it from Twitter, YouTube, blogs, online newspapers or scientific journal articles, data generated from the Large Hadron Collider or from high-throughput sequencers among other sources, we live in a world where the volume of digital data is ever-increasing. Many times, these documents and data are shared and interlinked through the World Wide Web. However, interpreting and processing this colossal collection of data to determine meaning and to integrate data from different sources are difficult, time-consuming and not easily automatable tasks. These tasks convert data into information by dealing with their semantic heterogeneity, i.e. the different ways of expressing the same information. The Semantic Web is an extension of the Web designed to tackle these issues and to make the information processable by computers.

::: Read more at: http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/2012/01/book-review-semantic-web-information-management-a-model-based-perspective/


Events Diary

By Andy Macfarlane

::: Read more at: http://irsg.bcs.org/informer/2012/01/events/


::: Opportunities for Authors :::

If you are an expert in information retrieval or any aspect of search who has strong writing skills, we welcome you to contribute to Informer. Please send an article proposal to us at irsg@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 assopciated 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.

Source:  http://isquared.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/informer-is-dead-long-live-informer/


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