Now that SIGIR ’08 is over, I hope to see more folks blogging about it. I’m jealous of everyone who had the opportunity to attend, not only because of the culinary delights of Singapore, but because the program seems to reflect an increasing interest of the academic community in real-world IR problems.
Some notes from looking over the proceedings:
- Of the 27 paper sessions, 2 include the word “user” in their titles, 2 include the word “social”, 2 focus on Query Analysis & Models, and 1 is about exploratory search. Compared to the last few SIGIR conferences, this is a significant increase in focus on users and interaction.
- A paper on whether test collections predict users’ effectiveness offers an admirable defense of the Cranfield paradigm, much along the lines I’ve been advocating.
- A nice paper from Microsoft Research looks at the problem of whether to personalize results for a query, recognizing that not all queries benefit from personalization. This approach may well be able to reap the benefits of personaliztion while avoiding much of its harm.
- Two papers on tag prediction: Real-time Automatic Tag Recommendation (ACM Digital Library subscription required) and Social Tag Prediction. Semi-automated tagging tools are one of the best ways to leverage the best of both human and machine capabilities.