Conferences, Conferences, Conferences!

Apologies for the lull in blogging this week, but it’s been a busy week in what looks to be a busy spring (and summer!) of conferences related to information access.

This week, I was in Boston, presenting at the Infonortics Search Engine Meeting and the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers Spring Conference.

The Search Engine Meeting was fun, if a bit cozier than in previous years (the recession is definitely taking a toll on travel budgets). The keynote by David Evans, entitled “E-Discovery: A Signature Challenge for Search“, made a phenomenal case for weaning researchers from web seach as the canonical domain for information retrieval, and instead setting our sights on more valuable problems that emphasize recall, require human-in-the-loop processing, and lack training data or established evaluation metrics. He didn’t call it HCIR, but he was certainly preaching it! You can find copies of most of the presentations here.

The STM conference was  a unique experience for me, starting from the keynote by a lobbyist for stronger copyright law. Indeed, the first day of the conference was largely concerned with addressing two threats to STM publishers’ current business models: copyright infringement and open access. Not everyone at the conference saw open access as a threat, and that made for a healthy debate. The second day focused on the present and future of semantic technologies–somewhat more familiar territory for me. I particularly liked a presentation by Priya Parvatikar that explained the semantic web in clear, hype-free terms. In fact, I’m looking forward to re-using it when she or the conference organizers post it!

Meanwhile, there are more conferences coming up! The Enterprise Search Summit takes place May 12-13 at the Hilton New York. I’ll be presenting on a panel about “Emergent Social Search Experiences“. The conference isn’t cheap, but they are offering a great recession-busting special: a freeVIP Pass” that includes admission to the keynotes and showcase. I hope that means I’ll see more of you at the summit in a couple of weeks!

Still to come in June and July:  the 5th Annual Text Analytics Summit, Endeca Discover ’09, SIGMOD 2009, and of course SIGIR ’09.

By Daniel Tunkelang

High-Class Consultant.

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