Revisiting the Foundations of IR

Paul B. Kantor
2015 Proceedings of the 38th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval - SIGIR '15  
As we face an explosion of potential new applications for the fundamental concepts and technologies of information retrieval, ranging from ad ranking to social media, from collaborative recommending to question answering systems, many researchers are spending unnecessary time reinventing ideas and relationships that are buried in the prehistory of information retrieval (which, for many researchers, means anything published before they entered graduate school). Much of today's received wisdom
more » ... received wisdom may be nothing more than the fossilized residue of lively debates concerning such things as . estimation of value and evaluation of systems. Returning to those discussions may open the door to genuinely new insights. On the other hand, of the ideas that surface as "new" in today's super-heated research environment have very firm roots in earlier developments in fields as diverse as citation analysis, statistics, and pattern recognition. The purpose of this tutorial is to survey those roots, and their relation to the contemporary fruits on the tree of information retrieval, and to separate, as much as is possible in an era of increasing commercial secrecy about methods, the problems to be solved, the algorithms for solving them, and the heuristics that are the bread and butter of a working operation. Among the important new topics whose foundations will be explored are the use of social media in search and advertising, and the growing management of personal image collections for search and for commercial purposes. While some might think that an examination of the roots is of merely historical interest, it has practical value as well. When you know which earlier research has provided the origins for the things that you are interested in, you can use that fact to trace its other descendents, and often find rich and rewarding ideas in a literature that you would not normally reach, because it was not considered important by your instructors when you were learning about the problems. In addition to pattern recognition and citation analysis, the tutorial will also expose and review some of the relations to the fields of statistics and operations research.
doi:10.1145/2766462.2767878 dblp:conf/sigir/Kantor15 fatcat:amqhrnlixfhhrlvxasnll7xuae