The Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM) has had its 20th anniversary this year in Glasgow. Over the years, CIKM developed into a prime meeting venue for all scientists interested in information technologies, from both academia and industry. This year, the conference accepted 137 of the 917 paper submissions it received (a 15% acceptance rate), and established its position as one of the largest and most selective conferences in the field.
In addition to all the academic papers, the Thursday industry session was particularly interesting. Stephen Robertson, one of the key personalities of information retrieval, started the session with an acknowledgement of the needs of professional search, in contrast to the vast majority of research done on web search. He argued that instead of viewing professional search as a specific case, it is the web search that is in fact the exception to the rule. Only in web search do we have a practically unlimited data source, where recall is rendered useless and precision rules. He mentioned legal, prior-art and healthcare search as the prototypical professional search scenarios, which require further attention from the information retrieval community. There were also other interesting talks, in particular that of Khalid Al-Kofahi (Thomson Reuters) describing a new search system for legal search applied to civil law jurisdictions.
Together with the main conference, a total of 15 workshops were organized, to cater to all the different aspects of information sources and uses. Among them, the Patent Information Retrieval (PaIR) workshop (4th edition) was organized by Mihai Lupu, member of ESTeam. PaIR 2011 was equally attended by both industry and academic participants. Among them, we counted Google, Springer and CambridgeIP.
The conference was not all about work and also invited the attendees to a series of social events, starting the night before the conference, with a whiskey distillery tour. It continued on Monday with a welcome reception, on Tuesday with a Civic Reception hosted by the Mayor of the city, and finally a conference banquet on Wednesday, in the stunningly-restored Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.