The 5th Tony Kent Strix Annual Memorial Lecture 2019 was an eye-opener in exposing many pitfalls for would-be researchers into interactive information retrieval. It was given on 29th November 2019 by Professor Pia Borlund of the Department of Archivistics, Library and Information Science at Oslo Metropolitan University. Her lecture entitled, "Evaluation of information searching" was followed by lively debate from an appreciative and knowledgeable audience.
Abstract: My Tony Kent Strix Memorial Award 2018 acceptance talk introduces the research area of interactive information retrieval (IIR), which is concerned with how people search for digital information. More specifically, the presentation addresses methodological issues of IIR evaluation in terms of what it entails to study users' use and interaction with IR systems, as well as their satisfaction with retrieved information, by presenting the IIR evaluation model. Central to this model is the employment of simulated work task situations as assigned search tasks, which has become a standard way of testing users’ interaction and satisfaction in IR. Though this approach of assigned search tasks appears simple and easy to employ it is in fact challenging, and wrong use may have implications for evaluation results, therefore strengths and weaknesses will be discussed.
The recording of Professor Borlund’s Annual Lecture can be accessed here
Dr Andrew Macfarlane, Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design, City, University of London, opened last year's event with a presentation entitled "Sender vs Recipient Orientated Information Systems Revisited."
Abstract: Belkin and Robertson in 1976 reflected on the ethical implications of theoretical research in information science and warned that there was potential for abuse of knowledge gained by undertaking such research. In particular, they identified the domains of advertising and politics that posed particular problems. Recent events in global information systems have demonstrated that their fears were justified. Information science theories have been used in conjunction with empirical evidence gathered from user interactions that have been detrimental to both individuals and society. It is argued in the paper that the IR community should find ways to return control to the user where at all possible, and ways to achieve this are considered. Specifically, we argue that information systems such as search technologies should be designed with the recipient of information in mind, not the sender of that information.
This presentation too was well received, as it revealed the foresight of the original researchers in predicting ethical dilemmas that fully challenge us in today's era of social media and digital giants.
A recording of Dr Macfarlane's presentation can be accessed here-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Background information on the event
The Tony Kent Strix Award was inaugurated in 1998 by the Institute of Information Scientists. It is now presented by UKeiG in partnership with the International Society for Knowledge Organisation UK (ISKO UK), the Royal Society of Chemistry Chemical Information and Computer Applications Group (RSC CICAG) and the British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group (BCS IRSG).
The Award is given in recognition of an outstanding practical innovation or achievement in the field of information retrieval.
Professor Borlund was nominated for the 2018 award by Diane H. Sonnenwald, Emerita Professor of Library & Information Studies at University College Dublin and received unanimous praise and support from the Strix judging panel. "Similar to the memorable Dr Tony Kent, the work by Borlund is original and innovative, and has had a significant impact on information retrieval (IR) research and applications. Her approaches are analytical and practical, and her devotion and dedication to users and interactive information retrieval (IIR) are outstanding. Within the IR community, Borlund is known for her innovative contributions to IR user studies, evaluations and test design, including strong, novel methodological contributions to IIR evaluation. In particular, she is recognised for the development of her IIR evaluation model which uniquely employs simulated work task situations. Borlund developed the IIR evaluation model as a doctoral student by taking up the challenges of the calls put forward by Professor Stephen Robertson (recipient of the first Tony Kent Strix Award in 1998) and Micheline Hancock-Beaulieu, in their iconic 1992 paper on IR systems evaluation."
The Award was presented by Doug Veal (Strix Chair) and David Ball (UKeiG Chair) and accepted by Dr Andrew Macfarlane on Professor Borlund’s behalf on the afternoon of Friday November 23rd, 2018 at the Geological Society, Piccadilly, London. "I’m very pleased and very, very honoured to receive the Tony Kent Strix Award. It’s a privilege to join the past recipients who I have admired and respected since I was a student."