SIGIR 2011 Workshop on "entertain me"

Supporting Complex Search Tasks

28 July 2011
Workshop Homepage Presentations Call for Participation Organizers

SIGIR 2011 Workshop on "entertain me": Supporting Complex Search Tasks

Please submit your Research/Position Paper (2 pages) to be presented as boaster and poster at the workshop.

A Workshop on a Single Query ?!?

Searchers with a complex information need typically slice-and-dice their problem into several queries and subqueries, and laboriously combine the answers post hoc to solve their tasks. This workshop invites discussion about any technique, knowledge representation, model or technology to integrate the search results into a coherent session on a level of abstraction which matches the original information need.

Consider planning a social event at the last day of SIGIR, in the unknown city of Beijing, factoring in distances, timing, and preferences on budget, cuisine, and entertainment. A system supporting the entire search episode should "know" a lot, either from profiles or implicit information, or from explicit information in the query or from feedback. This may lead to the (interactive) construction of a complexly structured query, but sometimes the most obvious query for a complex need is dead simple: entertain me. Rather than returning ten-blue-lines in response to a 2.4-word query, the desired system should support searchers during their whole task or search episode, by iteratively constructing a complex query or search strategy, by exploring the result-space at every stage, and by combining the partial answers into a coherent whole.

Although a SIGIR Workshop devoted to a single query may seem extravagant, this query is just one example of the general problem of supporting simple and common requests that express complex and dynamic needs.

Social Evening Program

Many interesting ideas will come out of the workshop, but how do we know if they are any good? We will have a special breakout group designing a mock-up for solving the "entertain me" query, charting out the background information (implicit and explicit context), the different sources (maps, web, social, news, ...), and the needed components and interaction. A group of local Peking University grad students is available to serve as oracles for local information.

The scientific evaluation of the resulting "entertainment plan" will be done by executing it in the evening after the workshop, with all participants.

Call for Submissions

We invite the submission of papers that think outside the box, from any aspect of relevance to the workshop's theme, including:

We aim to bring together a varied group of researchers covering both user and system centered approaches, and together work on ways to make IR systems support searchers when interactively solving a complex task, such as the entertain me planning problem.

Help us shape the future of IR!


This workshop will be held as part of the 34th Annual International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research & Development on Information Retrieval, Beijing, 2011. Information on Beijing can be found in the Wikipedia.