The Search Futures Workshop (ECIR2024)

The Search Futures Workshop (ECIR2024)

The field of Information Retrieval (IR) is undergoing a profound transformation, spurred by the continual evolution and breakthroughs in the realm of artificial intelligence and the broader changing research landscape. This reformation period finds our field and community in a state of introspection, as we contemplate and reevaluate our role and significance within the broader context of computing and information sciences. This juncture in our journey serves as an opportune moment to convene and engage in a deep and purposeful dialogue concerning the future trajectory of our field. We must collectively confront the myriad challenges and potential threats that loom on the horizon, all while embracing the newfound opportunities and bold research inquiries that emerge as we embark on a re-imagined quest for the next generation “memex machine.

Workshop Objectives

The purpose of this workshop is to serve as a dedicated platform for the IR community to candidly express and deliberate upon the issues that weigh on our collective conscience. It is a forum where we can voice our concerns and brainstorm and present innovative proposals aimed at fortifying and enriching our field and the community that sustains it.

As we stand at the intersection of technological innovation and scholarly introspection, we find ourselves confronted with a multitude of pertinent questions. How can we harness the power of AI to enhance the effectiveness of information retrieval? What safeguards do we need to put in place to protect the integrity and privacy of the data we handle? How can we ensure that the fruits of our research are accessible and beneficial to all members of society? These are just a few examples of the pressing issues we face as we navigate this dynamic, new IR landscape.

In our pursuit of “search futures”, this workshop aims to provide the first of several forums, for the community to discuss and contribute to our collective agenda for the research directions and field. We hope that together, we can chart a course that not only safeguards IR’s continued relevance and vitality but also propels it into uncharted territories of discovery and exploration.

Call for Speakers

We are looking for speakers to present their views and positions about the future of search. Topics of interest may include, but are not limited to:

  • Does IR even matter anymore?
  • Does the R in IR stand for retrieval or recommendation?
  • Will people ever need to use a search engine in the future?
  • What is the duty/responsibility of an IR system?
  • Do we need to review papers, or can we just use LLMs to assess the work?
  • Do we need to write papers, if LLMs can just generate them?
  • If I want to see more, should the system give it to me?
  • How can we trust IR systems if they make up everything?
  • How environmentally responsible are the IR systems we are making?
  • Is IR helping overcome the digital divide?
  • Is IR addressing the disparity in information access, especially in marginalized communities?
  • Should IR systems curate information for users to avoid information overload?
  • What is the future of results presentation?
  • Can IR further optimize workplace productivity?

If you are interested in presenting your views, submit an abstract only (approx. one page / up to 600 words along with any links to references) directly into our EasyChair.


Leif Azzopardi, University of Strathclyde

Charlie Clarke, University of Waterloo

Paul Kantor, University of Wisconsin Madison

Bhaskar Mitra, Microsoft Research

Johanne Trippas, RMIT University

Zhaochun Ren, Leiden University