The Search Futures Workshop

held in conjunction with
the 46th European Conference on Information Retrieval

The Search Futures Workshop

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? As generative LLMs can put their confabulations onto the Web at superhuman speed, can the principles and concepts of IR protect us when we search? 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? Can the principles of provenance-tracking be adapted to tell us whether a human or an LLM wrote the crucial phrases in a curated answer? 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

With advances in AI, it is claimed that the results of search across all of digitized knowledge can be digested, summarized, and focused for any inquirer. If this is true, has the problem that IR set out to address now been solved? Is there no need for improvements in search or recommendation – the systems will tell us what ought to want to know. This workshop asks: is there a place for the guiding principles of IR, in this brave new world? What are the new questions, and can we find a path to answers, by extending the ideas that have brought us here? Do we need new ideas altogether? 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 Link. The abstract will be evaluated through a single-blind process.

Important Dates

Submission Deadlines: February 25, 2024
Workshop: March 24, 2024


Lighting Talks Round 1


Information Retrieval in the Age of RAG Systems

Fabrizio Silvestri

Search still matters in era of LLMs

Bill Hersh

Healthcare Applications IR+LLMs

Zain Hasan

IR for Complex Information Needs

Eugene Yang

Ubiquitous Finding Engines

Raman Chandrasekar

Evaluation of Information Access Systems in the Generative Era

Negar Arabzadeh

IR can help us survive the LLM revolution

Paul Kantor

Lighting Talks Round 2


Information Retrieval in the age of LLMs

Suzan Verberne

Trustworthy information systems

Ian Soboroff

No One Attacks Live This!

Panagiotis Eustratiadis, Yongkang Li & Evangelos Kanoulas

Explainability for Engineers: A Path Forward …

Jasmin Kareem and Maarten de Rijke

Going Back to The Future

Adam Roegiest

Can LLMs Serve as User Simulators for Rec Sys?

Yuyue Zhao, Jin Huang & Maarten de Rijke

Beyond the Next Result: Optimizing for Long Term Goals

Kidist Mekonnen and Maarten de Rijke

Re-centering Search on Societal Needs

Bhaskar Mitra

The Role of LLMs in Democratic News Rec Sys

David Vos, Jin Huang & Maarten de Rijke

On the Challenges of DSI in Conversational IR

Simon Lupart, Mohammad Aliannejadi, Evangelos Kanoulas

Summary and Discussion



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,