SIGIR is the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval. The scope of the group's specialty is the theory and application of computers to the acquisition, organization, storage, retrieval and distribution of information; emphasis is placed on working with non-numeric information, ranging from natural language to highly structured data bases.
The annual international SIGIR conference series, which began in 1978 (there was an initial SIGIR conference in 1971), is considered one of the most important conferences in the field of information retrieval. The 31st SIGIR conference (SIGIR 2008) took place in Singapore, and next SIGIR conference (SIGIR 2009) will be held in Boston MA, USA. SIGIR also sponsors the annual Joint Conference on Digital Libraries JCDL in association with SIGWEB, the Conference on Information and Knowledge Management CIKM, and in 2008 the International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining WSDM in association with SIGKDD, SIGMOD, and SIGWEB.
The group gives out several awards to contributions to the field of information retrieval. The most important award is the Gerard Salton Award (named after the computer scientist Gerard Salton), which is awarded every three years to an individual who has made “significant, sustained and continuing contributions to research in information retrieval”.
Written for Wikipedia.