SIGIR Workshop on Accessible Search Systems

We organize a workshop on an exciting new theme at SIGIR on 23 July 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Current search systems are not adequate for individuals with specific needs: children, older adults, people with visual or motor impairments, and people with intellectual disabilities or low literacy. Search services are typically created for average users (young or middle-aged adults without physical or mental disabilities) and information retrieval methods are based on their perception of relevance as well. The workshop will be the first ever to raise the discussion on how to make search engines accessible for different types of users, including those with problems in reading, writing or comprehension of complex content. Search accessibility means that people whose abilities are considerably different from those that average users have will be able to use search systems with the same success.

The objective of the workshop is to provide a forum and initiate collaborations between academics and industrial practitioners interested in making search more usable for users in general and for users with specific needs in particular. We encourage presentation and participation from researchers working at the intersection of information retrieval, natural language processing, human-computer interaction, ambient intelligence and related areas. The workshop will be a mix of oral presentations for long papers (maximum of 8 pages), a session for posters (maximum of 2 pages) and a panel discussion. All submissions will be reviewed by at least two PC members. Workshop proceedings will be available at the workshop. The workshop welcomes, but is not limited to, contributions on a range of the following key issues:

  • Understanding of search behavior of users with specific needs
  • Understanding of relevance criteria of users with specific needs
  • Understanding the effects of domain expertise, age, user experience and cognitive abilities on search goals and results evaluation
  • Non-topical aspects of relevance: text style, readability, appropriateness of language (harassment and explicit content detection)
  • Development of test collections for evaluation of accessible search systems
  • Collaborative search techniques for assisting users with specific needs (e.g. parents helping children)
  • Potential of search personalization techniques to satisfy users with specific needs
  • Search interfaces and result representation for people with specific needs
  • Using assistive technologies for interaction with search systems, e.g. speech recognition or eye tracking software for querying and browsing.

See the Workshop website.