About the Hosts

The University of Sheffield was recently named UK University of the Year in the 2011 Times Higher Education Awards; a prestigious recognition of its excellence in all areas of activity. The University is among the top ten in the Russell Group, the association of leading UK research-intensive universities, according to the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

The Information School has consistently been rated as the leading centre for research in library and information management, and has been ranked first in every UK Research Assessment Exercise since the first, in 1986. It is the leading school of its kind in the UK, with an international reputation for the quality of teaching and research, and for the achievements of our graduates.

The Information Retrieval group at Sheffield consists of three academics (Prof. Elaine Toms, who is head of the research group, Dr. Robert Villa and Dr. Paul Clough), 7 PhD students and 2 researchers. The IR group focuses on facilitating access to information regardless of intellectual domain, task, information use environment, type of information, type of information object, or type of process requires. Areas of expertise include Interactive IR, collaborative IR, multilingual IR, multimedia retrieval, and evaluation.

The Information Retrieval group has considerable experience in organising and running both research projects and evaluation activities. Members of the IR group, both past and present, have been involved in organising and participating in evaluation campaigns at TREC, CLEF and FIRE. Paul Clough and Mark Sanderson instigated ImageCLEF in 2003 which is still running and has been one of the most successful tasks in CLEF attracting a total of around 150 participants. In 2010 Paul Clough, Evangelos Kanoulas and Mark Sanderson started a TREC task called the Session Track to investigate the evaluation of multi-query sessions in a lab-style setting. This is still running as of 2012 and attracted around 20 participants. Paul Clough has been co- organiser of the PAN@FIRE task which has been investigating detecting multilingual text re-use, particularly for Indian languages. The task began in 2011 and is running again in 2012.

Members of the IR group have extensive experience in organising and running research projects, including EU FP5/FP6/FP7, AHRC and EPSRC. Members have also been involved in the organisation of conferences and workshops. In 2011 Paul Clough was Programme co-chair of ECIR2011 and Lab Organising Committee Chair for the Cross Language Evaluation Forum (CLEF) 2011 conference (equivalent to PC co-chair). Robert Villa has been part of the local organising committee of the Summer School on Multimedia Semantics 2007, and the Seventh International Conference on Flexible Query Answering Systems, 2006.

Elaine Toms has served as Conference Co-Chair for ASIST 2010, and was Program Co-Chair for 2002. She was Program Co-Chair for Hypertext 2010, JCDL 2007, and Local Arrangements Chair for SIGIR 2003 in Toronto when it was held under adverse conditions – at the tail end of the SARS scare when the SIGIR executive could not decide how "safe" the city was. She established CaSTA (Canadian Symposium on Text Analysis) and was its first chair in 2002, and also as a PHD student established the first conference for information science doctoral students, Connections, which continues to this day, hosted in the United States or Canada. In addition, she has served in a variety of other roles in many workshops and conferences over the past two decades.