BIRDS 2020

Bridging the Gap between Information Science, Information Retrieval and Data Science

An interdisciplinary SIGIR 2020 workshop for students, practitioners and researchers in Data Science, Information Retrieval and Information Science.

Keynotes by Nick Belkin and Carlos Castillo.

BIRDS 2020 Proceedings at
BIRDS YouTube playlist containing recordings of the talks.

Keynotes, Invited Talks & Programme


Nick Belkin

Challenges and Opportunities for IS, IR & DS in an Era of Information Ubiquity

In the emerging technological and social-technical environment, people will be (to some extent, already are) constantly and ubiquitously emerged in a sea of information (or, data). This will be

  • Information (data) of a great variety of “kinds”;
  • Information (data) from or about increasingly varied and numerous sources;
  • Information (data) in increasingly varied and numerous media types;
  • Information (data) available in increasingly varied and numerous modalities; and,
  • Information (data) available for access and interaction in increasingly varied and numerous contexts.
And, increasingly, “pushed” information will compete with, indeed, replace “pulled” information. All of these conditions have major implications for research and practice in each of the fields of Information Science, Information Retrieval, and Data Science, individually, in their interactions with one another, and, perhaps most importantly, in their integration. These implications present both challenges and opportunities with respect to the goal of supporting people’s interactions with information (data). In this presentation, I propose the concept of “radical personalization” as a means to support effective interaction amongst IS, IR and DS and to address these challenges and to take advantage of these opportunities. I also discuss some ethical issues inherent in supporting people’s interactions with information (data) in the era of information ubiquity in general, and in this specific approach to that goal.

Nicholas Belkin is Distinguished Professor of Information Science Emeritus, at the Department of Library & Information Science, Rutgers University, and Adjunct Professor at the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology. Previous to these appointments, he was Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Information Science, The City University, London. He has held visiting positions at the University of Western Ontario, the Free University, Berlin, and the Institute for Systems Science, National University of Singapore. Professor Belkin was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Tampere in 1996, and a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Croatia in 2003. He received his Ph.D. in Information Studies from the University of London (University College).

Professor Belkin has served as the Chair of the ACM SIGIR, and President of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST). He is the recipient of the ASIST’s Outstanding Teacher award, its Research Award, and its Award of Merit, for outstanding contributions to Information Science. He is one of the founders of the “cognitive viewpoint” in information science, and is the co-author of one the first books to explicitly investigate and describe the process of interactive information retrieval. He is the author or co-author of over 200 journal articles, conference proceedings and book chapters, and has been identified variously as the first or second most highly cited scholar in Library and Information Science.

Professor Belkin has conducted ethnographic, sociological, behavioral and experimental research, including twelve years in the TREC Interactive Track. His most recent projects have focused on personalization of interaction with information, in particular, personalization of information retrieval based on searchers’ current and past behaviors, and on methods for evaluation of whole-session search. Professor Belkin’s research has been supported by many agencies, including NSF, Institute of Museum and Library Development Department NIST, US Department of Education, the British Library Research and Development Department, and NATO.

Carlos Castillo

Fairness and Transparency in Ranking

Ranking in Information Retrieval (IR) has been traditionally evaluated from the perspective of the relevance of search engine results to people searching for information, i.e., the extent to which the system provides "the right information, to the right people, in the right way, at the right time." However, people in current IR systems are not only the ones issuing search queries, but increasingly they are also the ones being searched. This raises several new problems in IR that have been addressed in recent research, particularly with respect to fairness/non-discrimination, accountability, and transparency.

Carlos Castillo is a Distinguished Research Professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, where he leads the Web Science and Social Computing research group. He is a web miner with a background on information retrieval, and has been influential in the areas of crisis informatics, web content quality and credibility, and adversarial web search. He is a prolific, highly cited researcher who has co-authored over 80 publications in top-tier international conferences and journals, receiving a test-of-time award, four best paper awards, and two best student paper awards. His works include a book on Big Crisis Data, as well as monographs on Information and Influence Propagation, and Adversarial Web Search.

Carlos received his Ph.D from the University of Chile (2004), and was a visiting scientist at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (2005) and Sapienza Universitá di Roma (2006) before working as a scientist and senior scientist at Yahoo! Research (2006-2012), as a senior scientist and principal scientist at Qatar Computing Research Institute (2012-2015), and as director of research for data science at Eurecat (2016-2017).

He has served in the Program Committee (PC) or Senior PC (SPC) of all major conferences in his area (WWW, WSDM, SIGIR, KDD, CIKM, etc.), and is part of the editorial committee of ACM Transactions on the Web and ACM Transactions in Social Computing. He is General Co-Chair of ACM FAT*2020 and has been PC Co-Chair of ACM Digital Health 2016, 2017, and 2018 and of WSDM 2014; he co-organized the Adversarial Information Retrieval Workshop and Web Spam Challenge in 2007 and 2008, the ECML/PKDD Discovery Challenge in 2010 and 2014, the Web Quality Workshop from 2011 to 2014, and the Social Web for Disaster Management Workshop in 2015, 2016, and 2018. He is an ACM Senior Member, an IEEE Senior Member, and is accredited at the full professor level in Catalonia.

Invited Talks

  • Riccardo Guidotti: Explaining Explanation Methods
  • Xi (Sunshine) Niu: Understanding Faceted Search from Information Retrieval, Information Science, and Data Science Perspectives

Programme July 30, 2020

Recordings of the talks are available in the BIRDS YouTube playlist. Proceedings are available at

EDT: Eastern Daylight Time; BST British Summer Time; MESZ Middle European Summer Time; CST China Standard Time. Please note linked papers are preprints. Workshop proceedings will be published soon.

EDTBSTMESZCSTAuthors/Speakers Title
02:4507:4508:4514:45Haiming Liu, Massimo Melucci and Ingo FrommholzWelcome

Recording of talk
03:0008:0009:0015:00Carlos CastilloKeynote: Fairness and Transparency in Ranking

Recording of talk
03:4508:4509:4515:45Riccardo GuidottiInvited Talk: Explaining Explanation Methods

Recording of talk
04:3009:3010:3016:30Amit Kumar Jaiswal, Haiming Liu and Ingo FrommholzReinforcement Learning-driven Information Seeking: A Quantum Probabilistic Approach

Recording of talk
05:0010:0011:0017:00Steven Zimmerman, Stefan Herzog, Jon Chamberlain, David Elsweiler and Udo KruschwitzTowards a Framework for Harm Prevention in Web Search

Recording of talk
05:4510:4511:4517:45Kritika Agrawal and Vikram PudiTemporal Analysis of Scientific Literature to Find Grand Challenges and Saturated Problems

Recording of talk
06:0011:0012:0018:00Sehrish Sher Khan and Haiming LiuExploring the Impact on User Information Search Behaviour by Affective Design: An Eye-Tracking Study

Recording of talk
09:0014:0015:0021:00Nick BelkinKeynote: Challenges and Opportunities for IS, IR & DS in an Era of Information Ubiquity

Recording of talk
09:4514:4515:4521:45Xi NiuInvited Talk: Understanding Faceted Search from Information Retrieval, Information Science and Data Science Perspectives

Recording of talk
10:3015:3016:3022:30Hong Qing YuExtracting and Representing Causal Knowledge of Health Condition

Recording of talk
10:4515:4516:4522:45Tuomas Ketola and Thomas RoellekeBM25-FIC: Information Content-based Field Weighting for BM25F

Recording of talk
11:0016:0017:0023:00Mahmoud Artemi and Haiming LiuContent-based Image Search System Design for Capturing User Preferences during Query Formulation

Recording of talk
11:3016:3017:3023:30Massimo MelucciSome Reflections on the Use of Structural Equation Modeling for Investigating the Causal Relationships that Affect Search Engine Results

Recording of talk
12:0017:0018:0000:00Haiming Liu, Massimo Melucci and Ingo FrommholzClosing

Recording of talk


We will be running a workshop called BIRDS - Bridging the Gap between Information Science, Information Retrieval and Data Science - which aims to foster the cross-fertilization of Information Science (IS), Information Retrieval (IR) and Data Science (DS). Recognising the commonalities and differences between these communities, the full-day workshop will bring together experts and researchers in IS, IR and DS to discuss how they can learn from each other to provide more user-driven data and information exploration and retrieval solutions. Therefore, we welcome submissions conveying interdisciplinary ideas on how to utilise, for instance, IS concepts and theories in IR and/or DS approaches to support users in data and information access. BIRDS will be collocated with the 43rd International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR 2020) in Xi'an, China. The workshop will be held fully online all day on Thursday 30th July 2020.

We are pleased to announce Salton-award winner Nick Belkin and Carlos Castillo have agreed to provide keynote talks at the workshop. We are also pleased to have further invited talks by Riccardo Guidotti and Xi (Sunshine) Niu.

The overarching theme of the BIRDS workshop is to look at how Data Science (DS), Information Retrieval (IR) and Information Science (IS) can complement each other by applying a more holistic approach to these disciplines that go beyond traditional DS or IR or IS alone. Data Science, Information Retrieval and Information Science BIRDS aims at extending the scope of current research to provide a view on data and information in all its quantity and variety through investigating user preferences and interaction. The cross-fertilization of DS, IR and IS that we want to address in this workshop goes three ways. BIRDS will focus on the utilization of DS methodologies in IR and IS, e.g. by integrating data mining, database concepts, heterogeneous data, data analysis, exploration and visualization techniques to IR and IS. In addition, we will look at how user-oriented concepts and theories from IS, for instance, human-centric information seeking & searching, cognitive models (such as Information Foraging Theory or the Principle of Polyrepresentation), etc, can be applied to enhance and complement the data-driven approaches in DS and IR. Finally, we will also examine how IR models and theory can apply to IS and DS, e.g. by introducing the concepts of vagueness and uncertainty, inherent in many IR models, to DS and IS.

To this aim, relevant topics of the workshop will be, but are not limited to:

IS models and theory applied to IR and DS

  • User modelling
  • Information Foraging
  • Cognitive Models
  • Interactive information access and retrieval
  • User preference and behavior analysis
  • User-centric exploratory data analysis
  • Evaluation methods for exploratory search and data analysis
  • Social and collaborative information seeking
  • Bibliometric-enhanced scholarly IR and data search

DS models and theory applied to IR and IS

  • Interpretability and explainability in its user-centric application
  • User-oriented Machine Learning and Deep Learning
  • User-centric data visualization
  • User-centric data exploration and mining
  • Data analysis for evaluation

IR models and theory applied to IS and DS

  • Multimodal information discovery
  • Database - IR integration
  • Query languages
  • Formal models for interactive heterogeneous data and information discovery
  • Conversational data exploration
The target audience of the workshop are students, practitioners and researchers in DS, IR and IS, from academia and industry alike.


We welcome long and short papers as well as position papers. Authors of accepted papers will be invited to present their papers orally at the workshop. Please note BIRDS, like SIGIR 2020, will be fully online.

As we plan to publish the proceedings with CEUR Workshop Proceedings, all papers should be formatted in the Springer LNCS style. Please adhere to a page limit of 4-8 pages excluding references for position papers, 12 pages excluding references for long papers and 6 pages excluding references for short papers. Submissions will be peer-reviewed by at least three members of the programme committee.

To submit your paper, please use our Easychair submission link.

Important dates:

  • Submission Deadline: 21st June 2020 AoE
  • Notification: 11th July 2020
  • Camera-ready: 24th July 2020
If you have any further questions, please reach out via email to

Workshop Organizers

Programme Committee

  • Guillaume Cabanac, IRIT - Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse 3, France
  • Emanuele Di Buccio, University of Padua, Italy
  • Catherine Dumas, Simmons University, USA
  • Ed Fox, Virginia Tech, USA
  • Norbert Fuhr, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
  • Lorraine Goeuriot, Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, France
  • Joemon Jose, University of Glasgow, UK
  • Birger Larsen, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Philipp Mayr, GESIS, Germany
  • Thomas Roelleke, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
  • Ingo Schmitt, Technical University Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany
  • Sandro Sozzo, University of Leicester, UK
  • Tomás Veloz Gonzalez, DICTA, Chile
  • Hong Qing Yu, University of Bedfordshire, UK

Programme Chairs (Workshop Organisers)

The workshop is supported by the European Union ITN/ETN QUARTZ.