SIGIR 2004
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The University of Sheffield
  Sheffield, July 25-29

Call For Papers

Papers | Mentoring Program | Posters | Tutorials | Doctoral Consortium | Demonstrations | Workshops

Final Call For Papers

SIGIR 2004

Twenty-Seventh Annual International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval

July 25 - 29, 2004 Sheffield, UK

Organized by The University of Sheffield and ACM

Deadline for submissions: January 26, 2004

SIGIR is the major international forum for the presentation of new research results and for the demonstration of new systems and techniques in the broad field of information retrieval (IR). The Conference and Program Chairs invite all those working in areas related to IR to submit original research contributions, posters, and proposals for tutorials, workshops, and demonstrations of systems.


SIGIR 2004 welcomes contributions related to any aspect of IR, but the major areas of interest are listed below. For each general area, two to four area coordinators will guide the reviewing process.

  • Formal Models, Language Models, Fusion/Combination

  • Text Representation and Indexing, XML and Metadata

  • Performance, Compression, Scalability, Architectures, Mobile Applications

  • Web IR, Intranet/Enterprise Search, Citation and Link Analysis, Digital Libraries, Distributed IR

  • Cross-language Retrieval, Multilingual Retrieval, Machine Translation for IR

  • Video and Image Access, Audio and Speech Retrieval, Music Retrieval

  • Machine Learning for IR, Text Data Mining, Clustering, Text Categorization

  • Topic Detection and Tracking, Content-Based Filtering, Collaborative Filtering, Agents

  • Summarization, Question Answering, Natural Language Processing for IR, Information Extraction, Lexical Acquisition

  • Interfaces, Visualization, Interactive IR, User Models, User Studies

  • Specialized Applications of IR, including Genomic IR, IR in Software Engineering, and IR for Chemical Structures

  • Evaluation, Building Test Collections, Experimental Design and Metrics

Area Co-Ordinators

Important Dates

Submission guidelines

Authors are invited to submit research papers, not exceeding 5000 words, representing original, previously unpublished work, on or before January 26, 2004. Papers must be submitted electronically, via the submission web page.


Travel to Sheffield

Conference Committee

Please note that the submission deadline for papers has now passed. No more submissions will be accepted.

Call For Papers For Mentoring Program

If you would like help with your SIGIR 2004 submission, you may ask for a mentor. A mentor is a person who will help you with your submission to the SIGIR audience through one-on-one advising, usually via e-mail. A mentor can also familiarize you with the standards and deadlines of SIGIR submissions. Mentors are volunteers familiar with successful submissions.

Mentors may be available for both full papers and posters. To request a mentor, please send email to Please include a description of your work (an abstract is a minimum requirement), an indication of whether you are presently planning a full paper or a poster, and any specific questions or areas in which you would like help.

If you wish to ask for a mentor, we strongly encourage you to contact us before the November 14, 2003 deadline. A mentor's feedback will be most useful to you if it is early enough to influence the way you focus your work, not just the way you write it up for the conference. Reasonable expectations for a mentor might include giving advice as to the most appropriate forum for you work, suggesting improvements to your submission, suggesting how to deal with language problems or referring you to relevant research of which you might not have been aware. Typically, a mentor might spend 3-7 hours on a submission. We carefully match mentors to mentees, and wish to support you in getting your work focused into a high quality submission with a good chance of being accepted and published.

Please note that the deadline for the mentoring program has now passed. No more submissions will be accepted.

Call For Posters

Poster presentations offer researchers an opportunity to present late-breaking results, significant work in progress, or research that is best communicated in an interactive or graphical format. Two-page abstracts of posters will appear in the conference proceedings. A poster proposal is an extended abstract (of 2 pages maximum in SIGIR format) that emphasizes the research problem and the methods being used. As for research papers, authors are encouraged to conceal their identity where it is practical to do so. Poster proposals must be submitted by February 27, 2004. They must be submitted electronically via the submission web page.

We can accept poster proposals in either PDF or Postscript. It is the responsibility of authors to ensure that their poster proposals use no unusual format features and are printable on a standard Postscript printer. Hardcopy or electronic copy in other formats will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances. To arrange hardcopy or alternative format submission, please email the Poster Chair Gareth Jones All authors, even those who choose to submit hardcopy, must complete the details on the submission web page.

LaTeX and Word templates for SIGIR submissions are available from the ACM Website.

Call For Tutorial Proposals

SIGIR 2003 will begin with a full day of tutorials, each of which should cover a single topic in detail. Proposals are solicited for tutorials of either a half day (3 hours plus breaks) or full day (6 hours plus breaks). Submissions should be made to the Tutorials Chair and should include a cover sheet and an extended abstract. The cover sheet should specify: (1) the length of the tutorial; (2) the intended audience (introductory, intermediate, advanced); (3) complete contact information for the contact person and other presenters; and (4) a brief biography (max. 2 paragraphs) for each presenter. The extended abstract should be 3 to 5 pages, and should include an outline of the tutorial, along with descriptions of the course objectives and course materials.

Tutorial proposals must be sent via email by February 27, 2004, to Fabio Crestani (

Call For Papers For Doctoral Consortium


The main idea of the Consortium is to give Doctoral students the opportunity to discuss their PhD thesis proposal with experienced IR researchers and other Doctoral students. The objectives of the Doctoral Consortium are:

  • To provide a forum where Doctoral students can discuss their proposal with experienced IR researchers (members of Doctoral Consortium Program Committee) and other students
  • To give students an opportunity to interact one-on-one with experienced IR researchers.
  • To give students an opportunity to establish a supportive community of other students at the same stage as themselves.
The Consortium will take place on the same day as the Tutorials Day, with the format: student presentations with plenary discussions, lunch, individual meetings with experienced researchers, and dinner.

Prospective student attendees should have written, or be close to completing, a thesis proposal. Please discuss this with your PhD advisor/supervisor to ensure you meet this criterion.

Attendance at the Doctoral Consortium will be based on a written paper, which will be reviewed by members of the Doctoral Consortium Program Committee (hereafter Committee). Accepted papers will be distributed through a special SIGIR Consortium website, accessible to the Committee and student invitees only. The accepted papers will be read prior to the Consortium by both Committee and student attendees, and will be presented by the student at the Consortium. The full papers will not be formally published in the SIGIR Conference Proceedings; the abstracts will be published in the SIGIR Conference Proceedings.

Papers must be submitted electronically, via the submission web page. We can accept papers in either PDF or Postscript. It is the responsibility of authors to ensure that their papers use no unusual format features and are printable on a standard Postscript printer. PDF or Postscript submissions must arrive by February 27, 2004.

Content guidelines

Clearly, the topic of the proposed PhD thesis should be within the field of Information Retrieval, as described in the SIGIR 2004 Call for Papers. We expect all Consortium papers will be single author papers, i.e. authored by the student wishing to attend the Consortium.

Your paper will be the basis for detailed discussions at the Consortium, and to get the most out of the discussion of your paper should include the following: motivation for the proposed research, background and related work (with key references), description of proposed research including main research questions, research methodology and proposed experiments (where appropriate), and particular issues which you want to highlight for discussion. You should also consider the content guidelines for SIGIR papers, which distinguish between different kinds of IR research, when preparing your Consortium paper.

In addition, a one page Appendix to the paper should include the following: a detailed statement by the student saying why he/she wants to attend the Consortium; a description of the (IR) research group in which you work (including numbers of faculty and graduate students); and a statement by your advisor/supervisor saying how you would benefit by attending the Consortium. Advisors should also state that the student has written, or is close to completing, a thesis proposal (or equivalent). These statements should be placed in an Appendix after the references.

All papers will be reviewed with respect to overall quality of presentation, the potential for future impact of the proposed PhD research on the field of Information Retrieval, and the likely benefit to the student of attending the Consortium. Given that the abstract will be published, the abstract will be critically reviewed.

You are permitted, and indeed encouraged, to submit a full SIGIR paper or poster on your research. However, attendance at the Consortium will be based solely on the paper you submit for the Consortium.


Effectively, the same format is used for Consortium papers as for full SIGIR papers. LaTeX and Word templates for SIGIR submissions are available from the ACM Website. The first page must contain the title of the paper, full author name, affiliation and contact details, and an abstract of not more than 150 words, and up to 3 topic areas. The papers will be reviewed by the members of the Doctoral Consortium Program Committee. Papers should contain up to 2,500 words (with a minimum of 1200 words), should have wide margins, and font sizes must be 10 point or greater. The final version of the paper will have to fit within 2-4 double-column pages in the standard SIGIR format, including all figures and bibliography, so plan accordingly. The Appendix containing the statements by the student and advisor will not be included in the final paper. All correspondence with the author will be through email.

All Consortium paper submissions must include a set of ACM Computing Reviews categories and keywords that describe the contents of the paper. These categories and keywords must appear after the Abstract and before the Introduction. Information about selecting and formatting categories and keywords can be found in ACM Web pages on how to use the computing classification system and in the LaTeX and Word templates.

Essentially, the format for Consortium papers follows almost exactly that for full papers, and provides useful experience in preparing papers for the SIGIR Conference. Note, the accepted papers will not be published in the SIGIR Conference Proceedings; only the abstracts will be published.


The members of the Doctoral Consortium Program Committee are: Nick Belkin (Rutgers University, USA), Bruce Croft (U. Massachusetts, USA), Susan Dumais (Microsoft Research, Redmond, USA), Elizabeth Liddy (U. Syracuse, USA), Yoelle Maarek (IBM Research, Israel), Alistair Moffat (U. Melbourne, Australia), Doug Oard (U. Maryland, USA), Keith van Rijsbergen (U. Glasgow, UK), and Steve Robertson (Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK). They will attend the Consortium.

The Consortium Chair is David Harper (The Robert Gordon University, UK) who can be emailed at

We are currently looking into providing travel support for students attending the Consortium, although we cannot guarantee any support at this time. We will put details here when available.

Call For Demonstration Proposals

Demonstrations can offer first-hand experience with Information Retrieval systems, whether advanced operational systems or research prototypes. A demonstration proposal should indicate how the demonstration illustrates new ideas, should provide the technical specifications of the system and should include references to other literature. Demonstrations which will involve the use of non-standard hardware, e.g. context-aware mobile systems or virtual reality systems, should include a short statement of how the system will be demonstrated at the conference. A one-page abstract describing each accepted demonstration will be published in the proceedings. A demonstration proposal is an one-page extended abstract that must be submitted electronically, via the submission web page. Demonstration proposals must be submitted by February 27, 2004.

We can accept demonstration proposals in either PDF or Postscript. It is the responsibility of authors to ensure that their proposals use no unusual format features and are printable on a standard Postscript printer. LaTeX and Word templates for SIGIR submissions are available from the ACM Website.

The hardware, software, and network requirements should be indicated in a separate email to the demonstrations chair: Ian Ruthven ( Any queries regarding demonstration proposals should be mailed to the demonstrations chair.

Call For Workshop Proposals

Proposals are solicited for one-day workshops to be held on July 29, 2004, the last day of the conference. The purpose of these workshops is to provide a platform for presenting novel ideas in a less formal and possibly more focused way than the conference itself. As such, they also offer a good opportunity for young researchers to present their work and to obtain feedback from an interested community. The format of each workshop is to be determined by the organisers, but it is expected that they contain ample time for general discussion.

Researchers and practitioners from all segments of the information retrieval community are invited to submit proposals for review. The organisers of approved workshops are expected to define the workshop's focus, gather and review submissions, and decide upon final program content. They may elect to form organising or program committees for assistance in these tasks. After the workshop, organizers are required to provide an article for the SIGIR Forum summarizing the workshop.

Submissions describing proposed workshops (up to 1,000 words) should include the theme and goal of the workshop, planned activities, the maximum number of participants, the selection process for participants, and a list of potential participants. The submission should include a one-paragraph CV for each organizer, describing relevant qualifications and experience.

Workshop proposals must be sent by email to the Workshops Chair, Mounia Lalmas ( by February 27, 2004.

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