Elizabeth Churchill

Monday, March 20th, 9 am

Title: Veracity, viewpoints, and vacancies: stories of knowledge gathering, compilation, and sharing.

Abstract: In his recent New Yorker article, science fiction author Ted Chiang questioned the furor about ChatGPT being a tectonic shift in how we think about search.

Responding to the overhype surrounding ChatGPT’s release, he offers a provocative analogy where he compares ChatGPT to a “blurry JPEG” of the web. He makes the point that there is a difference between asking for “facts” as we do in classic search tasks with search engines and an assembled information precis in the form of a short essay based on available information.

In this talk, I will share some personal observations about search, information seeking and exploration, and knowledge development and sharing. I will share examples from prior work on content production and annotation and on social and collaborative information search in a number of domains, and will reflect on the future of information seeking and creative decision making in the evolving landscape of AI enhanced information exploration.

Bio: Elizabeth Churchill is a Senior Director of UX at Google where she leads UX for Fuchsia, a next generation operating system. She is also co-chair of Google’s UX Leadership Council and a co-founder of Google’s UX Research Steering Committee. With a background in psychology, Artificial Intelligence, and Cognitive Science, she draws on social, computer, engineering, and data sciences to create innovative designer, developer and end-user applications and services. She has built research and design teams at Google, eBay, Yahoo, PARC, and FujiXerox.

Elizabeth holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and honorary doctorates from the University of Sussex and the University of Stockholm. She is a member of the Association for Computer Machinery’s (ACM) CHI Academy, is an ACM Fellow, Distinguished Scientist, and an ACM Distinguished Speaker. She served as the ACM’s Executive Vice President for 2 years, from 2018-2020. Elizabeth has published over 200 articles in peer reviewed journals, in conferences, and in magazines. She has also co-edited 5 books on various topics and has co-authored 2 books (Foundations for Designing User Centered Systems, and Designing with Data). Elizabeth is a visiting professor at Imperial College’s Dyson School of Design Engineering in London, and is an advisory board member for the Flickr Foundation and for the Pardee RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica, California. She was recently appointed to be a Co-Editor in Chief of ACM’s Interactions magazine, the foremost publication in all applied research related to human computer interaction (HCI) and user experience (UX). In 2016, she received a Citris-Banatao Institute Award Athena Award for Women in Technology for her Executive Leadership. She has been named one of the top women leaders in UX over the last several years.

J. Stephen Downie

Tuesday, March 21th, 8:30 am

Title: Why We Retrieve: An (Im)precise Recalling of 30 Years Leading from Behind

Abstract: In 1993, Jean Tague-Sutcliffe, Shane Dunne and I published, “Name that Tune! An Introduction to Musical Information Retrieval.” This was my first peer-reviewed academic paper, thus making 2023 a semi-interesting personal career odometer milestone. Over the years, I was fortunate to work in the area of Music Information Retrieval (MIR) at the time when the field was emerging and its technology was mostly an imagining of future vapourware. As an anyone with access to a web browser or Spotify can attest, MIR is no longer imaginary nor vapourware, but has become big—and ever bigging—business. Over the years, MIR technology complexity and capabilities grew at such an astonishing tempo that was next to impossible to keep up. Not being terribly technologically talented, my MIR oeuvre has mostly focused on evaluation, broadly defined. Because old-school MIR was relatively simple, I was able to help establish the Music Information Retrieval Evaluation eXchange (MIREX) in 2004 which ran continuously until 2019. Through MIREX and the opportunities it afforded me to orchestrate interactions with veritable virtuosos of music and IR, I came to appreciate just how much I did not understand about Information Retrieval (IR) and its ever-evolving themes. Fast forward to 2012 which finds me in a leadership role with the then-new HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC). At HTRC, along with an ensemble of excellent colleagues, I have conducted IR research pitched at helping students and scholars analyze the vast HathiTrust corpus. Again, this work has raised new questions about what it was we were truly trying to retrieve and for what ultimate uses and users. Not to give too much away in this abstract, but my talk will reflect on some key similarities between the MIR and HTRC retrieval tasks, including ruminations on collection vs. item retrieval, hedonistic vs. ASK-motivated searching, content vs. genre-based retrieval goals, and the roles of metadata, automation, and human-centered search strategies. All of these things are discussed in a probably vain attempt to answer the age-old questions: Why do we IR researchers work so hard to do what we do? What more needs to be done? What does success really look like? How will we know if we have achieved success? And, of course, when we are all done, will there be cake?

Bio: J. Stephen Downie is the Associate Dean for Research and a Professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Downie is the Illinois Co-Director of the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC). Downie is the leader of the Hathitrust + Bookworm (HT+BW) text analysis project that is creating tools to visualize the evolution of term usage over time. Professor Downie represented the HTRC on the NOVEL(TM) text mining project and the Single Interface for Music Score Searching and Analysis (SIMSSA) project, both funded by the SSHRC Partnership Grant programme. Professor Downie is a Co-PI on the Mellon-funded Scholar-Curated Worksets for Analysis, Reuse & Dissemination (SCWAReD) project at HTRC. All of these aforementioned projects share a common thread of striving to provide large-scale analytic access to copyright-restricted cultural data. Dr. Downie has been very active in the establishment of the Music Information Retrieval (MIR) community through his ongoing work with the International Society for Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR) conferences. He was ISMIR’s founding President and recently served on the ISMIR board. Professor Downie holds a BA (Music Theory and Composition) along with a Master’s and a PhD in Library and Information Science, all earned at the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.