A tale of two search conferences

SIGIR (put on by the ACM Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval) is a venerable academic conference on the topic of using queries to find documents. I say “venerable” because this group and its conference long predates the Web (this year’s annual conference is the 29th!) , and therefore started in a time when only the elite had any way to query anything at all, and the document repositories were pretty academic in nature (and very well-behaved – no spammers in those libraries). As you can imagine though, the Wild Wild Web is now a big focus – if you want to write an academic paper on web search, SIGIR is one of the two obvious publication venues (the other being WWW).

SES (Search Engine Strategies) is the websearch conference run by Danny Sullivan and Search Engine Watch – its focus is biz, not academia, and instead of being for search engineers or the searchers, it’s primarily for the searchees – webmasters, publishers and Search Engine Optimizers who would like to be found where the users are looking. It’s also a good place for industrial web search engines to talk to publishers and get feedback.

Now, wouldn’t it be nice if the academic types and the business types were mingling a little bit? Well, it won’t be happening in August 2006, because SIGIR and SES are scheduled for the same week (SIGIR in Seattle, and SES in San Jose).

Since I sit right between the theorists and the marketers, my personal resolution to this problem is to catch the first three days of SES (8/7-8/9) where I’ll be doing one panel (Duplicate Content) and probably hanging out at a rumored Y! party on 8/7. Then I’m heading to SIGIR just for the AIRWeb search-engine spam workshop on Thursday 8/10 (which I’ve blogged about before). Drop me a note if you’ll be at either show and want to talk about web search or web spam (tim underscore converse at yahoo dot com).

(Update: Oooh, just learned that I’ll be sharing panel-space and breathing panel-air with no less than Matt Cutts himself! I’m excited. (If you don’t know who Matt Cutts is, well, he’s practically the Matt Cutts of Google, which is a very important job as you can imagine. 🙂 )

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