Search Solutions 2022 Conference report. Part 2 The Afternoon Sessions and Awards

After lunch Farhad Shokraneh gave a quite impassioned paper about the problems that systematic searching gives rise to in a paper entitled ‘Futures of Systematic Searching’ in which the plural was not a spelling mistake! Farad started out describing the process of setting up a systematic review and the challenges of coping with a situation where the review process was in effect invalidated because of one or more research papers being published since the original scope of the review had been finalized. He emphasized that it was not just a matter of rerunning the search as more recent research might require the scope and strategy to be reconsidered. Another issue he mentioned when a machine learning routine decided to downgrade the relevance of papers that did not have an abstract. Farad concluded by presenting four versions of the future of systematic reviews. (See also )

Gavin Moore (University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust) continued the healthcare theme with an application that he and Andrew Doyle had developed to be able to store and search clinical guidelines. I know from a project I carried out a few years ago for a major hospital that this is far from a trivial challenge as there are both Trust and NHS wide guidelines which up until March 2022 were maintained by NICE. The solution was based on the Google app and was an excellent example of how a very effective search solution could be developed with very limited resources.

The final session of the day was on enterprise search, which started out with Cedric UImer and Julien Massiera giving a demonstration of integrating Spacy into the Datafari open source application to give an enhanced semantic search capability, including entity extraction and refinement. (See also

This was followed by Paul Lewis describing a project that he and his colleagues at Pureinsights were working on at the Publications Office of the European Commission. Currently this is working in just two languages (English and French) but in time will be expanded to most, if not all, of the official EU languages. What was notable about this implementation was the use of a knowledge graph developed out of the Oracle RDF repository, together with a quite complex content processing stack to deliver a very high-quality search experience. Both this presentation and the previous one from Datafari highlighted the move towards hybrid search applications built on a stack of individual components.

The conference concluded with a number of lightning presentations, each lasting five minutes, from Andy Neill and Richard Giazzi ( the Thompson Reuters HighQ deal support application), René Kreigler (OpenSource Connections) on the effective management of e-commerce search and Sean MacAvaney (University of Glasgow) on rethinking reranking. Cedric Ulmer reminded everyone of the four freedoms of open source software, namely the freedom to use, the freedom to distribute, the freedom to modify and the freedom to understand (exemplary documentation).

Next up were the Search Industry Awards, managed by Tony Russell-Rose.

The winners were

Best Search User Experience – Reza Rawassizadeh and Yi Rong working on ODSearch at Boston University

Most Promising Startup  Giotto – Matteo Caorsi  Chief Technology Officer

Search Professional of the Year Adam Tocock The Hillingdon Hospitals Library Services

Best paper at Search Solutions 2022 (voted by the audience) Filip Radinski, with Farad Shokraneh and Phil Lewis tied for second place

After a final informal panel session responding to some very challenging questions from the delegates the conference came to a close.

See here for Part 1

Martin White