CHAPEL HILL - Dr. Diane Kelly, associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science (SILS), has been selected to receive the prestigious British Computer Society (BCS) BCS Information Retrieval Specialist Group (BCS IRSG) Karen Spärck-Jones Award 2012. The award will be presented in Moscow during the annual European Conference on Information Retrieval 2013 held March 24-28.

The BCS/BCS-IRSG created the annual award to honor and commemorate Karen Spärck Jones, a champion of bringing women into the world of computing. Her main research interests focused on information retrieval (IR) and natural language processing. Passionate about her goal, she once said, "My slogan is: 'Computing is too important to be left to men. I think women bring a different perspective to computing; they are more thoughtful and less inclined to go straight for technical fixes. My belief is that, intellectually, computer science is fascinating - you're trying to make things that don't exist."

According to the BCS/BCS-IRSG Web site, the award is meant to “encourage and promote talented researchers who have endeavoured to advance our understanding of Information Retrieval and/or Natural Language Processing with significant experimental contributions.”
“In making the BCS/ BCS IRSG Karen Spärck-Jones Award for 2012, the Panel strongly recognizes that Diane has made important contributions to:

“The analysis of information seeking behaviors, and to the development of new experimental methods and systems to support information seeking and analysis.

“Diane has made several other important contributions to user modeling using implicit indicators of relevance, the development and analysis of interfaces to elicit richer statements of interest, and new methodologies for designing and evaluating interactive retrieval systems. Her strong user-oriented work views users-as-people with cognitive tasks,” said Ayse Goker, chair of the Award Panel and senior lecturer at the Department of Information Science, City University London, United Kingdom, and School of Computing, Robert Gordon University.

“I am extremely honored to have been selected for this award which is named for one of my information retrieval research heroines who made so many important contributions to IR,” said Kelly. “All of these people [on the award panel] who I have admired for so long have chosen me as the recipient of this award. It is really unbelievable and moving.”

The members of the Award Panel were (in alphabetical surname order):

·         Pia Borlund, Royal School of Library and Information Science, Aalborg East, Denmark.

·         Ann Copestake, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

·         Susan Dumais, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research, Redmond, USA.

·         Robert Gaizauskas, Department of Computer Science, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.

·         Ayse Goker, Department of Information Science, City University London, United Kingdom, and School of Computing, Robert Gordon University.

·         Stephen Robertson, Microsoft Research Cambridge, United Kingdom.

·         Tomek Strzalkowski, Institute for Informatics, Logics & Security Studies University at Albany, SUNY, United States of America.



Wanda Monroe

Director of Communications

School of Information and Library Science

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

108 Manning Hall, CB#3360

Chapel Hill, NC  27599-3360


Follow us on Twitter at UNCSILS

Like us on Facebook at