SIGIR 2011 Information Retrieval for
E-Discovery (SIRE) Workshop

July 28, 2011, Beijing, China

Purpose | Background | Agenda | Papers | References
Related Events | Important Dates | Organizers | Program Committee | Archived Materials


Electronic discovery ("e-discovery") is the use of Information Retrieval (IR) technology to find evidence requested by a party in a legal matter. This application of IR has grown explosively in recent years. The SIRE workshop will provide a forum for discussion of IR techniques that have or that could be applied to e-discovery, as well as methods for evaluating the effectiveness and cost of such approaches.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:


Information retrieval is a key technology for e-discovery, but there are few opportunities for IR researchers and e-discovery practitioners to meet. The TREC Legal Track is limited to groups participating in those evaluations. The four DESI (Discovery of Electronically Stored Information) workshops have brought together people from the law and the e-discovery industry with researchers, but IR research is only one part of the issues addressed there. SIGIR is, therefore, an ideal place to focus on the intersection between IR research and e-discovery. The vast majority of e-discovery spending occurs in the USA. However, interest in IR for e-discovery is worldwide. Multinational companies in any country may become involved in US court cases, and the laws on discovery are evolving in many countries in ways informed by the US experience. Moreover, some IR issues that are central to e-discovery are also important in other domains, including enterprise search, law enforcement and historical research.

Interest on both the legal and IR sides has climbed steadily for years, but only recently have the key IR research questions come into clear focus. The TREC evaluations, along with high profile studies from the Electronic Discovery Institute and others, have shown the great potential for text retrieval and categorization in e-discovery, and have highlighted the challenges that arise when demands for high recall collide with document diversity and poor inter-reviewer agreement.


The final schedule is now available. The first session will lay out the nature of e-discovery, thus making the workshop accessible to SIGIR attendees with no prior e-discovery experience. A keynote talk will be followed by a panel discussion including senior e-discovery experts. The second session will then focus on IR techniques. The third session, after lunch, will focus on evaluation. In both cases, the goal will be to dive deeply into specific issues. The fourth session will feature a moderated panel discussion focused on crafting a research agenda. The goal will be to identify key issues, venues for action, communities to engage with, and support to seek.

Papers by Workshop Participants

Additional References

Much has been published on e-discovery generally, so no list of references could hope to be complete. Here are a few papers that we know of that we believe would be useful as background reading for the focus of this workshop. Please send recommended additions for this list to If you don't have online access to a document, the author may be able to send you a copy.

Related Events

Important Dates


Jason R. Baron, National Archives and Records Administration, USA
Dave Lewis, David D. Lewis Consulting, USA
Maura R. Grossman, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz, USA
Douglas W. Oard, University of Maryland, USA

Program Committee

Archived Materials

Two types of written contributions were invited:
Last Update: June 30, 2011