Keynote for IR4U2 @ ECIR 2024

Slide on Advancing Vision from IR4U2 talk.

These are the resources for my keynote talk, “To Serve Whom and How? Provocations on the Political and Ethical Foundations of Access to Information Access”, at the IR4U2 workshop at ECIR 2024.


Enabling broader access to information access technologies and their resulting benefits for acquiring, updating, and disseminating knowledge is a vital project for both research and industrial development. In this talk, I take up the complex and multifaceted question of why we might pursue this goal: What is the ultimate purpose of enabling such access? What ethical principles may motivate that goal or specific efforts in its pursuit? What theory of change or political vision is assumed by such efforts? What technological, informational, political, and economic systems are users brought into as their information access is enhanced? What are these users’ roles relative to other actors in the sociotechnical milieu in which information retrieval operates?

I argue that these questions have significant implications for when and how we work to enable more universal information access, and how we define and evaluate success in that quest. My goal with this talk is to promote discussion of the questions, goals, and assumptions underlying the kinds of work presented at IR4U2 and elsewhere, and the consequences these underlying and sometimes unstated factors have for research, development, and society.


Also available on YouTube or as an edited transcript.


Resources and Works Cited

Q&A Papers

In the Q&A, we also discussed these works: