KARS 2017

1st International Workshop on
Keyword-based Access and Ranking at Scale

co-located with 20th EDBT/ICDT 2017 Joint Conference
21 March 2017, Venice, Italy



Keyword search is the foremost approach for searching information and it has been successfully applied for retrieving non-structured documents such as text and multimedia files. Nonetheless, retrieving information from (unstructured or semi-structured) documents is intrinsically different from querying structured data sources with either an explicit schema, as relational databases or triple stores, or an implicit one, as tables in textual documents and on the Web. Consequently this model has left out the structured data sources which are typically accessed through structured queries, e.g. Structured Query Language (SQL) queries over relational databases or SPARQL Protocol and RDF Query Language (SPARQL) queries over Linked Data graphs.

Structured queries are not end-user oriented and far away from a natural expression of users’ information needs by means of keywords, given that their formulation is based on a quite complex syntax and requires some knowledge about the structure of the data to be queried. Over the past several years, these facts triggered the research community and big data technology vendors to put a lot of effort into developing new approaches for keyword search over structured databases and it is still a primary research and industrial concern.

The aim of this multidisciplinary workshop is to bring together researchers from Databases, Information Retrieval, Natural Language Processing, Semantic Web, Human-Computer Interaction, and to combine their perspectives and research to address the above-mentioned issues.

In particular, we wish to encourage researchers to discuss the opportunities, challenges, results obtained in the development and evaluation of “complete”, “ready-to-market” keyword search applications over structured data. We are in particular interested in proposal dealing with systemic approaches which manage all the phases of the keyword search, from the management of the data, query formulation, interpretation, computation, ranking and visualization of the results, as well as rigorous evaluation methodologies for such systems.

We invite papers from researchers and practitioners working in relational databases, XML, RDF, Linked Open Data, information extraction, natural language processing, data warehouses, and related areas to submit their original papers to this workshop.

Important Dates

Submission deadline: November 14, 2016

Notification of acceptance: December 20, 2016

Camera ready: January 15, 2017

Workshop day: March 21, 2017

Call for Position Papers

General areas of interests include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Keyword search on large graphs and knowledge bases
  • Keyword search on XML data, RDF data, and Linked Open Data
  • Keyword search on relational databases and data warehouses
  • Keyword search semantics
  • Conversational and spoken queries over structured data
  • Learning to rank approaches for keyword search
  • Integration of keyword search with other kinds of search tasks, e.g. unstructured search, multimedia search, semi-structured search, and more
  • User interaction with keyword search systems
  • Visualizations and user interfaces for keyword search query formulation and result presentation
  • Keyword search for data integration
  • Exploratory search and informative queries over keyword search
  • Web tables extraction and search
  • Highly scalable techniques, algorithms and data structures for keyword search
  • Computational complexity of keyword search algorithms
  • Semantic similarity, management, disambiguation and indexing
  • Ranking schemes
  • Top-K query processing
  • Result snippet generation
  • Result clustering
  • Handling vagueness in users’ information needs
  • Query formulation, suggestion, and expansion
  • Query cleaning
  • User preferences and feedback
  • Handling data uncertainty in keyword search
  • Experimental evaluation: efficiency, effectiveness, effort, time-aware, user models, user satisfaction, and more
  • Shared benchmarks and infrastructures for comparative keyword search evaluation
  • Measures and analysis methods for keyword search evaluation
  • Challenges in application domains of keyword search: product search, government, health and drugs, scientific data and publications, finance, and more

Papers should be formatted according to the ACM SIG Proceedings Template.

Papers should be two-four pages (maximum) in length.

Papers will be peer-reviewed by members of the program committee through single-blind peer review, i.e. authors do *not* need to be anonymized. Selection will be based on originality, clarity, and technical quality. Papers should be submitted in PDF format to the following address:


Accepted papers will be published online as a volume of the CEUR-WS proceeding series.


Nicola Ferro, University of Padua, Italy

Francesco Guerra, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy

Zachary Ives, University of Pennsylvania, PA, USA

Gianmaria Silvello, University of Padua, Italy

Martin Theobald, Ulm University, Germany

Program Committee

Maristella Agosti, University of Padua, Italy

Sihem Amer-Yahia, University of Grenoble, France

Klaus Berberich, Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Germany

Vassilis Christophides, FORTH/ICS and University of Crete, Greece

Fabio Crestani, University of Lugano (USI), Switzerland

Arjen de Vries, Radboud University, The Netherlands

Norbert Fuhr, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Paul Groth, Elsevier Labs, The Netherlands

Claudia Hauff, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Vagelis Hristidis, UC Riverside, USA

Mihai Lupu, Vienna University of Technology, Austria

Kjetil Nørvåg, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway

Paolo Papotti, Qatar Computing Research Institute, Qatar

Raffaele Perego, ISTI-CNR, Pisa, Italy

Thomas Roelleke, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Ralf Schenkel, University of Trier, Germany

Tobias Schreck, Graz University of Technology, Austria

Letizia Tanca, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Yannis Velegrakis, University of Trento, Italy

Keynote Talk

Tommaso Di Noia

Electrical & Information Engineering Department, Polytechnic University of Bari, Italy

Tommaso Di Noia


Tommaso Di Noia is Associate Professor at Polytechnic University of Bari, Italy. Currently, his main research topics deal with Linked Open Data and how to leverage the knowledge encoded in Big Data datasets in order to develop content-based/collaborative/context-aware recommendation engines (recommender systems). Strongly related to this latter research topic is the analysis and modeling of User Profiles in Information Retrieval scenarios. As for Linked Open Data, he is interested in the whole process of production, publication, maintenance and exploitation of the ultimate technological solutions for Open Data.

From text to knowledge graphs to recommender systems

With the emergence of the so called knowledge graphs, a new player arrived in the information arena. As as of today, we have got used to search engines able to semantically disambiguate (sequences of) keywords and map them to their private knowledge graphs in order to show augmented search results.
Actually, due to huge quantity of information they usually encode, knowledge graphs may have a key role in many knowledge and data intensive applications. Among them, more recently, personalised filtering and recommending are gaining momentum as tools able to suggest to the users entities they might be interested in thus helping them to find items best matching their preferences. In this talk we will show and discuss results and challenges in designing and developing recommendation engines fed by knowledge graphs.


14:15-14:25 - Opening and Welcome
14:25-15:25 - Keynote with Prof. Tommaso Di Noia, Polytechnic University of Bari
15:25-15:45 - Paper Session

Challenges for industrial-strength Information Retrieval on Databases   

Roberto Cornacchia, Michiel Hildebrand, and Frank Dorssers
15:45-16:15 - Coffee Break
16:15-17:15 - Paper Session

Close and Loose Associations in Keyword Search from Structural Data   

Johanna Vainio, Marko Junkkari, and Jaana Kekäläinen

Towards open-source shared implementations of keyword-based access systems to relational data   

Alex Badan, Luca Benvegnù, Matteo Biasetton, Giovanni Bonato, Alessandro Brighente, Alberto Cenzato, Piergiorgi o Ceron, Giovanni Cogato, Stefano Marchesin, Alberto Minetto, Leonardo Pellegrina, Alberto Purpura, Riccardo Simionato, Nicolò Soleti, Matteo Tessarotto, Andrea Tonon, Federico Vendramin, and Nicola Ferro

eSPAK: Top-k Spatial Keyword Query Processing in Directed Road Networks   

Muhammad Attique, Awais Khan, and Tae-Sun Chung
17:15-17:45 - Wrap Up, Discussion and Closing

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