Haystack Is Back! Go virtual for relevant search talks, workshops, discussions & training

When the COVID-19 crisis hit back in early March we were already planning our annual Haystack US conference – hoping to welcome 150 relevance specialists to Charlottesville in late April for a whole week of talks, social events and training. Like everyone, we’ve had to adjust our plans – but I’m very pleased to announce Haystack is back!

  • Starting from this Thursday 21st May, we’re running weekly Haystack LIVE Meetups featuring talks by speakers selected by our relevance community for this year’s conference program. The talks are free to attend on Zoom, at 10 a.m. EDT / 16.00 CET, limited to 100 people for now, but will also be streamed to our Youtube channel in case you can’t get in or want to watch later. Come and join the Meetup group – our first talk is from Alessandro Benedetti of Sease Ltd., (recently invited to become a Solr Committer), on “How to Build your Training Set for a Learning to Rank Project”. Huge thanks to all our speakers for helping us put together this programme.

  • We’ve got together with the organisers of two other events threatened with cancellation to put on a whole week of online talks, panel discussions, workshops and social events – the best of what was planned for Berlin Buzzwords, Haystack and MICES. The combined event will run from June 7th (usually from 10 a.m. EDT / 16.00 CET) and the full programme is now available. There’s several tracks of talks – and for search engine enthusiasts there’s lots of interesting & useful content every single day that week, with speakers from organisations including Wikipedia and NASA, experts on tap including our own Doug Turnbull and Trey Grainger of Lucidworks and chances to discuss topics around AI-powered search, diversity of results and open source tools for ecommerce search tuning. The Berlin Buzzwords team are putting together an awesome virtual platform for the event and we’re very much looking forward to it! Tickets are only 49 Euros and available now. OSC are also sponsoring the event as we think it’s really important to support our communities & events at the moment – especially those larger events such as Berlin Buzzwords who have been severely affected by the crisis.

  • If you were interested in the 2 day training sessions we’d usually run the week of Haystack, we’ve now reworked our materials, labs and timetables to offer all of these online over 4 half days (timed to be available in both the USA and Europe). We’ve now run two very successful Think Like a Relevance Engineer (TLRE) courses and more are on the way – check out the full timetable of our planned trainings. We’ve got other training offerings in the works too including ‘Basics’ short courses and Ecommerce Search for Product Managers on Friday 12th June (part of the combined Buzzwords/Haystack/MICES week above). If these course timings don’t work for your team we can also deliver them privately.

So although it’s sad not to see you all in Charlottesville this year, in the meantime we’ll give you the best chance we can to join and participate in our search & relevance community, learn from the experience of others, develop your skills and empower your search teams. As ever, if there’s anything else we can do to help let us know.