What is a “Gupf”?

The title of this blog is “Information Retrieval Gupf”.  I’ll wager that more than a few of you are wondering what a Gupf is.

Gupf is an Austrian slang/dialect form of the high German word “Gipfel”, which means “peak” or “summit”, as on a mountain.  My idea for naming the blog “Information Retrieval Gupf” was to have a place where interested researchers and search observers can gather, survey, and discuss information retrieval from a useful vantage point: somewhere tall where you can get a good overview of what is happening.

However, lest everyone think that this blog title is a bit too pretentious — as if I were saying that I am somehow more capable of leading expeditions to the peak than any of the dozens and hundreds of bloggers and researchers working in the information retrieval space — let me clarify the manner in which Gupf is used in daily Austrian language.  Gupf is almost always used in conjunction with the word “Schlagobers”, or whipped cream.  As in, “I’d like a gupf of whipped cream on my cocoa” or “This strudl would really go well with a gupf of whipped cream”.  

So if there is any peak onto which I claim to be leading any grand expeditions, the mountain underneath is naught but a bit of hot chocolate or pastry.  And even then, it is a tenuous and frothy peak, to be sure.  Then again, that is what information retrieval is.  The core concept in IR is relevance, which is essentially “what people want”.  And what could be more tenuous and frothy than that?

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6 Responses to What is a “Gupf”?

  1. Jeff says:

    Welcome! Glad to see you are blogging.

    It looks like you’re off to a great start. Two pieces of advice:

    1) Buy a domain name to go with your blog, it’s cheap and worth it.
    2) Change up the default WordPress theme to something less generic.

    Keep up the great writing.

  2. jeremy says:

    I did buy a domain. wiakli.net. Or are you saying that the domain should match the blog title, i.e. informationretrievalgupf.com?

    And yes, I’m looking into better themes. Do you have any suggestions? Or did you design your own?

  3. Jeff says:

    Yes, I would pick a domain that people knowing you by the name of your blog will remember, like ‘irgupf.com’ or ‘informationretrievalgupf.com’.

    I see you’ve already changed it; much improved.

    I don’t have a theme to suggest; I would probably create my own. That is, when I get off my butt and migrate off blogger. WordPress didn’t exist when I created my blog and I’ve been too lazy to switch.

  4. Perhaps you should have called it IRSchnitzel — the big all-encompassing substrate that is at the base of most document-related activity.

  5. jeremy says:

    I was also considering IR-Yodel — so that I could sing information retrieval from the mountaintops! 😉

  6. A blogger went yodelling on a mountain top high, when along came our Jeremy, interrupted his cry: Google-Ay-Ee-Oooo, Google-Ay-Ee-Oooo

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