Who can submit to the COLT Bibliography

Everybody actively working in the field of computational learning theory, algorithmic learning theory and/or foundations of machine learning can submit her/his entries. Emphasis is put on papers relevant to computational learning theory, which for us means the study of the computational complexity of well-defined learning problems. Thus we are talking algorithms, data structures, analysis of time and storage, lower and upper bounds, etc. We interpret relevance in a rather broad sense, although we prefer that references from cognate areas (such as statistics, recursion theory, psychology of learning, etc.) emphasize books or survey articles rather than individual papers, and that these be included only if they would be referenced by several different papers in the bibliography.

In the end, your judgement as a working researcher decides what is relevant and worth inclusion. (A pragmatic test: have you cited or would you cite the item in your own papers?)

Future maintenance is easiest if you include only papers which are "stable"; i.e. published and openly available at least in the form of a numbered techreport, and preferably in a conference proceedings. However, it is okay to include preprints too. If the paper is slated to appear somewhere else, that information can usefully annotate the entry for an existing appearance.

Mary-Claire van Leunen's book A Handbook for Scholars (Knopf, New York, 1979) suggests that for utmost scholarship nothing short of the original title page should be trusted:

"To write a reference, you must have the work you're referring to in front of you.... The temptation to write a reference without having the work before you will be powerful. Resist it. A vague recollection is worthless; a vivid recollection is probably the result of your imagination --- ingenious, no doubt, but of little use to your reader. Don't rely on your memory.... If you must not rely on your own memory, even less should you rely on someone else's. If your only access to a reference is through a secondary source, then you must refer to the secondary source as well as the primary one."

We are less concerned with the sheer volume of what you add to the bibliography than with its accuracy and relevance. But please bear in mind that there is a minimum overhead of at least an hour to process each submission in the merging process, making larger submissions more efficient than tiny ones. Coordinating your changes with those of other colleagues, grad students, and so on at your site before sending is greatly appreciated. We are always open to suggestions on how to capture data with best efficiency and least overlap, but at the moment we would suggest the following approach:

  1. use the bibliography as a bibtex database when typesetting references for your own papers, so that adding entries and making corrections can happen as a natural side effect of your own work.
  2. during that process, you will likely wind up referring to papers from some conference or journal year which isn't known to have been covered by the bibliography. It would be very helpful if you took the time for at least one such paper to check through the whole volume and ensure that all relevant learning papers have been incorporated in the bibliography. (This doesn't take so long as you might think: by keeping an entry template with repetitive details ready in your editor, within an hour you can enter a full conference of about 50 papers.)
  3. please look carefully at entries for papers written by you, or by people at your institution, to ensure their correctness. No one else can do this more accurately or more efficiently.
  4. if you are caught up with current events and looking for a pastime, you can work on something from our open problems list; or you can check back through unexamined years of a journal or conference to ensure that all relevant papers are included, correct, and keywordized.

Uparrowback to the COLTBIB

Thomas Zeugmann 
Division of Computer Science
Hokkaido University
N-14, W-9
Sapporo 060-0814, JAPAN
< thomas @ ist . hokudai . ac .jp>

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