A TREC workshop consists of a set tracks, areas of focus in which particular retrieval tasks are defined. The tracks serve several purposes. First, tracks act as incubators for new research areas: the first running of a track often defines what the problem really is, and a track creates the necessary infrastructure (test collections, evaluation methodology, etc.) to support research on its task. The tracks also demonstrate the robustness of core retrieval technology in that the same techniques are frequently appropriate for a variety of tasks. Finally, the tracks make TREC attractive to a broader community by providing tasks that match the research interests of more groups.
Each track has a mailing list. The primary purpose of the mailing list is to discuss the details of the track's tasks in the current TREC. However, a track mailing list also serves as a place to discuss general methodological issues related to the track's retrieval tasks. TREC track mailing lists are open to all; you need not participate in TREC to join a list. Most lists do require that you become a member of the list before you can send a message to it.
The set of tracks that will be run in a given year
of TREC is determined by the TREC program committee.
The committee has established a
procedure for proposing new tracks.