Sunday, December 31, 2006

People-powered search

Nice idea. Could this principle apply to TRIP? Could you allow users to decide if a result is good or bad? Could they vote 'Digg' style to say if that result was good or not? A 'thumbs down' means that result scores less well next time, a 'thumbs up' scores higher and no score means the same score next time.

I've mocked up what a 'TRIP meets Digg' might look like.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

End of year review

Below is the cummulative zeitgeist for the four months since we've moved to free access. In that time we have been searched 806,715 times.

  1. 448 views. Growth reference charts for the UK. Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
  2. 257 views. Guidelines for the administration of blood components. Australian & New Zealand Society of Blood Transfusion.
  3. 251 views. Buprenorphine transdermal patches (Norspan) for chronic severe pain. National Prescribing Service.
  4. 242 views. Nutrition support in adults. NICE.
  5. 233 views. Asthma. PRODIGY.
  6. 228 views. Management of patients with dementia. SIGN.
  7. 222 views. Guidelines for Blood Grouping & Antibody Screening in the Antenatal & Perinatal Setting. Australian & New Zealand Society of Blood Transfusion.
  8. 216 views. Guidelines for the management of enteral tube feeding in adults. CREST.
  9. 205 views. Failure to thrive. Ganfyd.
  10. 201 views. Lower back pain. PRODIGY.
An interesting and mixed list. More comment of the above over the next week or so.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas is coming

Christmas is just around the corner and things are starting to settle down. In other words the number of questions we're answering has started to drop and the number of searches on TRIP has declined. So we're having a gentle relax until the upswing of activity in 2007. I'm hoping our servers have a nice break too!

Thank you to everyone who has supported us in 2006. I started 2006 hoping to have TRIP free-access by the end of the year. In the end this important event happened in September, earlier than I had hoped. The move to free-access will be my defining memory for 2006. For 2007, it's got to be.....

..... Gwagle.

Best wishes

jon and the rest of the TRIP team.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Time's person of 2006

It's "You".

"You" have been named as Time magazine's Person of the Year for the growth and influence of user-generated content on the internet.

"It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes," Time magazine's Lev Grossman writes.

Friday, December 15, 2006

TRIP Leaflets

We have just taken delivery of the TRIP Database leaflets - very nice they look too!

If you would like to order some, let us know via the Contact Us section of TRIP (with your mailing address). We are envisaging sending 50 leaflets per 'order' but if you want more or less, just let us know. For those who have recently requested leaflets we'll send them out ASAP.

Journal re-developments

It would appear that the NEJM and BMJ are both redeveloping their site.

The NEJM beta site has some innovative features including a search widget for the Yahoo toolbar (but not the industry 'standard' Google) and a rather nice new search feature. As TRIP has done for years it returns results using a hierarchical display. Their hierarchy is different including 'most recent articles', 'most viewed articles' and 'reviews'.

The BMJ has a redevelopment blog. I've always liked the BMJ website, except when they removed free-access. It appears they are embracing web 2.0 - except for a really crucial part - today, it is about the advertiser paying, not the end user. Will this mixed approach work? I'm sure it will the new site will be a big 'hit'. But making it free-access (albeit via a login) would allow greater access, and quite possibly even more financially viable....

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sites linking to TRIP

From our search statistics it's clear to see how our use has dramatically increased. But what about sites linking to TRIP? Using the Maketleap link popularity check allows links to TRIP, aggregated from numerous search engines, to be measured. These figures stretch back to 2002.

Not sure how meaningful the graph is. But as with the search statistics it's heading in the right direction.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Auto e-mails

Finally, the TRIP Database has resurrected the auto e-mail function!

Via My-TRIP users can record kewords of interest. When new material is added to TRIP a match is undertaken and any matches are e-mailed to the user. Reviewing the functionality shows that some work is needed to improve My-TRIP (when we get the money!). However, the core functionality is there.

Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Journal Junk

There are an awful lot of journals aimed at practicing clinicians. Most of the output is junk!

BMJ Updates tries to overcome this problem and does a great job. As the blurb on the site says:

"all citations (from over 110 premier clinical journals) are pre-rated for quality by research staff, then rated for clinical relevance and interest by at least 3 members of a worldwide panel of practicing physicians."

In a nutshell they have a least 3 people review every article in the 110 journals to decide whether or not they are clinically relevent or newsworthy - as well as being methodologically sound. They root out around 90% of all articles - so only the top 10% of articles are considered appropriate for inclusion BMJ Updates.

As mentioned above I really rate BMJ Updates, it's superb. But surely the issue is that 90% of the initial articles going into these journals are not really clinically worthy/useful. In addition, or instead of, why aren't all articles pre-critically appraised before inclusion; why aren't they assessed for clinical worth?

I suppose the obvious answer is that if 90% of articles are removed - as they're junk - from a monthly publication, you go from 12 issues a year to 1.2 issues. Therefore, making it uneconomically viable. Who controls the journals and, to a large extent, are agenda setters - journal editors. So, to make a significant change from the journals, we're asking turkeys to vote for Christmas.

I suppose academia is also 'guility'. All those RAE points that are needed can only help contribute to quantity not quality.

Why not have journals that only publish documents that meet certain quality criteria, come pre-critically appraised and are clinically useful? I have a feeling I'm exposing my niavity!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Book Burro

I got this lead from Ben Toth. This is a brilliant application.

It doesn't work with many sites, but it does on When you load a page with an ISBN number Book Burro recognises this and automatically compares prices over a variety of book stores. In additon, it has agreements with some libraries to show stock.

As you will see on the screenshot, Amazon is by no means the cheapest and also that the book is available in Earlham and Manchester Colleges. Not that that does me much good as I'm based in Cardiff - still it's the principle that's important.

Monday, December 04, 2006

November Zeitgeist

Below are the most viewed articles from TRIP for November:

  1. Growth reference charts for the UK (RCPCH) - viewed 188 times
  2. Contact dermatitis (PRODIGY) - 164
  3. Acute sore throat (PRODIGY) - 140
  4. Guidelines for the management of enteral tube feeding in adults (CREST) - 89
  5. Guidelines for the administration of blood components (ANZSBT) - 87
  6. Urine Dipstick for Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infection (FPIN) - 82
  7. Guidelines for Blood Grouping & Antibody Screening in the Antenatal & Perinatal Setting (ANZSBT) - 81
  8. Nutrition support in adults (NICE) - 80
  9. Lower back pain (PRODIGY) - 79
  10. Buprenorphine transdermal patches (Norspan) for chronic severe pain (NPS) - 78

The highest placed Q&A was, in 50th place, Treatment of Tinea unguis, viewed 44 times.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another record month!

TRIP is getting more and more popular, find below our search stats:

  • 25,000 searches per month (while we were a subscription service)
  • 132,538 - September 2006
  • 191,581 - October 2006
  • 274,106 - November 2006

Since going free in September we’ve had monthly increases, in use, of approximately 45%. That’s strong growth, but when will it plateau?

Given the 'strength' of TRIP I'm looking forward to the next batch of upgrades. Not likely to happen till Spring 2007 (too busy on Gwagle). But if you have any suggestions on how to improve TRIP I would love to hear from you!