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Liberating the literature

Updating Trip

We have just finished manually updating Trip for this month.

Trip gets content via three main routes:

  • Automated via mechanisms such as APIs and RSS. Once set up this requires no effort from Trip it just grabs new content on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Semi-automated. A number of organisations supply us their new content via email (typically a .csv file) in the correctly formatted way. We then add this to the third way of updating content:
  • Manual. Over a week, always in the middle of the month, Trip manually visits around 300 sites to manually find new content added since the previous month.

This month we just uploaded 650 records from the semi-automated and manual method – the majority via the manual way. Of these 86 were dated from 2020 or earlier and the rest were from this year. Of the older one these were typically from us having to updated outdated URLs or if we found new sources of evidence. The records from this year covered a large number of sources e.g. NICE, AHRQ, IQWiG, WHO, NIHR, ACOG, NCCMT, FDA, EMA, Prescrire, PHE, PHW, SBU (so many initials)!

In addition we manually tag all articles, from 2021, if they’re useful for primary care (automatically tagging articles for primary care isn’t great). Some examples include:

While it’s hard work it’s always great to see so much wonderful evidence being added to Trip.

What next?

It’s been just over ten days since the new site went live. It has been remarkably smooth. There are a small number of issues but the site appears stable and there have been no critical issues. So, we now look to the future and this is a brief update on that.

Firstly, we have a list of around ten issues that need fixing. These have been prioritised and we’ll work through those as quickly as we can. Only a few of these I’d class as significant.

Secondly, we need to work on the indexing! Trip has three main parts:

  • The actual search component – the Trip brain, this is working wonderfully and is very modern (so, no updating needed)!
  • The interface – this is how people interact with the site. It’s the design, the interactive bits etc. It’s what we’ve spent the last 12 months re-writing.
  • Indexing – the search component needs to search content. This involves:
    • Publications being added, either manually or automatically. This is minimal information such as the title of the document, the URL and publication date.
    • Spidering – we send a spider (AKA webcrawler or a bot) to the URL and grab the content.
    • Processing – our system adds the content to the search component but also does a number of other bits and bobs e.g. tagging the articles by clinical content

Our indexing system is as old as the interface was (some bits being nearly twenty years old) so we’re completely rewriting this to make it better (quicker, cheaper etc).

Thirdly, planning the next upgrades to the site. We’ve got a few projects that are coming close to delivery e.g. guideline grading. However, there are some significant projects we’re thinking about and we need to decide which ones to take forward and for that we need to engage with our users. In the past we’ve relied on web-surveys and these have been really helpful. However, for this next step we’d like to have a more engaged process – one where we can have more of a two-way dialogue. To that end we’re interested in setting up a series of online small group calls. We’d briefly discuss our ideas and then engage with the group to unpick our ideas, what sounds good, what sounds bad and how we might implement these ideas. If you’re interested in taking part (one hour session) please let us know via development@tripdatabase.com.

Paradox of choice

I was delighted to recently receive an email from a prominent EBMer who declared himself a fan of Trip! However, his email was more about a teaching session he ran on EBM sources of quick answers and the feedback from the students.

He said the more EBM focussed the more they liked Trip however for others Trip was less favoured. He suggested this was because they had an extra cognitive load (in short, more effort) in selecting the resource most likely to be useful to them. Other sources (the likes of UpToDate) tend to give one main result – so there’s a lack of choice, search and click. For Trip its:

  • Search
  • Look at results (hopefully not having to look at too many)
  • Click

While that extra step seems fairly minor, clearly the more time-pressured you are the more of a big deal this is.

This is really important and interesting feedback. One for Trip to reflect on but if you have any thoughts, please let me know.

Using Trip via mobiles or tablets

We understand how important access to Trip is for mobile and tablet users and as such we have invested significantly in this area with a full-responsive site. There is no requirement for an app (our previous app is no longer supported and will be withdrawn shortly) and users should navigate, via their phone/tablet’s browser to the usual Trip page – www.tripdatabase.com

The site works well and looks beautiful (while I may be biased I do think it looks great) and there are a few screenshots below. Any comments either email me (jon.brassey@tripdatabase.com) or leave them in the comments.

Home page
Results page

The difference between free and Pro Trip

Trip introduced the freemium business model over 5 years ago. It was our approach to remaining both viable and independent. The fact that we’re still here (and doing well) is some validation of our approach.

Subscriptions are available for individuals at $55 per year while institutions can subscribe, with costs dependent on both their size and organisational ‘type’ (click here for current prices).

But what do you get for the subscription? Below is an overview of the differences and as we develop new features these will mostly favour Pro subscribers:

Institutional subscriptions

Buying an institutional license is a cost-effective way of bringing the power of Trip to your organisation.  Trip can be useful in many different ways, for instance:

  • Supporting clinical care by helping clinicians to easily find robust, evidence-based, answers to their clinical questions.
  • Trip is widely used by systematic review producers.
  • Easy access to hundreds of thousands of full-text articles.
  • The evidence-based content of Trip supports the writing of clinical guidelines.
  • Preparing research grants is made easier with easy access to pre-existing research.

Pricing
Pricing is based on size and type of institution.  While not ideal it acts as a starting point for negotiations and if you feel you’re disadvantaged by this method then please contact us to discuss further.  NOTE: figures are in US Dollars and is the annual cost. Discounts can also be arranged for multi-year arrangements.

Academic Institution

  • Very small (<1,000 FTEs) – $875
  • Small (1-5,000) – $1,400
  • Medium (5-15,000 FTEs) – $1,990
  • Large (15,000+ FTEs) – $3,500

Hospitals/health centres

  • Very small (<50 beds) – $525
  • Small (<250 beds) – $1,075
  • Medium (250-1,000 beds) – $1,990
  • Large (1,000+ beds) – $2,890

Government, other public sector organisations and charities

  • Very small (<20 staff) – $340
  • Small (<75 staff) – $1,110
  • Medium (75-250 staff) – $1,990
  • Large (250+ staff) – $2,925

Corporations

  • Small (<75 staff) – $1,800
  • Medium (75-500 staff) – $5,850
  • Large (500+ staff) – $13,000

Institutions from resource poor settings.

For institutions based in the lowest World Bank income classification (Low-income economies) Trip is free while those classed as Lower-middle-income economies or Upper-middle-income economies generous discounts are available.  For further details contact lmic@tripdatabase.com.

Authentication
Trip currently supports a number of methods but the principle method is via IP authentication. 

Free trials

We can easily arrange free trials of Trip Pro, to request one please email subscriptions@tripdatabase.com

Have any questions?

If so, contact us via subscriptions@tripdatabase.com

The new site is live

After over a year of hard-work we have just released the latest version of Trip. We had to re-write ALL the website, replacing code that, in some places, was over 15 years old!

We’ve produced a brief overview video which you can see here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPMJ-01LVCg

Users might find this key useful.

We’ve tested this extensively so we’re hoping any issues will be minor, but if you spot an issue then please let me know: jon.brassey@tripdatabase.com.

New site live – tomorrow

Sometime tomorrow morning (1st July) we will switch over from the old site to the new site.

This has been a massive rewriting of code – it’s taken over 12 months – and it has been well tested over the last three months. However, it’d be naïve to think they’ll be no issues. But our development team are primed to act quickly so, if there are any disruptions, then they shouldn’t take too long to fix.

Below are the new home page and results page:

Closeness of search terms

If a user conducts a search for, say, prostate cancer screening we can say these terms are linked. Now, if someone else searches for breast cancer screening you can see there are linkages between those three terms. But, you can also link back to the previous search via the terms cancer screening. So, why not map them? The below images are based on a really small sample of our clickstream data, but map the connections between search terms.

The above is based on a small sample of search terms around UTI. The one below uses a linked, but different technique:

You can see that there are different circle sizes (representing popularity of search) and some lines are thicker than others, showing these we searched together more often. Below is an easier to read sample of the above:

So what? Why am I sharing?

I can’t help feeling this is useful for highlighting search terms of interest for reviews. For instance, you may have 5 terms in your search, by harnessing the power of linked terms a system may suggest a further ten that may be useful! A form of query expansion perhaps?!

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