Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature


October 2006

September – record month

Our first month of being free has seen a huge surge in use – as we had hoped. The total number of searches of TRIP, for September, was 132,538 – amazing!

September zeitgeist

The full September zeigeist with the Steve Irwin influence at number 1!

  1. Stingray Envenomations (eMedicine) – viewed 474 times
  2. Failure to thrive (ganfyd) – 368
  3. Exercise therapy for multiple sclerosis (Cochrane) – 289
  4. Growth reference charts (RCPCH) – 276
  5. Increasing the cultural competency for healthier living (NHMRC) – 273
  6. Failure to thrive (GP Notebook) – 251
  7. Children and healthy eating (EPPI) – 210
  8. Buprenorphine transdermal patches (Norspan) for chronic severe pain (NPS) – 198
  9. Management of patients with dementia (SIGN) – 182
  10. Hypertension (PRODIGY) – 179

TRIP Answers – When TRIP lets you down

An idea in early planning stages – TRIP Answers.

Our view, at TRIP, is that if someone searches TRIP and can’t find what they’re after, then TRIP has let them down. So what can we do?

Our idea is to allow users to record their clinical questions on the TRIP site; the ones TRIP has failed to help answer. What’s the point?

Well we see this as having two main purposes:

1) It will allow us to identify themes in where TRIP is letting users down. Once we know where these are we can seek suitable, evidence based, resources.

2) We’ll try and get as many answered!

The process we’re planning is to have a banner on the results page – inviting users to go to TRIP answers if the site has let them down. They will then be presented with the following options:

1) UK health professionals get directed to a relevant Q&A Service
2) A non-UK health professionals get sent to TRIP Answers
3) Non health professionals get sent to a relevant ‘answers’ site (e.g. Microsoft QnA, Yahoo answers)

Those sent to TRIP Answers will record their questions and we will attempt to ‘answer’ as many as possible. We do not have the resources to answer many questions and therefore have decided to return ‘Personalised results pages’. Our view is that a user of TRIP expects a page of pertinent results. So TRIP Answers will return a set of highly pertinent, human derived, results. Those unanswered will be recorded and used for analysis.

An additional feature is that we will prioritise questions from the ‘developing’ world. To that end we have started discussions (still at very early stages) with the Global Healthcare Information Network. Our thinking around TRIP Answers has coincided with the launch of their new campaign ‘Healthcare Information for All by 2015’.

If there are any willing volunteers out there who want to get involved, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

Watch this space for further developments.

Smart answers

Firefox extension

Yet more excitement! A UK doctor has written a firefox extension for TRIP – click here.

Q&A Feedback

A little while ago I started inviting feedback on a small number of answers on the NLH Q&A Service. After two weeks we’ve had our first response, and very interesting and useful it was. This response has now been added to our What causes a yellow tongue, and what is the best available treatment? answer.

I’m quite excited by this development and surely a sign that this ‘invite a comment’ needs expanding!

Improved algorithm

While getting to grips with our new search algorithm we noted that, whatever we did certain eTextbooks appeared ‘too’ high on our results page. When I say ‘too’ high it’s a reflection that eTextbooks might not be as evidence-based as other resources. Ok, they might be the best available evidence – but if they appear above ‘better’ evidence then the problems arise. So, to cut a long story short – we’ve built a fix and this will be tested, and dispatched, sometime next week.

Blog at

Up ↑