Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature


November 2006

TRIP in articles

I came across two fairly recent articles that have used TRIP as part of a literature search:

It’s nice to see that we get mentioned in the literature as well as being so highly used.

Goodbye Google Answers

Google is shutting down its Google Answers service. As the article syas it might well be to re-launch with something new and innovative in the New Year.

Interestingly, a Q&A ‘service’ will be one of the core features of Gwagle…

TRIP Leaflets

We’re near to finalising the design for the TRIP leaflets and they’re looking pretty good. If you want any let us know via ‘Contact Us‘ on the TRIP Database – they should be available December or early January.

Ambient Findability

Ambient Findability, by Peter Morville, is a great book. Only half way through but already lots to think about.

Podcasts – few hooked

A news article on the BBC website ‘Podcast numbers show ‘few hooked‘. The article reveals:

  • The survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found 12% of US people online had downloaded a podcast.
  • Earlier this year, a survey by the same research group found that just 7% of online Americans had downloaded a show.
  • But despite the growth, just 1% of respondents said that they would download a podcast on a typical day.
  • This figure remains unchanged from the February survey.

Merck manual

I’m not sure why, but I have an affection for the Merck Manual. It’s not massively popular on TRIP (eMedicine is more popular). But it’s recently been updated to the 18th edition (most updates are 2005); the previous edition – 17 – was in 1999.

There’s something verging on ‘old fashioned’ about completely re-writing a book every 5-6 years. I suppose this reflects the ‘old media’ style approach to things. Some clinical areas move very rapidly while other move much more sedately. Surely it’d be better to have more frequent updates of the ‘rapid’ areas. I suppose the problem with that is that it pushes back the development of the ‘sedate’ chapters.

Still, it highlights the problem of ‘central control’. Merck retains control of the content – making it very expensive (no doubt) to update, making it rapidly out of date etc.

eMedicine, another eTextbook, takes a different approach. It retains control, but updates happen with fair regularity. It appears that a senior clinician is given overall control. I imagine if s/he hears of new information they’ll want it added to ‘their’ chapter.

Then we have wikis such as Ganfyd. Lots of doctors contribute and ‘own’ it – there is no central ownership, but likewise little resource. So contributions are made in the docs own time. As it stands there appears to be a lot of titles (they’re easy) and relatively few ‘solid’ articles. It’ll be very interesting to see how Ganfyd ‘matures’ over time.

Let’s compare the entries for hirsutism:
Merck Manual

Hardly a scientific test but the Merck Manual will possibly stay the same for the next 5 years, Ganfyd will change slowly, while eMedicine seems the most comprehensive/useful! In fact the Merck Manual (recently published) was last updated November 2005, while eMedicine’s last update was July 2006.

Anyway, that aside, I’ve got the Merck Manual to add to TRIP – only another 1,000 links to manually add!


Formerly referred to as Socrates, the new project I’m working on is called Gwagle. Still a bit early to post details as they are still being finalised. But we’ve now secured the domain names – so can reveal the name at least.

The project is a combination of TRIP’s skills in a few things clinical and Sequence’s (the web people we use for TRIP) expertise in all things web. I have two formal meetings with third parties to gauge their reaction and take on board comments before a final specification meeting on the 4th December. After that the programming for Gwagle will commence. I’m hoping that things might actually be ‘out there’ on the web early 2007 (Feb/March).

But what is Gwagle about? It ‘sort of’ combines all the things we’re into (e.g. search, Q&A) as well as a few broader concepts. If you know what Gwagle ‘means’ then you’re a little further along the path of knowing what it’s about!


I’m really liking YouTube at the moment and I’m currently listening to the classic Beck song Loser. I’m also really liking ‘Set the fire to the third bar‘ by Snow Patrol and Martha Wainwright.

Aside from my own musical interests I’d be interested to see YouTube being used for online training. You can upload up to ten minutes – the maximum attention span for many people. You could have quick topics on a number of topics, such as:

  • Searching TRIP
  • An introduction to Medline
  • Clinical Queries in Medline
  • What is a PICO

Well, the list could be very long….

Just a thought!

Libel ruling boosts net providers

An interesting decision on libel laws and the internet (click here)

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