Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature


March 2007

New website for ATTRACT in ten minutes

ATTRACT has been running since 1997. For years the questions were added onto a webpage I ‘designed’ and created using MS Word. However, around 2001-2 (can’t remember) we created a new website (click here to view) which was lovely – at the time. However, I’ve been unhappy with the look for a fair old while. I’d prefer not to pay for a new service – so I thought I’d try creating one using blogger.

After literally ten minutes I had a site that looks significantly better, had broadly similar functionality and has a better search. Not bad for free. We’re not sure if we’ll adopt this, as it’ll need to be ‘user tested’. If that happens we’ll move it to a better domain name.

To view the new site click here.

Month becomes day

When we were a subscription service we were searched between 20-25,000 times per month. Yesterday, we went about the 25,000 searches in a day. I suppose that equates to a 30 fold increase in traffic in 7 months.

Citizendium beta

Citizendium, an alternative to wikipedia has launched as a beta-service today.

The Citizendium (sit-ih-ZEN-dee-um), a “citizens’ compendium of everything,” is an open wiki project aimed at creating an enormous, free, and reliable encyclopedia. The project, started by a founder of Wikipedia, aims to improve on the Wikipedia model by adding “gentle expert oversight” and requiring contributors to use their real names. We have over 1,000 articles and hundreds of contributors. But we will avoid calling the Citizendium an “encyclopedia” until the project’s editors feel comfortable putting their reputations behind that description.

Gwagle, TRIP and the semantic web

An interesting blog post that reports that TRIP and Gwagle are helping to usher in the semantic web by having a narrow focus.

My interpretation of this is that, as people using clinical terms there is a significant loss of ambiguity. In Google, if you type weight, it might be about the weight of a whale, yacht, car, person, building – pretty much anything. However, in TRIP or Gwagle, a search for weight is pretty much likely to refer to the weight of a person (or other biological entity) or something like low-molecular weight heparin.

Vehicle warning system

I don’t think I’ve ever discussed traffic on this blog, always a first time! This story discusses a peer-to-peer mobile network to pass on details of road conditions between users.

This is another example of a network enhancing ‘experience’. The whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Due to the work on Gwagle I’m very interesting in ‘enabled’ networks enhancing whatever outcomes the ‘actors’ are involved in. With Gwagle the actors can enhance knowledge acquisition, information support etc. In the case of the traffic network it could enhance the driving experience.

Web 2.0 paper

What a great experience!

As part of my reading around web 2.0 and health I came across a paper my Maged Kamel Boulos (who I know via our involvement with the NLH specialist library for skin disorders).

The paper is The emerging Web 2.0 social software: an enabling suite of sociable technologies in health and health care education and is a great review of web 2.0 and its application to health. The full text (well worth getting) even mentions this blog!

What’s so great about that! Basically, I hadn’t bookmarked the site, I just had the vague title in my head (the paper copy was elsewhere). So I went into Gwagle, searched for web 2.0 and found the paper in a couple of seconds – brilliant!


On Monday we started sending out a small number of invites to start alpha testing Gwagle. So far a few, brave, souls have started to use the site. We’re deliberately restricting the number of invites so that we can gently test the system. As we get more confident we’ll release more invites!

The purpose of the alpha is to test concepts and to hear from users what they would like to see. It’s been great to see the feedback. All has been encouraging (of the concept) and a number of suggestions on functionality and style. The more the merrier.

Irrespective of our gentle rollout of invites, if you’d like to take part then let me know via here.

Gwagle goes alpha

For those of you interested (or bored) by my hints and comments about gwagle, well it’s now moved to alpha testing. The site occupies the following URL and there is a fair bit of material to view.

However, a number of brave souls are being allowed to take part in Gwagle. We’re looking principally for clinicians, although we’re keen to have information specialists involved as well.

I use the term brave, as Gwagle is in alpha. For those of you not overly familiar with this phrase – it means first draft/a bit ropey/not properly designed! In short it’s there for people to:

  • Play around with
  • Understand it
  • Break it
  • Think how to use it
  • Make suggestions
  • Not take things too seriously

If you’re interested in taking part then let me know via the login/register form on the Gwagle site.

Alternative search interfaces for PubMed

An interesting paper from the health ‘group’ of CILIP. This review highlights a number of different interfaces (including my favourite HubMed) for PubMed.

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