It’s been exceptionally busy for us, although I doubt we’ve worked as hard as our servers. Due to this workload I’ve been a bit slack in updating on our various projects, so here goes.

TRIP Update
For a number of reasons, mainly me changing my mind half way through, the update is delayed and will hopefully be released mid/late April. It seems to be dragging on but we’ve had to make some changes. So, the final list of changes are:

  • RSS feed. Each search can now be outputted as an RSS feed
  • Mark PDF records. Some people really don’t like PDFs – we’ll now mark them for you on the results page.
  • Conclusions. A number of documents have conclusions and our system has been programmed to grab them. Users, if they wish, will be able to view the conclusion by placing their mouse over the ‘Conclusions’ button
  • Snippets. Most search engines generate snippets of text to help improve the context of the results. These have shown to improve search recall significantly, hence us adopting them. From a personal perspective I’m not convinced, so I’m trying to make these ‘switch offable‘. It seems the pragmatic decision to me.
  • Advanced search. This has been significantly improved in terms of both functionality and accuracy (we’ve been experiencing a few problems on that front).
  • Redesign. As I’ve mentioned previously our revenue from Google Ads has been woeful. We’ve been communicating with Google to improve thing. The first stage of which is to move the adverts to a more prominent position. It’s a shame, but we need money to further improve! Coupled with that is the inclusion of snippets. The net effect of this is to take up more space on the screen (apparently it’s called screen ‘real estate’). So we’re going to redesign the screens to free up more space.

In addition to these immediate changes we’ll be producing a e-newsletter for the 2,000+ registered users on TRIP sometime in the near future. There are some great examples which help keep communication going between organisations and users. The blog is one way, and is read by a small number of people (around 250 per week), but an e-newsletter gives us other options.

Gwagle

The alpha is going very slowly. We’re not 100% sure why although we believe that the alpha-testers are too busy to go to a site, add stuff and get relatively little in return. For Gwagle to be useful we need to have an active community. We’ve decided this route isn’t the most useful. Part of our re-think is to integrate the site, much earlier than initially anticipated, with TRIP. TRIP gets large amounts of traffic (nearly 150,000 searches last week) and so if we can make using Gwagle meaningful to TRIP users we’re sure things will develop more meaningfully. We’ll keep you posted on those developments. But, if you fancy giving Gwagle a go, let us know via ‘Contact us‘.

Research on Q&A

Nothing major to report except that we’ve started some question analysis. We’ve been wanting to for ages. With around 5,000 genuine clinical questions from NLH Q&A and 2,000+ from ATTRACT that’s a large pool of data. The big downside is that writing is not hugely motivational for me, that goes for writing articles, writing up my PhD (never finished, so in good company there) and writing research grants. As my supervisor said – the only way to write a PhD is to write a PhD. His obvious ‘flair’ for motivation missed me 😉

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