An early review of TRIP (click here) was interesting to read, at the time. Probably being biased, I felt it was a lazy review, although the concluding comments were good:

“TRIP offers a friendly interface and quick access to the evidence (particularly if the search is limited to titles) with user friendly organisation of search results. We recommend this resource for those seeking pre-appraised evidence, reviews, and guidelines.”

One issue they highlighted was the lack of a synonyms function. So, we set about creating one! To do this we took a list of the top 8,000 search terms used in TRIP (covering around 70% of all search terms) and manually produced a list of synonyms. This was time consuming and hard work. However, when produced it worked pretty well.

Probably 3 years ago we started to use the metathesaurus function of the UMLS system produced by the American National Library for Health. This was an automated project facilitated by the MMTx program (a java-based, public, approximation to the full-blown MetaMap system). This complimented the manual synonym function. Unfortunately, this was too slow, so we had to abandoned it. However, we’ve recently had some interesting news from those behind MMTx. The full program is likely to be released and will be considerably quicker than MMTx. So we’re hoping to re-introduce this as soon as it’s available. This should add an extra layer of synonym functionality

Anyway, why am I blogging this? Well I’ve just finished the latest edit of the manual synonym look-up table. It’s taken an awful lot of man-hours spread out over two months. We’ve weeded out ambiguity, added new synonyms – all to make recall better!

This will be rolled out with the current round of updates.