We are currently planning our next upgrade to TRIP and we need your help! Let us know via the comments facility below, via the TRIP Database contact form (click here) or e-mailing me. The planned upgrade will go ‘hand in hand’ with a significant improvement in the search algorithm.

BACKGROUND: TRIP has a reputation for offering access to high-quality clinical literature. We wish to retain that reputation.

PROBLEM: Many clinical questions cannot be answered using high-quality material. Therefore, currently, users would need to go to other websites to find their answer. We are exploring the possibility of adding a broader range of material to support enhanced questions answering. However, simply adding lesser-quality material into the main search would ‘dilute’ the quality.

PROPOSAL: To add extra, lower-quality, material into TRIP in such a way as to ensure we retain our high-quality reputation while still enhancing our ability to facilitate clinical question answering. To that end I can see three main possibilities:

1) Auxiliary search: I’d envisaged an initial search to cover the higher quality material. If the user feels they need additional information they move a ‘slider’ (click on image below) to include a wider variety of content. This would sit at the top of the search results.

Pros: Allows users to easily include/exclude content.

Cons: Sliders are not a widely used ‘technology’ and users might not fully understand them.

2) Exclude from core search. This would be to include all the material in the search but only include the core ‘quality’ material in the main search (where all the results are ‘mixed’ together and returned on the first results page after a search). To select the lower quality material a user would need to click on the particular category section.

Pros: Cheap.

Cons: Users might not use the category search therefore never seeing the results.

3) Contingency. We could get the system to carry out a search as outlined in point 2) above. However, if there are less than, say, ten results which are highly textually relevant, the system adds the additional content to help boost the number of relevant results.

Pros: Should work very well, with little user intervention.

Cons: The inclusion of lesser quality material will not be explicit which might impact on our ‘high quality’ reputation.

Alternatively, if you can think of any other solution we’d be delighted to hear from you!