Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature


September 2007

TRIP Users

We have spent a considerable amount of effort recently really trying to understand our users. We’ve done similar exercises in the past, but never in the depth. The results have fascinated me!

Breakdown of searches – professionals/public

  • 69% – searches by health professionals and associated groups
  • 31% – searches by patient/public

Breakdown of professionals

  • 25% – hospital doctors
  • 18% – GPs/family practitioners
  • 19% – nurses
  • 2% – pharmacists
  • 21% – other health professionals
  • 15% – information specialists/librarians

If we translate that into a typical month’s worth of searches (530,000)

  • 164,300 – patients
  • 91,425 – hospital doctors
  • 65,826 – GPs/family practitioners
  • 69,483 – nurses
  • 7,314 – pharmacists
  • 76,797 – other health professionals
  • 54,855 – information specialists/librarians

Where the users come from

  • 38% – UK
  • 29% – USA
  • 6% – Canada
  • 5% – Australia
  • 3% – Spain
  • 2% – India
  • 17% – Other

Search success

  • 13% – find the information they wanted all the time
  • 53% – find the information they wanted most of the time
  • 19% – finds the information about half the time
  • 15% – find the information less than half the time

The last set of figures (search success) has given me the most pleasure. We finished our analysis the same time as Microsoft released user satisfaction figures for their Live search engine. They report, “We found that 46 percent of all searches are not satisfied and that’s a large number. And 54 percent is either fully or partially satisfied.”

All that is left to say is a big thank you to the hundreds of users who responded to our call for help and taking the time to complete the questionnaire.

Survey Monkey

I have to say I’m very pleased with the results of our survey (see previous post for details). The software (SurveyMonkey) is easy to use and free! The response has been better than I had hoped, so far we’ve received 88 responses. The professional breakdown is as follows:

  • Hospital doctor 23.6%
  • Family practitioner 18.1%
  • Nurse 22.2%
  • Pharmacist 2.8%
  • Other health professional 19.4%
  • Information specialist 13.9%

I’ve found these results very interesting. I would have predicted a higher level for information specialists and pharmacists and the realtive high figures for health professionals is very nice to see.

Survey time

We’ll shortly be releasing the next update to TRIP (due October 2007) and we’re already looking ahead to the upgrade after that.

We are hoping to get as many users as possible to complete a brief survey. For this stage we only want to hear if both these conditions apply:

  1. You are a health professional or an information specialist.
  2. You have used TRIP before.

So, if you’re a first-time user or a patient user we’d like you to return to TRIP (click here).

Otherwise, click here to take the survey (only 8 questions).

The effect of Web 2.0 on the future of medical practice and education: Darwikinian evolution or folksonomic revolution?

Haven’t read it yet, but looks like it should be a worthwhile read (click here)


This blog has been pretty quiet recently as I’ve been testing the new TRIP – which is looking very good! Every time I test it I get more excited.

But Metaplace has caught my eye; the BBC News website has covered (click here). I’m not sure why I’m drawn to this, is there a place for this ‘environment’ for clinical information support? I will have a ponder and possibly a play – when I get a moment.

Linking to PubMed

A good post from Alf at the HubLog (Click here).

I’m not sure if this is a new feature but it’ll be useful. In the past I’ve highlighted the issue of extra long URLs needed for PubMed and a solution from (click here). Well it now appears that this shortened URL format is available directly from PubMed.

This means that the following citation:

Meats E, Brassey J, Heneghan C, Glasziou P.
Using the Turning Research Into Practice (TRIP) database: how do clinicians really search?
J Med Libr Assoc. 2007 Apr;95(2):156-63.
PMID: 17443248

can have this URL, previously it would have been

2215 podcasts

I have to admit to not knowing the strict differences between a podcast, vodcast, webcast etc. I’m thinking it’s not that big a deal! It appears that ‘podcast’ encompasses both sound and vision. Or as wikipedia puts it (click here):

“A podcast is a digital media file, or a series of such files, that is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and personal computers.”

As part of the ‘More’ section in the new TRIP (launch early October) we’ll be adding podcasts alongside all our wiki material, clinical calculators and a number of other ‘bits and bobs’.

I approached the acquisition of podcast content with some nervousness as I rarely (or should that be never) use them myself, so lacked ‘appropriate’ experience. There are a number of sites out there giving pointers to podcasts (e.g. krafty librarian and UBC Health Library Wiki) and they have proved invaluable. I still feel that I have much to learn about the podcast ‘landscape’ but have been impressed with much of what I have seen. For the time being I appear to have exhausted the available** content and have 2215 podcasts ready for searching come the launch of the new TRIP. These 2215 are all clinical podcasts aimed at clinicians (as opposed to patients).

Findability is a concern with these podcasts, as, typically, the only available information is the title. I’m not sure how to get round that. But as mentioned above with time the experience will come and solutions will present themselves.

** When I say available, I mean content that I have been able to locate via the various podcast lists and also from various blogs I ‘frequent’. If the inclusion of podcasts proves popular I’m hoping people will send me links to other clinical podcasts.

We’ve been testing!

As we wait for the new site to be finished off (release date early October) we’ve been testing some new features. For those of you interested feel free to follow this link. If you click on the first result you’ll see what we’ve been up to!

Note: It’s been given the publication ‘Special Interest’ for convenience!

We’re quite pleased with how it works/integrates.

amazingly fast – within 1/2 day

The subject of this post is a quote taken from feedback on the NLH Q&A Service, which we (TRIP) run. I like to review the comments every now and then and two more are shown below:

“I cannot speak too highly of the service – thanks very much. It is extremely valuable to have access to the skills needed to search through complex electronic evidence sources

“This is a truly excellent service, I am amazed that neither I nor any of my partners knew anything about it. I discovered it as a result of a Google search! Needs to be more widely publicised, or maybe I’m in a minority? I will go straight to this site in future with questions of this nature. It’s much better than some of the commercial/sponsored sites that are being publicised. Thank you for the answers you provided”

Why I’m pleased by comments like this is that they come from real doctors who see real patients.

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