Wow, I can really see just how much time the NLH Q&A Service took. It stopped answering questions at the end of last week and I’ve already managed to empty my e-mail inbox, the first time in years!

There have been a number of e-mails with new content waiting to go on TRIP, the most notable being the rather nice York Health Economics Consortium.

Talking of NICE (tenuous I know) the Darzai review (click here) has indicated an expanded role for NICE. It looks like they’ll be responsible for a new service/organisation NHS Evidence:

“NICE will manage the synthesis and spread of knowledge through NHS Evidence – a new, single portal, through which anyone will be able to access clinical and non-clinical evidence and best practice, both what high quality care looks like and how to deliver it.”

I can only surmise that the NLH will end up moving (again) to fall within NICE’s clutches. What that means for Q&A I wouldn’t like to say. I’m seeing Peter Hill tomorrow and that might shed some light on things.

The extra time on my hands has been spent harassing our web-developers and we’re fixing a number of niggling problems relating to advanced search, truncation, apostrophe’s. In addition – for some reason – the big 5 core journals (NEJM, JAMA, Lancet, BMJ, Annals of Internal Medicine) have disappeared from our search. These should be back soon.

TRIPanswers is progressing very well and the beta should be available within a fortnight. It should be as good as finished then but I just need to add a load of content. I’m hoping to launch with over 5,000 Q&As, reaching 10,000 by the end of 2008. I haven’t thought much past then. Each Q&A will be quality marked and have various other bits and bobs to transform Q&A; at least a little bit!

I’m also starting to research various semantic tools to improve various aspects of the TRIP site. I’m hoping to get some sort of system set-up to allow me to play around with these. I see these tools as allowing things such as semi-automated updating of Q&As, allowing natural language searching of TRIP and TRIPanswers. I even thought we could allow users to add text that they are interested in and use that as a basis to find ‘related articles’ within TRIP.

I’ve been a long-standing fan of PubMed’s related articles and getting this close to trying similar tools on TRIP is very exciting. I’ve often carried out searches of PubMed and found articles of interest only to find even more by using ‘related articles’.

Jumping back to TRIPanswers, if anyone wants an invite to the beta, let me know via