Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature


September 2008

Treadmill desk

I want a treadmill desk.

The Big 5 are back

A while ago it was pointed out that the NEJM was missing from TRIP. We had an e-mail from an embarrassed librarian who had been demonstrating TRIP to a visiting academic. When the academic tried to find their premier paper in the NEJM they failed. The librarian wanted to know what she’d done wrong. Basically, nothing – it was all our fault! All the big 5 journals (NEJM, JAMA, Lancet, BMJ and Annals of Internal Medicine) were missing.

We’re not exactly sure how it happened and its taken a while to fix, but they’re back now.

TRIP Answers – spoke too soon

Unfortunately, it looks like TRIP Answers won’t be going live this week. The site is ready to go and there’s load of content. We loaded it onto the ‘live’ server but that was one load too much for our servers and it – effectively – stopped working.

So the solution:

  • Temporary – we’ll try and get it added to a different server.
  • Long-term – increase our hardware capacity by purchasing some new servers. This will take some weeks to achieve, hence the need for the temporary measure. This increase in server capacity will also increase the speed of the TRIP Database.

There is a chance TRIP Answers will go live this week, but it’s more likely the first week of October.

Developing websites can be such a pain!


With a huge amount of relief the site is very nearly ready to go live. We may be able to sneak it out tomorrow, if not it’ll be Monday/Tuesday next week. As I look at the site there are 4,325 Q&As, all tagged and quality scored.

We’ve already secured the agreement of a number of collaborating organisation to publish their Q&As on the site, the list is as follows:

  • ATTRACT (Wales)
  • FSRH (UK)
  • Clinical Cases and Images (USA)
  • RCOG clinical queries (UK)
  • TRIP
  • Univadis (UK)
  • Norwegian Electronic Health Library (Norway)
  • Ma’aneh Larofeh – Clalit Health Services (Israel)
  • Evidence Direct, Melbourne (Australia)

The international flavour is particularly exciting and I’m looking forward to these questions being available.

Watch this space…

Orientating yourself on TRIPanswers

This is a really brief introduction to recently launched TRIPanswers. The aim is to orientate you around the site so you can use it more efficiently. For further information view the ‘About’ section (link from the top of the page). So, a few points about TRIPanswers:

  • It’s a collection of clinical Q&As from around the World
  • Each question has been tagged (tags are roughly the same as keywords). They help describe the question and are useful in browsing and refining searching
  • Tags are displayed in tag clouds. These are collections of tags and the more prominent the tag, the more times the tag has been used
  • If you click on a tag it restricts the Q&As to those with that particular tag. NOTE: A Q&A is typically tagged with multiple tags
  • Search is an alternate to browsing via tags. One way is to search using your broad topic area (e.g. myocardial infarction) and then click on a tag (in the tag cloud) that matches your interest e.g. clopidogrel
  • Check out the Tag Cloud of Clinical Uncertainty
  • Still confused? Let me know via the form at the bottom of the Interact page.

Below are images (click on image to make bigger) of the key features of the homepage and an individual question.


Answer page

This weekend I’ll be reading…

User experiences of evidence-based online resources for health professionals: User testing of The Cochrane Library

Semantic analysis

For years I’ve been a huge fan of the related articles feature in PubMed and recently have been investigating the underlying mechanism (semantic analysis). As a result of this, TRIP is starting to investigate using semantic analysis in a variety of ways. Our first trial has shown the promise of this technology.

Below are two screen shots (click on these to see a larger image). The big text box is the input box (where text is added) the list below that are the results obtained from TRIP. In the first example there is free-text question I added and in the second there is a title from a recent JAMA article.

I’d be keen to hear from readers of this blog if they feel this may be useful and if so how they’d like to see it used.

159 637

The above number is the number of extra searches in August compared to July. August is traditionally a slow month, which makes this new record number of searches, all the more remarkable. The actual number of searches for August was 1,369,638

I get so excited by these figures for two reasons:

1) They’re pretty big numbers
2) Think of all that good quality evidence that is being used!

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