Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature


April 2009

DynaMed & Swine Flu

DynaMed is normally a subscription only service so I was very pleased when they announced that their swine flu resource is being made freely available (click here). Given the nature of the panic I thought this was a nice touch. Well done DynaMed and well done Ebsco (the publishers).

I’ve also updated the entry on the TRIP list of swine influenza resources (click here).

Swine influenza

Find below a list of links that might be of useful to those concerned with swine influenza. If you can think of any we’ve missed, please let us know.

General Information

Governmental press releases

Related research articles

Specific Patient Information


Swine Flu Spreads Panic Over The Web

Another interesting TechCrunch article (click here), this time on swine flu. It’s interesting how they’ve used Google Trends to chart people’s interest in the topic.

I keep thinking, when these health scares hit the news, that TRIP could do something more. Perhaps a ‘Top ten resources for swine flu’ which would be more dynamic than the current search system. I suppose I could create a blog article and link to it from TRIP – now there’s an idea…..

Call for voluteers

One idea we’ve got for TRIP is to allow domain experts (clinician or information specialist) to highlight important papers/organisations related to a particular search term. These 5-10 links would appear on the results page and sit aside from the main results.

So, an expert in hypertension (say) would volunteer and essentially create a list of links that would enhance the TRIP main search results. As a crude example they may link out to the following:

  • British Hypertension Society
  • American Heart Association
  • NICE guidance on hypertension
  • Escardio
  • Investigating hypertension in a young person (from the 6th April 2009) – ie an important recent paper
  • An important recent news item
  • etc

I would see the expert be given pretty much free-range over what they add (subject to certain conditions).

Two questions:

  • Would these links be a useful addition to the main results?
  • Would people volunteer to help?

For both questions I think yes! I have little doubt the human expert links will be pertinent and useful.

The bigger question is the desire of people to volunteer. I would like to think that there would be relatively little work in creating the list (given the volunteer would be an expert in that area), updating would be minimal. The volunteer would help improve the search results on TRIP making the million plus users per month gain better results.

I suppose that’s the real question – is improving the search results on TRIP motivation enough for people to volunteer a few minutes a month?

Please let me know via this blog or e-mail jon[@]tripdatabase[.]com

April update

I’ve just added the latest monthly update to TRIP with 588 new records.

This figure is slightly mis-leading as it represents only those records that I add manually. We also import records via RSS and XML – so we probably add double that every month.

That aside, these new records will be searchable sometime over the weekend.


Rats, Bandolier have abandoned their ‘old’ URL and moved to a new one! Therefore, until all the old links are updated (manually by me) the old articles will go to no-where….

TRIP as a recommendation engine

As we roll out the new changes to TRIP in a few months, one area we’re keen to explore is targeting clinicians in a given clinical speciality. We’ll be making a big deal about the My-TRIP feature and one aspect of this is allowing users to select which speciality they belong to.

Might it be helpful for a clinician to highlight articles they found useful and these can be seen by others in the same speciality? Technically, it’s relatively straightforward to introduce such a system, but is it worthwhile? Would the benefit extend to articles over a certain age?

For instance, a cardiologist might search for an article, look through 5 or 6 and decide that 1 or 2 are great articles. They could then hit a ‘noteworthy’ button against the 1 or 2 articles and this could then be flagged up to other cardiologists. If there are 100 cardiologists sending through recommendations one could create a league table of most recommended for other cardiologists to view.

I can see the benefits but I’m not sure of the downside (assuming people don’t take the recommendations too seriously).

Clinical Evidence

We have just updated our Clinical Evidence records.

Unfortunately, CE seem less inclined to work with TRIP than previously so access is limited to our spidering systems. Therefore, the search won’t be optimised. It’s unclear to me who will benefit from CE’s reticence.

Irrespective of that, I still believe having the records updated will benefit many users of TRIP.

Evidence in the courts

I’ve only just heard about this (click here). It appears that the British Chiropractic Association have taken exception to an article written in a national newspaper.

Scary stuff!

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