Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature


May 2009

Doctors and wikipedia

A thought provoking article on doctors use of wikipedia:

“No surprise, these days more and more doctors are searching online for medical information. What is surprising, however, is that in a recent study, nearly 50% of physicians indicated that they use Wikipedia—the open-access encyclopedia that allows anyone to edit articles—as their source for medical information.”

See full article: Beyond Wikipedia

Advanced search: an apology

For those long-term users of TRIP you’ll possibly notice that our advanced search is prone to breaking and I have no idea why this is. Only recently we spent an age fixing the previous break (see recent notification of fix). It has now broken again. This is tremendously frustrating for us and our users.

Given our current overhaul of the site we’re going to build the advanced search from scratch. This should mean that previous problems (possible caused by building new code on older unstable code) will be eliminated. Given the history I’m not saying it’ll never break again, but by going back to nothing and starting again we’re giving ourselves the best chance.

Timetable: We envisage the new code being released at the same time as the rest of the new site, so about 4-6 weeks.

Once again apologies for the poor service but bear with us the new site will be well worth the wait.


Our latest development is progressing well, our developers indicate that they are over 50% through the work which is great news. I’ve had an initial look at the early work and I’m genuinely thrilled by the output so far. Far too many highlights to mention, but as we get closer to launch and I get familiar with their workings I’ll review the major ones.

We should also be getting a feel for the new design of the site in the next week or so. With so many new features, especially on the results page, we’ll no doubt be having a major upheaval in the results department – what that looks like, I have no idea. We’re using the eponymous design company called Mark Boulton Design (Mark has recently published ‘A practical guide to designing for the web‘). So far it’s been a rewarding experience and it’s refreshing to use a dedicated design service.

Finally, one ‘stand out’ joy of the re-design has been the new relationships we’ve been building. We’ve reached out to a significant number of new content providers ranging from medical news to medical videos (all aimed at clinicians) and they have all responded favorably to contact. Talking with other clinical web enthusiasts from similar size companies (and some larger ones) has been a real bonus and we’ve learnt so much. The bottom line being that building relationships make us (at TRIP) stronger.

Wolfram Alpha

A new ‘search engine’ called Wolfram Alpha has launched. I’ve not had much time to play with it and when I have I’ve rarely got the results I want. It may be early days, but being confusing is not a positive attribute.

Fortunately, others have been more patient and Medgadget have just published Wolfram Alpha and Its Medical Powers. It’s certainly worth a read!

Clinical Correlations

Clinical Correlations is the NYU internal medicine blog. It’s a great blog, so much so it won the 2008 Best Clinical Sciences Weblog award.

We love it at TRIP, and therefore decided to make it the first blog to be searchable via TRIP. With the development of web publishing it’d be a mistake to overlook blogs as a source of good clinical information/evidence. We have little doubt that it’ll be a great resource and that TRIP users will benefit from its inclusion.

New TRIP logo

I’m now back after two weeks holiday in the USA, which was wonderful. While I was away the work on TRIP’s revamp continued alongside the redesign process. As part of the new design the designers have suggested a new logo design. While I liked the old logo, the fact that we now have TRIP as a registered trademark means we needed to indicate this by adding an ®! So this is what they’ve come up with:

Let us know what you think!

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