A while ago I read this article on TechCrunch Marissa Mayer’s Next Big Thing: “Contextual Discovery” — Google Results Without Search and it inspired me.  It helped me discover a recurring theme in my thoughts (and on this blog) that search is useful for known unknowns. The flipside of that is unknown unknowns, something you didn’t know you didn’t know.  In the above article Mayer talks about pushing information to people.  She talks alot about location but it doesn’t need to be restricted to that.

Currently on TRIP we have the ability for people to record their clinical area of interest and/or specific keywords of interest.  The specific keywords works reasonably well.  You say you’re interested in stable angina, and we email you every article that is about stable angina – simple and the feedback is positive.  Move to the wider clinical areas of interest (e.g. cardiology) and things get more problematic as it’s so broad.

But what if you’re like one of the people who doesn’t register or if they do they don’t record any interests?  Fine you use TRIP, it works well and that’s arguably enough.

But I want TRIP to do more.

If we encourage people to login we can start to note the articles they click on and start to create clinical hot spots of interest.  When they next login to TRIP (or we email them) we show them new articles that match there previous interests.  They don’t need to search.  There are a few issues (e.g. does previous searching predict future interests?) but I feel this is an avenue worth pursing.  I’m actually confident we can create these clinical hotspots and use that to the benefit of our users.

But what do you think?  Please comment to let me know.

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