Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature


November 2012

Freemium Trip

In March I addressed this issue (see here) but I still keep coming back to the notion of having a freemium version of Trip.  As Wikipedia defines it:

“Freemium is a business model by which a product or service (typically a digital offering such as software, media, games or web services) is provided free of charge, but a premium is charged for advanced features, functionality, or virtual goods.”

Freemium has many advantages, namely security (if people sign up) and of keeping the site – mainly – free. But what would it look like?

I’m currently working on a few benefits to people signing-up:

  • Discounts of various ‘evidence-based’ products (events, courses etc).
  • I’m talking with a book publisher about getting pretty reasonable discounts on their books.
  • Removal of adverts, so a subscriber would not have to see them.

While these are pretty decent, I’m not sure we’ve reached the stage where membership might be compelling!  Anyone got any other ideas?

Also, pricing would need considering.  I was thinking of £2 per month, which is relatively low (in richer parts of the globe). 

The fact that I’ve revisited the topic after 6 months shows two things:

  1. It’s still a model I’m interested in.
  2. It’s not clear-cut, otherwise I would have done it by now!

Tagging articles as answers

This week I did a couple of training sessions in London on using Trip.  It’s great doing these as you really connect with the user, they highlight problems that need fixing and also throw in some ideas.  One person mentioned something that immediately struck me as being useful and fitted with a broad, but vague, theme I’ve been thinking about for years. One of the librarians asked if she could indicate, in Trip, if a document helped answer a question.

In other words, she went to Trip with a Q, for instance, “Is vitamin D2 better than vitamin D3 in vitamin D deficiency?”. She might search and find that a document answers the Q. She would then indicate to Trip that that particular document answered the Q she had.

It’s a simple concept but operationalising it is more complex (more below) but also – fundamentally – would it be widely used?  Clearly, if we create an engaging, easy to use system, it’s more likely to be used..!

Below are some thoughts on the topic, which I hope will resonate with people.  The process might look something like this:

  • A user comes to Trip and they use the site as normal (but logged in).
  • At some stage we ‘highlight’ the tagging feature.  Something like ‘if Trip has helped you answer a Q, let us know and share’.
  • If they activate this we show them their session history (? use the timeline) and they indicate (via tickboxes) which articles they used (as often a Q will require multiple articles to answer it) and then tag all these with ‘These answered my question on X’.
  • We could probably allow users to write a bit of text, to pull it together, give a bottom line etc.  This might well mean we need to allow comments, so people can respond.

The next issue is what to do with this?  A further few thoughts:

  • Activity is recorded in their timeline.  So, a user does a Q&A this is highlighted in their timeline.
  • This collection has it’s own separate page.  So, a user can point to each eg
  • Each user has their own Q&A page, which lists all the answers they’ve done.
  • How do we index/use this?  Do we add it to Trip answers and this is then searchable? This seems reasonable – but a slight worry about potential bias but that can be mitigated by warning text.
  • On each individual result (for an article in Trip, not a Q&A) we indicate, somehow, that it has been used to answer a question.  In other words a user searches Trip normally and in the results it’s highlighted if a user has ‘tagged’ the article to say it has been useful.

Right, lots of thoughts above – highlighting the issues I’m wrestling with.  It also gives a glimpse of how I work.  This is an early stage idea which needs conversations between me and users (and our techie and designer). 

After this stage – and with your help – I’ll try and get our designer to mock this up so we can better explain the concept and make it more tangible.  How long that takes is another issue!

Starring articles on Trip

The timeline on Trip captures all your activity on the site, recording your search terms and articles viewed.  An extension of this is the ‘star’ feature.  This allows you to highlight articles that you think are particularly ‘notable’.  To ‘star’ an article you simply press the star to the left of a particular result (remember you should be logged in).

At any stage you can look back at your starred articles via a link at the top of the page called ‘Starred items’. 

You can also restrict any search you carry out to only show items you’ve starred.  You do this via the ‘Further refinements’ section on the right-hand side of the results page (for interest, there is also the ability to restrict search results to those you’ve previously looked at).

I’ve also created a screencast for further information – click here to view.

Using Trip for educational purposes

Using Trip can be highly educational – searching, reading articles, reflecting etc.

Many professionals (doctors, nurses etc.) can be required to keep a record of their educational activity throughout the year, to demonstrate that they are keeping ‘up to date’ with the latest research.

Trip has two main ways of supporting this:

  • The timeline – this is a record of activity on Trip (search terms, articles viewed), this can easily be exported as a PDF for inclusion in any portfolio of learning.
  • Reflective learning – more in-depth than the timeline the reflective learning tool allows clinicians to easily record any reflections they have while reading an article.  This is accessed via the CPD/CME button under each result.  Again, all CPD/CME activity is easily exported as a PDF file.

To help understand how to use Trip and the different types of support we offer we’ve produced a brief screencast, which can be viewed here.

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