In a meeting yesterday we discussed the concept of institutional ‘accounts’ with regard to our soon to be released full-text link-outs. In this scenario an institution (hospital, university etc) would give us some information to allow their users to link directly from Trip to the full-text.  For this to work the user needs to tell us they work for the particular institution.

But, once we have the information, can we be more useful?

Having all the evidence in Trip is great, but often local policies, guidelines etc are really important to consider. So, why not allow the user to search all the evidence in Trip but also be able to see if their institution has something to say on the issue.  It makes perfect sense to me.  But this is non-trivial and requires a number of issues to be dealt with:

  • The institution needs to agree to this.
  • How do we get local content into Trip.
  • What format, web-based in easy but Word documents creates an extra level of complexity.
  • Once we have the content in Trip, how do we maintain it being up-to-date?

The latter point is probably the biggest issue.  It’s fine to have initial enthusiasm to add content, but to go back every now and then and maintain up-to-dateness is a harder proposition. What happens if the enthusiast leaves?

That worry aside, doing a check every 3-6 months isn’t a big deal and we could arguably build some alert system saying ‘You have not checked your content for 3 months, please go and check now’.  I’m guessing we could even automate something that checks all the links every now and then.

One to ponder and to ask the advisory board about, when we get the latest upgrade out of the way.

UPDATE: One thought has struck me, why not create a spider to go and grab all the content on the site (the way Google does).  This would be no work for the institution but requires all documents to be on a public-facing website (so no intranet content).  Also, it grabs everything (e.g. see this MIT example) which might introduce some noise!

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