Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature


April 2014

Stars, favourites and saving

This is another ‘how to’ post – explaining how to use a particular bit of functionality on Trip.  Other posts in this series include the recent Colours and Trip

Many other websites allow users to favourite (or save) things of interest.  In Google Mail they allow you to favourite an email and in Twitter you can favourite a tweet; in both systems they use a star.

In Trip we’ve recognised the need for users to save favourite/interesting articles and we have adopted the same approach as Google and Twitter with the star system.  Below are images highlighting the main features of the ‘star’ system:

  • The top image shows you the simple way to save articles
  • The middle image shows how you can browse the starred/saved articles
  • The bottom image shows how you can find articles, after a search.  This last technique might be useful if you want to actually search for an article (as opposed to browsing).  However, it might be that you’re carrying out a broad search and you may want to know if any previous articles you’ve read (and possibly appraised) match your particular search.

Full-text on Trip

Last year we released our full-text link out feature.  It’s a simple concept, instead of linking from Trip to the article abstract on PubMed we link directly to the full-text article that your institution has subscribed to.

It’s free and really simple to set-up.  All we need is your institutions link-resolver/base URL.  Knowledge of this is likely to be the preserve of library-folk, so all you need to do is contact the library and ask if they have one. Send it to me ( and we can set you up.  You then need to edit your profile on Trip (easy to do) to let us know you belong to the institution, and when you search you’ll see a link to full-text under each primary research article.

So, if you want to make easy access to full-text, contact your library today and join over 330 organisations around the world:

Evidence-based tweeting

Or possibly more appropriately, evidence-based dissemination of research evidence.

For a while now we have been tweeting new research added to Trip in 8 topic areas, those being:

For each account, we send a topic specific tweet with the title and the corresponding URL of an article recently added to Trip. They have been really successful with over 2,500 followers since the start of the year (with little publicity) and tens of thousands of clicks (on links to the articles).  

In the last month we’ve been monitoring the activity quite closely to better understand usage.  We have typically been tweeting articles throughout the day at fairly even time intervals and seeing how many clicks we’re getting.  Doing so has allowed us to graph the most popular time for people clicking on links, which we have graphed below (click on graph to expand).  The data is based on hour time-periods when we have received more than ten clicks in that hour.

So, there’s a clear pattern with the evening (UK time) being the most popular. 

We have used this information to see if we can better focus the tweets we send to coincide with the greater likelihood of being clicked on.  So, this means the following:

  • Weekdays – a tweet between 9-10am then some tweets after 6pm, with a concentration between 8-11pm.
  • Weekends – a tweet around 11am then some tweets after 3pm, with a concentration between 9-11pm.

We’ve uploaded the tweets for the next 6 days and I will report back to see if this ‘evidence-based’ targeted tweeting makes any difference!


We have a manual system for handling synonyms in our search.  This means that if someone searches for IBS we automatically search for irritable bowel syndrome.  I’m currently undertaking a review of these synonyms, a long-winded and problematic process – but well worth doing.  However, I’m stuck and would like people’s views (email me via  Currently, we have three separate ‘collections’ of synonyms:

paediatric, paediatrics, pediatric, pediatrics, infant, children, infants, infancy, child, childhood, kid, kids, preschoolers, childrens, children’s

infant, babies, baby, child

newborn, neonatal, neonate, neonates, newborns, neonatology

There is clear overlap.  But there is a precise answer and a pragmatic one.  In other words, you need to put yourself in the shoes of a searcher.  So, if they search for children and cough is it reasonable to drop in the synonym paediatric ie also search for paediatric and cough?  I think it is.

But, and this gets a bit harder – where is the overlap between newborn with infant and with children?

The easiest solution is to lump the top two ‘collections’ together and leave the third ‘as is’. 

But I’d welcome opinions!

Trip and CPD/CME

I’ve posted before about Trip’s educational merits.  But, in a nutshell, using Trip to help answer clinical questions is undoubtedly educational.

Many health professionals around the globe are required to demonstrate that they are keeping up to date with the latest evidence and the requirements vary widely from country to country.  Trip is very keen to help support this and to date we have two main ways:

  • The timeline, this records all activity on Trip (search terms used, articles viewed) and can be exported for inclusion in educational portfolios
  • Reflective toolbar.  This is little used but allows a user to open a document and answer reflective questions about it.  This is recorded and is exportable.

But, we want to improve our educational support but require help from our users – hence this post.  It has been prompted by me seeing, for a UK-based educational activity, a company offering 1 CPD credit.  The notion is that if an activity takes an hour they get 1 CPD credit.

Might such an approach be useful in Trip?

For every article read do we assign a CPD credit?  Do we also allow, via the timeline, the ability to reflect on an article to gain extra CPD credit?  So, you might read an article and gain 0.5 CPD credits and if you then record your reflections it goes up to 1 CPD.

So, if the above impacts on your professional life please let me know what you think (via  If we get it right it’ll be a huge benefit.

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