Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature


December 2016

New update currently being tested

Hopefully these changes will be out in very early 2017…

First up, the long-discussed Answer Engine:


Second major update is the smart search (we follow your clicks to suggest closely related articles):


Next up is the better integration of the search suggestions:


Finally, two features here – an enhanced RobotReviewer assessment of bias display and a manual broken links system:


NOTE: ignore the numbers associated with each article, these will be removed after testing!

Do you work for the NHS in England?

If you work for the NHS England can you please complete this brief poll below.

This year Health Education England paid for a trial of Trip Pro for all staff in England and as we approach the end of the year we’re discussing what happens next year.  This poll should help inform these discussions. NOTE: To register your vote you need to press the ‘Vote’ button under each of the three questions.

If you have any other comments about access to Trip Pro, perhaps extra features to help support you in the NHS then please let us know via the comments or emailing me:

Also, if you want Trip Pro to continue an email of support, sent to the above email would be very helpful!


Broken links, again

A search engine requires a number of key elements to be successful; one of which is the websites/links it sends people to are valid and useful!

The NIHR, a large UK-based research funder and publisher, moved to a new URL structure a while back. Initially, this wasn’t a problem as the old articles (and old URLs) still worked.  But that has recently changed.  We have over 1,000 articles in our index from the NIHR and around 50-60% suddenly became broken. So, we’ve rushed through a fix and everything is fine for now.  But while it was the NIHR this week it might be another publisher the week after.

It’s a constant battle.

In 2011 we introduced an automated system which initially worked very well but over time we’ve come to appreciate that it’s only a partial solution.  So, with our next upgrade (due early January) each article will have a new ‘broken links’ link:


The ‘broken link’ link (underlined in red) will be activated by a user clicking on it. This will then cause our broken link system to be activated and hopefully swift action to correct it.

Trip, trying to improve every day.

The Answer Engine, first glimpse

We have got a number of developments that we want to get out before the end of the year, the most important being the answer engine.

The answer engine works by interpreting the search terms to infer the question and then using a variety of techniques to find the best answer.  This is then displayed at the top of the results.  An example is shown below:


In this example the user has searched for acne and minocycline and our system has interpreted this as being a question about the efficacy of minocycline in treating acne.  The system then looks for the best answer, in this case a Cochrane Systematic Review, and pulls through the conclusion.

The above is a mock-up and is likely to change somewhat, but it gives you an idea of what it looks like.

Initially, the system will be modest in scope and will be semi-automatic.  Our aim is to harness feedback and then make the appropriate changes.  By the middle of 2017 we hope to dramatically increase the scope and be fully automatic.


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