From a Trip perspective 2021 work was led by continued work on the new site. Trip has grown over the years with much of the code very old and very muddled. It was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain and we made a decision to recode the site in 2019! As part of that we took on a new main developer (Abrar) who was supported by Phil (our long-standing developer).
The new site was released as a beta (test) version in April 2021 and fully released in July. It has proved to be remarkably resilient with hardly any issues. This is amazing given the size and complexity of the site.
With all the work going on in the background, Trip has continued to help users to find great evidence. We’ve had millions of searches over the year supporting care across the globe. We’re continuing to attract new subscribers, both organisational and individual – a great sign for the future.
Covid-19 dominated the headlines and, since Jan 2020 (first search was 14/01/2020 for ‘Wuhan coronavirus’), Trip had over 550,000 specific search sessions on the topic. Supplying higher quality research evidence, Trip’s focus, was as valuable as ever.
Linked to that, one related topic is that I’m starting to try to make sense of the clickstream data (see Covid-19 search trends, is there a paper in this data?). I’ve no idea where that journey will take me (but feel free to help)!
The release of the new site in 2021 was only part of the story. What we released was the front end of the site – the bit users interact with. Since then we have been working solidly on the back end – the bit responsible for grabbing and processing the content that is added to the search index. Again, a hugely complex task but we’re getting there. And, hopefully, that’ll be switched on sometime between March and May (users shouldn’t notice)!
After that we can start to introduce the improvements that I’ve wanted to see for years but have been put off as we recode the site. Early releases will hopefully be the guideline scoring work, the improvement to search sensitivity and specificity and a revamped advanced search.
25th Anniversary of Trip.
2022 also marks the 25th year of Trip’s existence. I have no idea when it was went live on the internet (previously it was an excel spreadsheet) and the Internet Archive doesn’t help. So, that’s a bit of a damp squib. If we get any time to think we may try to do something to commemorate!
Bye Bye to the NHS
On a personal level, at the end of March 2021, I left the National Health Service (after nearly 30 years). My final job being Lead for Knowledge Mobilisation at Public Health Wales. It’s nice to now be able to concentrate more of my time on Trip.