Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature



Lessons from Gwagle

Gwagle has been interesting! A few people have used it a lot but mostly people haven’t. As such we’ve had little feedback. Being an alpha test I’m not overly upset by this as that is what the alpha was about – testing perceptions etc. My own conclusion being that, as it stands, there is little obvious gain for busy clinicians to actually use the site. It’s also, probably, a fairly abstract concept for many of those exposed to it. So where to from here?

As it stands, I don’t feel Gwagle (the website) will be the priority. However, Gwagle (as a web-service) will provide the backbone to added functionality to TRIP. To begin with, when the latest deployment to TRIP is released, there will be a ‘comments’ function. This function will be using the Gwagle ‘engine’ to work. Also, comments on TRIP will help populate Gwagle.

The next step is to allow users to add content to TRIP. I see lots of really useful information that doesn’t fit into the ‘usual’ TRIP editorial/upload mechanisms. At the moment I add it to Gwagle (as do other people). As you can see from the ‘latest’ link in Gwagle (click here) there is lots of ‘good stuff’. Yesterday, I added an awful lots of podcasts – there is currently no mechanism to add podcasts to TRIP.

So, this facility will appear as TRIP functionality (as it will be) but it’ll have the Gwagle engine to get it to work. There is also no reason why other groups/organisations can’t use the Gwagle engine to power their own ‘products’.

Moving back to TRIP, the ability to add content will happen, hopefully before the end of the year, and will also incorporate other features to help assess ‘quality’ of the added content (think digg but not focussed on news!).

The new version of TRIP

I think I’ve been saying this for an age now – but the new version is very close to deployment! I’ve got the final development version to test and then a slight design change to be added. If this doesn’t happen by the end of next week I’ll be pretty frustrated!

With any complex web deployments there are unforeseen problems. This time the biggest one was my enthusiasm to alter the specification midway through. Initially, there was no intention of allowing users to add comments to TRIP. However, our experience of the alpha test of Gwagle indicated a need to make that concept less abstract (I’ll say more on that in my next post). As such a comments function was added. So that just throws things a bit and add delays…..

I’m confident that it’ll be worth waiting for!

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