About

What is Trip?

Trip is a clinical search engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily find and use high-quality research evidence to support their practice and/or care.

Trip has been online since 1997 and in that time has developed into the internet’s premier source of evidence-based content. Our motto is ‘Find evidence fast’ and this is something we aim to deliver for every single search.

As well as research evidence we also allow clinicians to search across other content types including images, videos, patient information leaflets, educational courses and news.

For further information on Trip click on any of the questions/sections on the left-hand side of this page. But if you still have questions please contact us via jon.brassey@tripdatabase.com

Explain the filtering system

The filters on right-hand side are intended to make it easier to find the most suitable content for your needs. Publishers are classified based on their output (e.g. Cochrane are classified in systematic reviews, NEJM as key primary research etc). By clicking on the systematic review filter you restrict the results to just those publishers whose main function is related to systematic reviews. Once you have clicked on a particular category, you can further restrict the results by publisher e.g. to only show Cochrane results.

NOTE: Our decision to classify by publishers (as opposed to by individual articles) was a pragmatic decision which produces the occasional anomaly. If the BMJ publishes a systematic review it will appear in the key primary research filter as the BMJ is classed as a key primary research publisher. This problem is offset as publishers like DARE will invariably review the BMJ systematic review article and therefore it will appear in systematic reviews (with a time delay) as DARE is classified in systematic reviews.

Below the main filter options you have further options such as filtering by publication year, by articles you’ve previously viewed etc.

The history of Trip

Trip was launched in 1997. It was designed to help the two founders rapidly answer clinical questions. The idea was to bring together all the “evidence based” content in one place and to search that. Initially this was an MS Excel spreadsheet but shortly afterwards it migrated to the web. Since its launch Trip has been searched over 70 million times.

Trip became incorporated (a limited company) in 2001 with the two shareholders being Jon Brassey and Dr Chris Price. They remain the sole shareholders.

How the Trip algorithm works

The algorithm uses three main factors when deciding the position of particular search results:

Text score. If a search term is in the title of the document it scores more highly than if it only appears in the body of the text. If it only appears once in a thousand word document it scores less than if it appears twenty times.

Publication score. As far as we know Trip is unique in using a publication score, based on quality, to help order results. So, a high quality resource (such as Cochrane) will have a higher score than say the BMJ and this again will score more highly than an eTextbook.

Date. The more recent the document the higher the score.

These three elements are combined to give each document a score. The document with the highest score appears at the top of the results..

Trip’s finances

Although we’re are a commercial company we operate more like a ‘not for profit’ company. All our income either goes on wages, development or other associated costs. Our incomes comes from a number of different sources:

Advertising. A necessary evil that affects the aesthetics of the site but it does bring in reliable income!
New content alerts. We aggregate lots of new content and organisations like to use our aggregation to highlight new research to them.
Websites. We have been involved in writing bespoke search engines for various organisations. For example we worked with the Centro Cochrane Iberoamericano (funded by the Spanish Ministry of Health) to create a bilingual Spanish language version of Trip. We have also created topic specific search tools e.g. Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare.
Consultancy. We work with a number of organisations to advise them on all aspects of information retrieval and ‘evidence’.
Reviews. These are typically rapid, Q&A style reviews.
Use of our web-service. Third party sites can use our web-service to search Trip via a ‘back door’ and we return results to them in a special format (XML) which allows them to easily integrate and format them into their own site.

NOTE: Pharmaceutical companies do use our services. They do not have any editorial say in Trip and, contrary to what many may think, they use Trip due to its independence and would not want our reputation sullied.

Usage of Trip

Trip has been searched over 100 million times by users coming to our site.

We have a global reach with the main users coming from the USA and the UK. After that there is a bias towards English language countries (e.g. Canada, Australia) but we have significant usage from Spain and South American Spanish-language countries.

Our most recent survey indicated that approximately 70% of our users were clinicians and 30% were non-clinical e.g. information specialists, patients or carers. Of the 70% of clinician users about 50% were doctors with an even split between primary and secondary care.

How frequently is Trip updated?

Trip is updated using a number of methods. The content from PubMed is typically added every two weeks while content added manually (mostly our secondary evidence) is added once per month (typically around the middle of the month).

Content selection for Trip

We identify new sources to add to Trip using two main methods:

1) Our continued work in Q&A If we find a source that’s useful and not in Trip we will add it to the index.

2) Our network of users. Over the years we have developed a network of users who are keen to see Trip develop. They will often suggest sites and in these situations we typically take an in-house decision as to the suitability of the content.

NOTE: We typically do not consider sources where a person linked with the source suggest we include it.

What does Trip stand for?

Initially Trip stood for Turning Research Into Practice. However, we do not use this anymore and simply use the name Trip!

How can I find out more about Trip?

If you have any specific questions simply email Jon Brassey via jon.brassey@tripdatabase.com

Important papers

When we import documents into Trip we attempt to analyse any citations mentioned in the document. When a search is carried out we aggregate all the citations from the results and the important papers are the most frequently cited articles.
This is useful as it helps to identify which documents have been most useful in producing today’s research.

Today’s research stands on the shoulders of these ‘giants’.

Cited by

When we import documents into Trip we attempt to analyse any citations mentioned in the document. In this way we can see if documents are cited by other documents in Trip. For instance, a primary research article might be cited by a guideline or systematic review. Alternatively, a systematic review might be mentioned in a guideline.
This is useful as it helps users find connected documents pertinent to their search.

What are the benefits of registering?

Registering has a number of benefits to a user, these include:
Keeping up to date with new research based on your clinical speciality and/or specific topics of interest. Each month, we identify new content focussed on your interests and email these to you.

If your institution has registered with Trip you can easily access your institution’s full-text via Trip.

Many clinicians find it useful to keep a record of activity they have spent on Trip. This may be for CPD/CME purposes or simple curiosity.
As we capture your activity on Trip we can see what previous articles you’ve looked at. When you search Trip we also search documents you have previously viewed in Trip. The literature shows us that search users frequently return to previously viewed documents, so this is a great feature.
It’s also a great way of being kept up to date with what is happening with the Trip Database.

Finally, we are currently planning a number of new features that are based on a user’s history of usage. So, by registering we can start to better learn how you use Trip, which will better serve your future information/evidence needs.

Why are you asking users to login?

Logging in is not compulsory, we’re just putting the message up as a reminder. This serves three main purposes:

It can be useful to keep a record of your activity on Trip.

It will help with information retrieval (as it’ll make it easy to find documents you’ve previously viewed).
In the future we plan to build features based on a user’s usage of Trip. Without logging in we have no way of achieving this.

What’s the starred issue about?

As well as capturing, while logged in, all your activity on Trip we have created the ability to ‘star’ an item. This is a mechanism to highlight documents that users think are particularly useful/interesting/noteworthy. By starring them they make it very easy for users to look back over them.

What does the automated search do?

When registering you are presented with the ability to add terms of interest. This is to allow us to highlight new research which might be of interest. So, every month, as new content is added we search this new content using your recorded keywords.

NOTE: It is important to record search terms that would find results in Trip. Using broad category areas is not great, you can do that in the clinical areas of interest. If in doubt, try the terms in Trip and if they find the sort of results you’re interested then you should be fine.

What are you doing with regard to the developing world?

In the filtering section you can select material that our algorithms have decided are suitable for the developing world.  We have two filters, one that’s specific (low false positive rate but likely to miss some articles) and one that’s sensitive (higher false positives but more articles)

What is the link to the BMJ portfolio about?

We know that many of our users use the BMJ Portfolio feature. So, by placing a link on Trip users can easily save documents of interest directly into their portfolio.

Full text

We offer two main ways for users to access full-text of primary research articles. Firstly, where there is a copy in PubMedCentral (the NLM’s free full-text repository) we will offer a link to that. Secondly, institutions can register, for free, with Trip and this allows their users to easily access the institutions full-text holdings. In this latter case users need to let us know they belong at the institution; this can be done at registration or by editing their profile (via the ‘Settings’ link in the top right of Trip).

Tell me about the synonyms function

In searching for information the use of synonyms is vital. They are needed due to ambiguity in search terms. Some people may say cancer of the prostate, others prostate cancer and another option is prostatic carcinoma. Our synonym function looks at search terms and also searches for synonyms.

This also works for abbreviations. If you conduct a search for IBS we also search for irritable bowel syndrome.
You can view what synonyms we use via the ‘Synonyms’ tab at the top of the search results.

Trip and reference management software

Trip allows you to export selected documents using a variety of methods (email, CSV and RIS). RIS is the standard format for referencing software (e.g. Reference Manager).

You’ll see that alongside each result in Trip is a tick box. If you tick the results you’re interested in and then use the ‘With selected’ drop down (at the top of the search results) you can use which option you’re interested in. For exporting to reference manager style software you select the ‘Export at .RIS’ option and save the document (remember where you save it). Then, in your referencing software you import the document, simple as that!

Some of the pages look weird, why’s that?

This is probably due to you using an old browser. The site is optimised for the more recent browsers (including Internet Explorer 9). However, for earlier browsers some formatting issues may arise. If you are experiencing problems, upgrade your browser.