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Summon: A Great Place to Start Your Research: For Librarians: Enhance Discovery of Your Library

Getting the most out of Summon at your Library



There are many things your library can do to make Summon the greatest possible starting point for research. 

Have a look around and see some suggestions to help your users quickly and easily discover the breadth of your library and all the incredile resources and services you offer!

Want a Summon LibGuide?

If you'd like to provide a LibGuide to your patrons that explains how to use your Summon service -- whatever you call it -- feel free to re-use any of the materials on the For Users page of this LibGuide.

Bring Summon to your users

Provide scoped Summon search experiences to meet users' needs wherever they might be.

Let's say you maintain a Physics research guide, and you like the idea of providing a discovery experience that by default is scoped to material related to Physics.  Summon Widgets is the tool that will generate the appropriate html code to be placed on any web page.

  • Summon Widgets is available at, replacing "mylibrary" with your library name.
  • From the Summon Widgets page, follow the steps to create a search box or a search widget:

Screenshot of first page of the widget creation tool

Moving users from discovery to deeper library services and resources

Customize the way Summon recommends your databases for furthering one's research!

You can provide keyword triggers that tell Summon when to suggest a resource to your users... the Recommender page in your Summon Administration Console is where your library can make customizations:

  • Databases:  Hundreds of databases support library-generated keyword triggers
  • Best Bets:  Go beyond databases and establish all kinds of recommended resources

Best Bets is how places like the National University of Singapore Libraries make their research guides as discoverable as possible:

Screenshot of best-bets example, about doing research on hokkien

Has your library already made some Recommender customizations?  Consider utilizing the Top Queries usage report available in the Summon Administration Console.... some libraries are finding great value in regularly reviewing top queries to identify further Recommender customizations.


Content loaded in Summon

A few reminders so that Summon continues to enable quick and easy discovery of the breadth of your library.  To act on any of these items you will need assistance from the Summon adminstrator at your library:

Institutional repositories and other local collections

As your institutional repositories and other local collections evolve, don't forget to consider loading them into Summon.  Generally speaking, a collection can be loaded into Summon if it supports the OAI-PMH protocol, or if the collection metadata can be provided in XML, MARC, or tab-delimited text file.

Open access content

The amount of open access content discoverable in your Summon site is up to your library, you can pick and choose which of the indexed resources to expose to your users.  You can view the list of open access resources.

Abstracting & Indexing (A&I) resources

Does your library have valuable abstracting and indexing (A&I) resources?  Many A&I are indexed in Summon, and therefore many libraries report their A&I resources to Summon so that it knows to include A&I citations in search results.  There are of course many A&I resources currently not loaded in Summon, yet these resources can still be effectively exposed to your users via the Recommender feature described on this LibGuide page.

  • Consider your A&I resources to be incredibly valuable, but your library is treating Summon as a full text discovery tool?  You might apply the "exclude Citation Online" setting (in the Summon Administration Console) so that A&I are hidden from search results, yet discoverable via the Recommender feature.

Online, non-textual resources

Is your library providing streaming video collections and other online, non-textual resources?  Many such resources are indexed in Summon, and many libraries handle these resources in the same way expressed above regarding Abstracting & Indexing resources.  Libraries report these resources to Summon so that the material is as discoverable as possible, in Summon search results and in the Recommender feature.

If your favorite resource is missing from Summon search results, let your Summon administrator know so they can check with ProQuest regarding the possibility of indexing the content in Summon.