The Summon Service

Discovery Reinvented

More modern, engaging and powerful

So much more than a single search box.

Combining the latest technologies and design techniques, the Summon service helps your library keep pace with ever-changing user expectations. To lead users to better research outcomes, it delivers contextual guidance for researchers and empowers librarians to directly impact the discovery experience.

What is Summon 2.0?

With Summon 2.0 we’re doing what we’ve always done, partnering with libraries to make the research process easier, faster and better. With these groundbreaking new features for the Summon service, together we’re taking discovery to the next level. Read more about how we got here and where we’re heading.

What is Summon 2.0?

The first web-scale discovery service to market, the Summon service is still the only discovery service designed around a single, unified index of content. Its introduction in 2009 revolutionized discovery by making it possible for libraries and their users to move beyond federated search and database silos. With Summon 2.0 we’re once again pushing the envelope for what library discovery can be. Unlike other discovery services, the Summon service is not a repurposed database platform or next-generation catalog. It’s a built-to-purpose discovery engine expressly designed to meet end-user needs, while at the same time providing librarians opportunities to scale their services to connect with more users.

Inspired by research examining the changed (and ever-changing) nature of user behaviors and research needs, we made a promise that the Summon service would keep getting better all the time. Thanks to our Software as a Service (SaaS) model and agile development methodology, we’ve pioneered new features and delivered hundreds of enhancements since launching the Summon service—all based on usability research, data analysis and direct customer feedback. At the same time, we’ve grown the Summon unified index from 200,000 million items at launch to now over 1.1 billion discoverable items. And that’s after our exclusive match and merge technology combines nearly 500 million duplicates. All this presents users with the richest possible representation of searchable metadata.

Summon 2.0 is a leap forward. These enhancements to the Summon service are based on everything we’ve learned about discovery over the last 4 years while serving as the digital front door for some of the largest and most respected research libraries in the world. We’ve performed ongoing usability studies, listened carefully to our customers and analyzed volumes of data including search logs of millions of users performing hundreds of millions of searches across the Summon unified index. The result is we’ve learned a lot about how users do research. We’ve also paid attention to other sites our users search— like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter— as well as the new technologies they’re using like smartphones, tablets and touchscreen devices. We’ve taken what we’ve learned and created a better discovery experience—Summon 2.0. But, we’re not done innovating yet. In fact, we’re just getting started.


Streamlined, Modern Interface

Familiar user experience
The new user experience matches user expectations developed from searching the open Web. Using the latest technologies, it’s lightning fast and easy to navigate.

Responsive and mobile-friendly
Designed with mobile in mind, the interface is responsive to different devices, creating a seamless experience whether you’re using a desktop, tablet or mobile device— all without losing any functionality. No apps to install - just go!

Summon Topic Explorer™

Over 50,000 topics to guide users
Highlighting relevant encyclopedia entries, the Summon Topic Explorer™ pane helps guide users through the research process and exposes them to pertinent reference content in context of their query. Fosters “presearch” via the library by leveraging subscribed and free reference sources—customizable by the library.

Jump-start the research process
The Summon Topic Explorer™ pane provides recommendations to related topics, exposes your library’s most relevant research guides, and promotes appropriate subject librarians in context.

Summon Scholar Profiles™

3 million+ profiles for key authors and researchers
Instantly matching users’ searches to key authors and researchers, Scholar Profiles™ boost relevance, improve search precision and encourage exploratory author searching within and across disciplines.

Supports scholars and research funding on campus
Indexed, authoritative data from ProQuest Scholars Universe fosters collaborative research. Scholar Profiles™ offer librarians opportunities to participate in building, expanding and promoting their institutions’ scholars, faculty and researchers.

Automated Query Expansion™

Ensures relevant content is not missed
Even when users don’t know all the right keywords or controlled vocabularies to use, Automated Query Expansion™ improves search precision by including additional keywords and spelling variations for common topical queries. Users are able to suspend query expansion when precision searching is desired.

Connect Users to Librarians

Recommended librarians and subject guides
Bringing librarians into the discovery experience, Topic Explorer™ panes link users directly to relevant subject specialists and librarian-recommended research guides.

Fully-indexed research guides
Dynamically displayed in result sets based on relevancy, indexed research guides further expose users to valuable information and research help.

Library-Curated Recommendations

Get users to relevant information via “Best Bets”
Promote specific library resources such as research guides, specialized collections, library web pages, course reserves, announcements, current events, important contacts, library hours, help tools and more through “Best Bets” curated and controlled by your library in the Summon administration console.

Database recommendations
Blending library control, “community-sourced” tags and relevancy-based recommendations users are pointed to specialized databases for targeted research and discipline specific searching

Real-Time Reference Help

Embed chat where users need it most
Seamlessly embedded chat and reference widgets allow users to receive real-time help from reference staff within the context of the discovery environment. Libraries can integrate and customize chat and reference widgets in the Summon environment with easy to use administration tools.

Related Search Suggestions

Encourages exploration of related concepts
As users scroll through results, related search suggestions dynamically display encouraging users to expand their query to aid their research. Leveraging real-time, global Summon usage data, related searches offer users scholarly and multi-lingual suggestions for query expansion and refinement.

Content Spotlighting

Visually distinguishes valuable content by type
Dynamic display features highlight relevant content sets like newspaper articles, reference materials and digital images with a unique visual style that differentiates it from scholarly journal and book content.

Groups newspaper content for easy identification
Spotlighting retains the highest visibility for scholarly journal and book content while ensuring that users won’t miss relevant and valuable newspaper content.

Local collection and image spotlighting
Dynamic display features allow users to easily navigate across image content and promotes some of the library’s most unique and valued collections.

Navigate By Discipline

Easily zoom in on discipline-specific content
The discipline facet allows users to take advantage of authoritative discipline mapping in the Summon unified index covering 59 disciplines to quickly zoom in on discipline-specific content or combine disciplines for unparalleled interdisciplinary searching. As users refine results by discipline they are further exposed to discipline-related subject terms.

Personalized Search

Create and save scoped searches
Any user—librarian, faculty, researcher, technically inclined or not—can link directly from the Summon interface to create an unlimited number of personally-scoped search boxes and widgets. Easy to embed in any web environment including course management software, Facebook or other collaborative portals, personally-scoped search widgets and search boxes help users save time spent on searching and more time working with results.

Unparalleled Customization

Easily match institutional branding and navigation
New custom header options allow libraries to bring their institutional branding and navigation into the discovery environment.

Customize to meet your library users’ needs
Administrative console options allow for a wealth of features to be easily turned on, off or customized to library specifications. With the Custom Text Editor, you can modify just about any text, button or label on the Summon interface, for any of the 34 language interfaces that Summon supports.

Open API allows for further customization
Since the “out of-the-box” Summon user interface is built using the Summon API, just about every feature in the Summon service is available for developers to create a customized discovery experience for their library. All while still enjoying the same unmatched speeds, reliability and currency of the service.

Contact us for a demonstration or more information on Summon 2.0 and how a more modern, engaging and powerful discovery experience delivers value for your library and your users.