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Using Summon Effectively

Watch Video Tutorial to learn more about Summon and how it works.


Searching

Using "Quotation Marks" as a Limiter

Quotation marks cause Summon to only search for items that contain the combined term, which will improve the results returned.

Standard Results:

Adult Learning           457,965
Special Education    1,070,861
Cognitive Therapy      293,707

With Quotes:

"Adult Learning"          21,156
"Special Education"    114,920
"Cognitive Therapy"     48,814

 

 

 

 

In the case of "Adult Learning," your results would be ~95% more relevant with quotes added as opposed to without them.


Using "title:" as a Term Limiter

Using the term limiter "title:" in addition to quotation marks will cause Summon to only search for items that contain the combined term in their title. This will reduce the number of results returned and increase the relevance.

Standard Results:

Adult Learning           457,965      
Special Education    1,070,861
Cognitive Therapy      293,707

With Term & Quotes:

title:"Adult Learning"          1,349
title:"Special Education"      9,107
title:"Cognitive Therapy"     2,297

 

 

 

 

In the case of "Adult Learning," your results would be ~99% more relevant with quotes and terms added as opposed to without them.


Search specific fields

The search in Summon (basic search or keyword search in advanced) will search across many fields automatically. Searchable fields include: Title, Author, Volume, Subject Terms, or ISBN.


Exclude/Include Terms - Boolean operators

Summon offers the following Boolean operations: OR, NOT and AND. The operators must be written in ALL CAPS.

  • This can be combined with quoted terms, such as "local food" OR "sustainable eating".
  • To exclude items in Summon, use the NOT operator or the "-" character before a term. When used in the following query "animal NOT dog" the results will not include the term "dog".

Similar Words - Proximity Operators

  • Use the tilde (~) character at the end of a multiple words, such as on the term "local~10 food," for results to include instances where the terms are 10 words apart or less.
  • Use the tilde (~) character at the end of a word to match similar terms. When used on the term "Lead~" it will match "Wead", "Veade", and "Tead."

Wildcards

Searches within Summon can be performed using the wildcards ? and *.

  • The question mark (?) will match any one character and can be used to find "Olsen" or "Olson" by searching for "Ols?n".
  • The asterisk (*) will match zero or more characters within a word or at the end of a word. A search for "Cha*r" would match "Chapter", "Chair", and "Char". When used at the end of a word, such as "Temp*", it will match all suffixes "Temptation", "Temple" and "Temporary".
  • Wildcards cannot be used as the first character of a search.

Results

Refine your Search

Use the controls on the left side of the page to refine and filter the search results by:

  • content type
  • subject terms
  • publication date
  • location

At the top left of the page, there are more ways to narrow your results. Most helpful:

  • “Items with full text online” is helpful when you are off-campus or the library is closed
  • “Limit to articles from scholarly publications, including peer-review” is helpful when you want only scholarly materials

Sorting

In the top right corner of the results, there is a drop down menu with sorting options. You can sort by relevance, or date. By default, search results are sorted by relevance.


Save to the Temporary Folder

Summon has a temporary folder which you can use to save a list of books or media until you close the browser.  To add an item, click the folder icon at the right of the item’s title. You must email, print, or export your saved items if you wish to use them again after ending your Summon session.

You can find the temporary folder shown in the the bottom bar. At the right side, the folder is called "Saved Items". Once you have saved items from the results list, you can view a list of them by clicking on that folder icon. That is where you will have the option to format them in a specific citations style (APA, MLA, etc.) and email, print, or export them to a citation manager.


Try it for yourself from the Summon search box on the Library home page.