Summon: Feedback from testing

The feedback on Summon after a little testing was generally positive although we did identify a few issues.

Using Summon to locate a book was mainly effective while the results list was much larger that in comparison to just the catalogue, generally the book they were looking for was on the front page. It was noted that the results list were not always displayed logically as the latest edition was not at the top of the list. Some searches, such as ‘Great Gatsby’ were less successful as the results list was overwhelmed with journal articles but this could be corrected by using the refine to ‘item in library catalogue’

Using Summon to locate a journal article with a partial reference was universally agreed to be much quicker however there were a number of dead links within our results, for example we found a number of articles on the Ebsco platform where the linking was not working as expected.

Using Summon for subject searches was positive in terms of generating plenty of results however there was frustration in only being able to use one limiter at a time & also not having as much flexibility to refine results as the native interface.

A clear advantage to Summon was that it saves time and is a less complicated search process. Without Summon searches would have had to be run in a number of places. Summon also provided an ample results set although this was not always a positive factor.

Comments from the survey supported these opinions, the staff liked the speed of search, the simple layout and the wide coverage. They were however disappointed with not being able to link through to content easily, the overwhelming number of results and the duplication in the results list. A ‘clear search’ function would also be useful.

They could however see the value in Summon when dealing with subject search queries or trying to find an article with partial details.

In general they found Summon easy to search and navigate.

Areas which we need to gain a better understanding of and address if possible are

  • Results not being effectively de-duplicated
  • Results where the link provided does not take them to the correct resource
  • The ‘Language’ refine showing incorrect results

Personally having now had the opportunity to run a range of searches I am now more interested in the level of indexing and linking provided per resource as I feel this will have an impact on whether or not we continue to include it in our Summon instance.

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