Summon: out in the wild

Today is the day the summon search box appears on our intranet, iCity and is available to our staff and students. (we will be making this available publicly via our library website soon)

We haven’t announced this with a bang as term hasn’t started across all the university yet.

Hopefully our previous Summon blog posts gives some indication of how we got here, for today to happen I was keen for the following;

User guides

I wanted to ensure we had information for our staff and students, this includes a guide to searching Summon (created by one of our librarians, inspired by guides from other summon customers) and an FAQ  (available only on our intranet).

Summon FAQ in iCity

For our library staff we provided a guide for Librarians which covers how Summon works and some common issues. We are also providing training sessions for our frontline staff to ensure they know what resources are available to help students use Summon and when would be appropriate to recommend using Summon as opposed to the library catalogue.


We wanted to be confident that we could provide the same or preferably improved authentication, and am pleased that there will be improvement in the approach we’ve taken. We will be providing a mixed economy of EZproxy & Athens authentication to ensure we have as much content as possible easily accessible.


The content issue is probably the most complex with regards to continually changing nature of the product combined with our original approach. In the beginning we naively talked about summon perhaps being a one stop shop with a few exceptions however we are now much clearer that it will be a key resource for the discovery of our full text content & not a replacement for a database search. This did mean a shift in focus from trying to work out was indexed and not indexed in Summon and focus instead on what was available.

This however has helped us understand how we will need to use this upcoming year to gather as much feedback as possible from our staff and students to help focus on the content areas that need our attention.

We are starting quietly but am hopeful a big bang will follow once students discover the discovery tool.