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Summon Help

This research guide goes through the steps that will help in using Summon.

Getting Started


What is Summon?

Summon is the Library's most comprehensive search engine. Fast and powerful, it is a good starting point no matter what your topic. Use it to find information in any discipline and pretty much any format:

  • journal articles
  • print and e-books
  • newspaper articles
  • these and dissertations
  • maps
  • CDs and DVDs
  • and much more!

You can find Summon news, announcements, changes and service issues by checking out the Summon blog

Log In

In general, it’s a good practice to be logged in with OpenAthens when searching using Summon.

  • To start a new session, click “LOGIN” at the top right of any Library web page and choose “OpenAthens Login”.
  • After searching in Summon, click on “Login to view all available results” if it appears upper right.
  • It is important that those using OpenAthens accounts (as opposed to CWL) do both steps in this order.

Logging in may be important, because a small subset of content providers do not permit their material to be included in unauthenticated Summon search results. For many searches this will not significantly affect results, but in some subject areas many relevant results could be excluded.

Starting Your Search

To search in Summon:

  1. Start by choosing the 'General' tab above the large search box on the Library's home page.
  2. Think about the keywords that best describe your topic. These can include general concepts as well as the names of people, places or things.
  3. Enter them in the search box, remembering to use quotation marks when looking for phrases and multi-word terms.

As you will see, one of Summon's strengths is the ability to return large numbers of results quickly. Sometimes it returns too many. The Narrowing the Results section shows how easy it is to refine your results set by limiting your search to specific subjects, content types and date ranges.