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Summon Help

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find more information about using Summon?

More detailed information on Summon searching is available from the Ex Libris Knowledge Centre here.

Where can I report an issue regarding Summon?

Please report any issues to the e-Resources and Access Team through the help form

Do I need to 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.

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.

Can I use Boolean searching?

Yes. Phrase, field, Boolean, wildcard and proximity searches can all be used in Summon.

More detailed information on using these types of searches in Summon can be found here

How does Summon compare to the UBC Library Catalogue?

The Library Catalogue is the main inventory of books, journal titles (print and online), media, and other documents held in the UBC Library collection. Summon is a search engine that searches every record in the Library Catalogue, plus a wide selection of scholarly articles and online records. 

Summon excels at finding a multitude of resources on a topic when you search using keywords, like Google. When you need to find a specific item, such as a book or journal title, it is better to use the Library Catalogue and search by specific fields (i.e. author, title, call number, etc.).

Summon UBC Library Catalogue
  • Search articles - contains millions of journal and newspaper articles
  • Relevance ranking of search results
  • "Did you mean?" - suggestions for spelling errors and typos
  • Scholarly article limit - limit to articles from scholarly publications, including peer-review
  • Online full-text limit - limit results to items immediately available online ("Limit to items with full text online")
  • Use various "refine your search" filters to refine results
  • Precise field searching - e.g. "journal title exact"
  • Browse by subject headings - e.g. "Folklore - Bibliography"
  • Use the Guided Keyword Search to refine results

Why is Summon displaying irrelevant results?

The metadata used is from third party sources, so the ability to adjust it is limited.

More detailed information regarding how results are generated as part of a search can be found here.

Why are databases not coming up in search results?

Not all databases are currently discoverable in Summon.

Can I limit a search to e-books or print books exclusively?

Currently, there is no way to split print books and e-books into two separate choices for limiters under CONTENT TYPE. This feature has been requested and may be added in the future. 

To view e-books, you can enter your search and use the limiters on the left-hand menu to select Book/eBook, then limit to Full-Text Online. The same can be done through the Advanced Search page. Alternatively, you can select Book/eBook and then Online under the Library Location limiter section. 

To view only print books, you can enter your search and select Book/eBook as your first limiter, then go into More under Library Location and select to Exclude Online as an option.

Can I search for Open Access materials?  

An Open Access filter has recently been included in Summon. It can be used to refine your search through the result list or in the Advanced Search.

More information about the new Open Access filter can be found here

What is the difference between peer-reviewed and scholarly articles?

Selecting scholarly materials limits the search by journals that have a scholarly designation from Ulrich's; selecting peer-reviewed materials displays peer-reviewed content and verifies that an article has been reviewed by peers in the profession, is determined to be of academic quality, and is suitable for publication. The Summon service uses the same peer-reviewed standards as Ulrich's for journals and abstracts.

More information about filters and facets for refining search results is available here.

Why are the results from the citation formatting tool incorrect?

Citation formats are based on third party formats - please report any issues to the e-Resources and Access Team through the help form

Can I save my search history?

Currently Summon does not have the option to save searches. However, users can create RSS feeds based on Summon searches. More information on how to set up an RSS feed in Summon is available here.

It doesn't look like the Library owns the item?

Contact a subject liaison librarian for assistance or, if you're sure we don't have the item, submit an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) request

When I click on a link to a full-text article/e-book, I get taken to a page marked "Citation Linker." How do I get to the full-text?

If the full-text of the article is available, you can click on the "Article" link to get access from one of our subscription resources. 

If the full-text isn't available, you can search for a print copy in the UBC Library Catalogue or request a copy of the article via Interlibrary Loan (ILL).


Why am I seeing links to three different options to get to an article? 

Features have been integrated into Summon to offer users options to directly download articles or browse full issues, alongside our standard full-text online access link. These are provided by BrowZine.

Why is this service being provided by BrowZine?

UBC has subscribed to BrowZine since 2014. The technology started as a webapp to provide an easy intuitive interface to journal content.  Since then the company has been actively developing APIs to integrate BrowZine features into library tools like LibGuides, LMS and discovery tools. These integration options are included in our BrowZine subscription for no extra charge.

Why don't all article links have the 'Article PDF: Download Now' option?

The PDF download and browse options won’t appear alongside every article in Summon because BrowZine requires a DOI to generate these links and in some cases the publishers don’t provide this information.

Will our users know how to use the features? 

UX testing with library patrons suggests that users are able to navigate the options successfully. Read the user testing report.

How are usage statistics tracked?

BrowZine has confirmed that usage stats are recorded from the vendor platform.  This aligns with our existing usage collection and review process.  It should be acknowledged that direct linking to articles will impact citation linking stats.

How will users acknowledge the “container” or database when citing articles they’ve accessed directly from the PDF link?

The issue of “containers” in MLA or retrieval links in other citation styles is not unique to BrowZine. Users would likely cite either the publisher database, or they may cite Summon if they found the article in their results list. The link they will see is not from BrowZine, once they access the article.

Are other universities using the BrowZine discovery service integration feature?

Yes, Canadian universities using the discovery layer integration include UVic and Western. SFU has integrated BrowZine into Primo!