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Summon Help

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

Narrowing Search Results

Summon searches most of the materials that UBC Library owns or licenses. This means that sometimes you'll get a very large result list. Don't worry - with just a few careful clicks you can narrow the list down.

In the grey menu to the left of your results, you'll notice a series of filters that you can select to refine your results.


Full Text Online
If you click this box you will eliminate all results which are available only in a physical format such as print, CDs, DVDs, VHS, Blu-Ray etc. - but beware - many important resources are not available in an online format and you will not see them if you limit to online items.

Scholarly & Peer-Review and/or Peer-Review
This will remove most results which are not journal articles - so no print or electronic books or other formats will appear. Book reviews, reports, and other resources that are published alongside journal articles in scholarly journals will still appear - so if you are only looking for articles, please pay close attention. 

Library Catalogue
You can also choose to limit your results to only items in the UBC Library catalogue (print and eBooks, print maps & atlases, CDs & DVDs, government publications, microforms, print musical scores). This means you won't see any newspaper or journal article results, book reviews, streaming music/video, or other material types which are not found in the Library catalogue.


The Content Type section lists the different types of materials which are represented on the result list.  The links are ordered by frequency - content types with the most results from your search will appear at the top.  Click More to see the complete list of Content Types for your search results.

Use the green arrows to indicate which material type(s) you'd ike to include, then scroll back up to Apply.

Use the red X's  to indicate which material type(s) you'd like to exclude, then scroll back up to Apply.

In the example below, Book Reviews have been excluded:

 Content Limit display



This box lets you know what disciplines, or subject areas each result covers.

Click "More" to see them all. Click only the discipline links that express your topic closely. The more disciplines you click the more results you'll have and vice versa.

  • This is a great way to remove irrelevant results.
  • The links are ordered by frequency - disciplines with the most results in your list will appear at the top.


You can select a first and last date to limit your results to items published during that range. This can be really helpful if you want to see only the most recent publications or if you are only interested in seeing work that was created during a specific period.


You can choose to see materials that are on the shelves at specific Library branches. Note, only print books, musical scores, maps, CDs & DVDs have a branch location, so this is a great way to remove most electronic materials from your list (see below). This is especially useful if you prefer print books over e-books.


Online materials have the location "Online",  so if you limit to a library branch you'll automatically eliminate all online journal articles and most eBooks.

(eBooks will remain on your result list only if the library owns both a print copy and an electronic copy of a book.)


The "Language" box allows you to limit to one or more languages. The languages are ordered by frequency of results. If the 'More' link appears click it to see all the languages that are represented in your results list. The more languages you click the more results you'll have..

Not all sources include original script / characters so try also searching with romanized keywords. While UBC Library and other library systems use Library of Congress Romanization, other sources may use different romanization schemes.