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Library Research Skills for Biologists

Finding articles using keywords

Now that we know what Summon is and how it works (via keyword searching across full-text from numerous publishers), let's look at an example of how to find articles on a given topic in Summon. For example, say we are researching the telomere regions of chromosomes and how they evolve. First, we type our keywords into Summon:



Here are our results. There are two important tasks we can perform from the results page.

  1. We can use the Refine Your Search and Content Type limits on the left of the screen. Click on Peer-Review to limit our search from all publications to peer-reviewed publications, and Journal Article to find this format only.
  2. We can also access the full text of an article. To access this article, click on the “Full-Text Online


Limitations of searching in Summon

Searching Summon is fast and easy but has some limitations. Summon works like Google and Google Scholar simply with keywords. Summon contains content from hundreds of the publishers that we purchase from but it doesn't include everything. Summon is a great place to start your search, but if you are doing advanced literature searching in your third, fourth year or beyond, note that by only using Summon you may be missing out on some articles relevant to your research.

It works by doing a full-text search, and so it retrieves documents which include your keywords. For advanced search features, and to do a comprehensive and precise search, you need an article index. (See Finding articles - advanced)