Summon – St. Thomas Libraries Blog
Database Highlights & Trials


Just in time for the fall, a whole new approach to doing library research.  UST Libraries is now offering Summon – a new discovery tool that allows you to search many (but not all) library resources the same way you search the free web. Think of it as a Google-like approach to the libraries’ resources.

Summon is a rich, bibliographic searching tool that retrieves content from most, but not all, of the library resources.  Your results will return such varied media as:



If the item isn’t available in full-text in Summon, it links you to the full-text (or tells you where the paper copy is on the shelves) through the Get it button.

It works by indexing content from thousands of publishers.  Then it retrieves results from publishers with whom we have agreements.  Summon doesn’t index content from all publishers, nor do we have agreements with all publishers.  So in many cases you’ll still want to use subject-specific databases to find more info.  But when you don’t know where to start, Summon is a good place.

Here’s an example of beginning my research on water as a human right.


Your results are retrieved in ranked order.  If your keyword shows up in the title of the article, it ranks highest.  The ranking  order continues with  abstract, metadata, and finally full-text.  The full-text is available by clicking on the title and you can save records to export to email or Refworks.  Like Google, you’ll get many, many results because Summon indexes articles, books, and book chapters, as well as library catalog records.  However, don’t get overwhelmed, there are several excellent limiting options.


Give it a try – go on, you know you want to.  I’m curious to know what you think about Summon so please feel free to comment.

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