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Summon FAQ

What is Summon?

Summon is a simple and fast search engine that helps you discover relevant information from the University of Cincinnati Library collections on any topic. It is the place to start your research in journal and newspaper articles, books, government documents, maps, music recordings, videos and more. From your search results, it's one step to the full text of articles or finding if a book is on the shelf.  Summon is still growing --features continue to improve, and content is being added regularly.

What is in Summon?

 Summon contains a variety of quality information and access to content provided by the University of Cincinnati Library.  To date, Summon content comes from 6,800+ publishers and 94,000+ journal and periodical titles, and 3+ million library catalog records.  There are over 230 million items indexed in UCL’s Summon index —and we are constantly adding new content.

Why use Summon?

Summon combines the simplicity and speed of a Google search with the quality and reliability of library databases.  Whether you need to find an empirical research article, a psychological case study, or even literature criticism, Summon takes the guesswork out of choosing library resources and quickly delivers content from many disciplines. Use Summon to search for works by your favorite author, begin a literature search or quickly find an article (enter any combination of the words in the article title, author, and journal title).

Who can use Summon?

 While anyone can use Summon, complete content and full text of the documents is available only to the UC students, faculty, and staff. Please remember to login for off-campus access.

What browsers and phones are supported?

  • Internet Explorer 6.0+
  • Firefox 3.0+
  • Safari 4.0+
  • Chrome 7.0+
  • iPhone 2.0+
  • BlackBerry 8500+
  • Android 1.0+ 

How can I use Summon on my mobile phone?

Simply direct your phone’s browser to the library’s mobile site and click on Summon.  From there, you can key a term in the Summon search box and instantly retrieve relevant results.

How can I search Summon effectively?

  • Use quotation marks (" ") to indicate that you want to search for words as a phrase, i.e. together and this exact order, for example, “stock market.”
  • Use Boolean operators (OR, NOT)  (must be typed in ALL CAPS).
    •  AND is the default operator. 
    • To expand your search results use the OR operator. For example, if you type cats OR felines, the search will return items that contain either term.
    • To exclude terms use the NOT operator, for example, animals NOT cats
    • You can combine different operators, for example, animals NOT (cats OR dogs). When you do so, please remember to use parentheses to specify which terms should be processed first.
    •  You can combine operators and phrase searching, for example, “teacher education” OR “educator training” .
  • Use wildcards/truncation
    • The question mark (?) will match any one character and can be used to find, for example, “Olsen” or “Olson” by searching for “Ols?n”.
    • The asterisk (*) will match zero or more characters within a word or at the end of a word. A search for “Ch*ter” would match “Charter”, “Character”, and “Chapter”. When used at the end of a word, such as “Temp*”, it will match all suffixes “Temptation”, “Temple” and “Temporary”.

Note: Wildcards cannot be used as the first character of a search.

  • Use proximity searching
    • Use the tilde (~) character at the end of multiple terms between quotation marks, followed by a number, to find instances where those terms occur within that number of words of one another (regardless of order).
    • For example: "yeast bread"~10 retrieves instances where the terms are 10 words apart or less; "red white blue"~5 retrieves instances where all three terms are within 5 words of each other.
  •  Use field searching
    • You can specify that the terms should appear in certain field (author, title, etc.). This can be easily done on the advanced search screen by using the appropriate box. In the simple search screen type fieldname:term, for example, author:zipfel.
      Author search tip: if you want to include the author's initials, after the last name type - (hyphen with no space) followed by the initials with no space, for example: author:Harrison-DC.
    •  Searchable fields:
    • Title
    • SubjectTerms
    • Author
    • Publisher
    • PublicationTitle
    • Volume
    • Issue
    • Language
    • Notes
    • ISBN ISSN, DOI
    • DEWEY

Use the advanced search screen

The advanced search screen allows you to specify the date range, field selection and other preference more easily. The above tip for searching for an author with known initials applies.

Does Summon support searching in foreign languages?

The Summon interface offers advanced native language searching for 17 languages.

 Detail on German language search features

Detail on Japanese language search features

What if I find 0 results?

For failed searches Summon provides spelling suggestions and tips for modifying your search. Please refer also to Tips for Online Searching

What if I did not find what I was looking for?

Not everything we license is included in Summon. Browse our databases. Not sure which database to use? Try our CampusGuides or ask a librarian.
Please refer also to Tips for Online Searching.

How can I refine my search?

The Advanced Search screen offers a number of ways to limit your search. You can do this by specifying that your terms should appear in a certain part of the record (title, author, etc.), by specifying a date range or format (book, government document, image, newspaper article, etc). You can limit your results to scholarly materials or items available online in full text. You can also exclude certain formats (for example, dissertations) from results.

You can also refine your search after you submit it and display results (see How do I work with search results?)

Do the search refinements apply to future searches?

Please note that the radio button under the search box is "new search." This means that the search refinements will be discarded, whether you run the same search or change the statement in the box. To keep the search refinements you need to click the appropriate radio button.

 selecting a

 How do I work with search results?

 Options on the Summon search results screen

 How long do the saved items stay in the folder?

Any saved items will be available for the duration of your search session. If you would like to save your items beyond the session, you can copy/paste, email, print, or export your list to bibliographic management software (RefWorks or EndNote) at any time.

 I cannot get to the full text

If the "Full text" icon does not take you to the full text, you may need to look for a print copy. For articles click the "Article" icon (one that does not have the yellow badge) and you will be directed to a page where you can search for a print copy and place an Interlibrary Loan request IF the item is not available at UC (please make sure you check the catalog first)!

What citation styles does the citation formatter support?

 Items saved in your folder can be formatted in the following styles:

  • APA (American Psychological Association)
  • AMA (American Medical Association)
  • MLA (Modern Languages Association)
  • Uniform (Medicine)
  • Chicago/Turabian
  • Harvard

You can copy the formatted citations and paste them into your document, e-mail or save them.

At the bottom of the saved items screen you will see the following note: "Always check your references for accuracy. Click here for more information." Follow the link to display a page with important notes regarding the supported citation formats and links to the current style.

 OK - I am ready to search Summon!