What is Summon?

Summon is a library search engine that includes records for books from the library catalogue,full text ebooks, journal, magazine and newspaper articles, conference proceedings, theses and dissertations, standards, maps ,DVD's, language kits and more.

What am I searching when I use Summon?

We have added the library catalogue to Summon, so all the books that sit on the shelves in the library are included.

We have also added content from:

Advantages to using Summon

  • The interface (single search box) is similar to using Google, so you might be more comfortable using it
  • It includes some really cool features, like exporting results to Endnote web,or subscribing to rss feeds of your search
  • Limit to full text online with just one click
  • Limit to peer reviewed items with just one click
  • limit to items that are physically in the library with just one click


It does not include our Health and Safety and Construction Database IHS ,North South Child Protection Hub, Web of Science, Westlaw. You will have to click on the database links and search them seperately.

Also, you have more control with your search if you use an individual database.


Phrase Searching

Summon allows for phrase searching with the use of “ ”. The query “teacher education” will find results with that phrase.

Searching Specific Fields

The single search box in Summon™ (basic search box or keyword search box in advanced search) will search across many fields automatically. For example, entering an ISBN, ISSN, or Call Number will bring back associated records.

You can explicitly search a field using the syntax: “field:(query).” For example, the search ISSN:(1234-5678), finds records that contain that value in the ISSN field.

Searchable fields:

  • Title
  • SubjectTerms
  • Author
  • Publisher
  • PublicationTitle
  • Volume
  • Issue
  • Language
  • Notes
  • ISBN
  • ISSN
  • DOI

Boolean Operators

Summon™ offers the following Boolean operations: OR, NOT and AND. The operators must be written in ALL CAPS.

By default, all terms in a search are combined with the AND operator. To expand the results set, use the OR operator “microcircuits OR nanocircuits” will return items that contain either term.

This can be combined with quoted terms such as “teacher education” OR “educator training”.

To exclude items in Summon™, use the NOT operator or “-” character before a term. When used in the following query “animal NOT dog” the results will not include the term “dog”.

Wildcard Use in Summon

Searches within Summon™ can be performed using the wildcards “?” and “*”.

The question mark (?) will match any one character and can be used to find “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”.

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


Refine your Search

Summon uses limits or refinements to enable you to refine your search. When you apply a limit your number of results gets smaller and your search gets more specific. You just click on the text of the limit to apply it.

refine searchSome popular refinements are:

  • Library Catalog (limits your search to items on the library shelves)
  • Full Text Online (The full journal or e-book)
  • peer review
  • Content Type - Book/eBook (your will get print and eBooks in your results only)
  • Content Type - Journal Article
  • Content Type - More (clicking on more will bring up a huge list of different content types from standards to images, websites and datasets.
  • Date- you can drag the date widget or use the calender input boxes
  • Subject Terms (These are like hash tags in twitter)- uses database provider subject headings as well as library catalogue subject headings.

Make your own widget

If you would like to embed a customized summon search engine on your website or on Moodle, use this page to build your widget. We can also do it for you if you like. See the examples below:

Last Updated February 17, 2016