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What is Summon?

Summon is a new kind of database or library search engine that includes records for books, articles, conference proceedings, theses and dissertations, videos, music, images, manuscripts, standards, maps, and more. We have added all the records from Addison, the library's catalog, to Summon. It indexes citations from over 80% of the journals to which we subscribe. It also has records from other publishers, government agencies, database providers, and the numerous other libraries that participate in Summon. A single search in Summon can return records from all of these sources. It can be related to Google Scholar, though Summon has many advantages over Google Scholar. 

Advantages in using Summon...

  • Searching is fast, easy, and uses a familiar interface—it's almost like Google
  • Search results include citations of many kinds of sources: books, journal articles, newspaper articles, conference proceedings, dissertations, photos, multimedia, and much more
  • Search results can be quickly narrowed by using the facets: content type, library location, subject terms, publication date, language, and more
  • Search results can be limited to scholarly or peer-reviewed sources with one click
  • Searches can include materials that are not part of the Virginia Tech Libraries' collections, but which can easily be requested through our interlibrary loan service
  • Summon interfaces closely with Get VText to identify which resources are available in full text (limiting to full text in most databases eliminates results that are available as full text from other sources)
  • Summon provides a search interface optimized for smart phones
  • Citations in your search results can be viewed in six commonly used citation formats (APA, AMA, MLA, Uniform, Chicago, and Harvard), exported to EndNote or Flow, emailed, and printed
  • RSS feeds are automatically created for any search you run; subscribe to a feed to receive notification when new search results meet your criteria
  • Summon is not restricted to Virginia Tech users; anyone (including alumni) can search the database, but access to full-text, subscribed resources does require users be on the campus network or use Off Campus Sign In

...But keep in mind

  • Summon includes many, many resources, but not everything the Virginia Tech Libraries subscribe to
  • Comprehensive searches on a topic require using subject-specific databases
  • Vague or short searches will return too many results; searches using well-refined search terms or phrases in quotes will return fewer, more refined results


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