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  • January 30, 2013: Summon functionality (online comment box)

    It would be nice if, in Summon, I could sort results by "Most cited".

    We can certainly pass this suggestion on to the Summon developers. Summon does include citation counts as a criteria in its relevance ranking--higher citation counts tend to have a higher relevance and thus appear higher in the list. Remember that citation counts only show for journals indexed in Web of Science, which is a fraction of all the journals indexed in Summon.
    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries

  • January 31, 2013: Kindle options for ebooks (online comment box)

    Could you add e-books in Kindle e-book format in your collection? Other libraries have started doing so and it would be nice to be able to check out an e-book from my college library and read it on my Kindle. Thanks.

    Our library now has an e-preferred policy with regard to new book purchases.  We also have an array of equipment available for checkout (See electronic equipment loans at  The e-books that we buy are designed to be able to be used on as wide a range of systems as possible.  The Kindle e-book format is a proprietary format for their devices.  Fortunately the Kindle supports a range of other file types.  If needed there are programs available that will convert from a wide range of files to those that Kindle recognizes. One such application is Calibre ( but there are others that have similar functionality.

    Edward Lener
    Associate Director for Collection Management

  • February 6, 2013: Broken link (online comment box)

    The web page, contains a broken asp reference in the EndNote Output Style Guide.

    The link has been updated. Note that the output style has not been updated since 2009; if you have any recent version of EndNote installed, it came with this style.
    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries

  • February 18, 2013: Smell on 4th floor (online comment box)

    4th floor smells awful. needs trash pick up. smells like a bunch of smelly dudes. it's gross.

    Last week Newman Library went through some lengthy shut-downs of our air system, which was necessary in order to repair many leaks in our plumbing throughout the building, as well as the tie-in to the HVAC for the new classroom.  The system didn’t come back online until Friday at around 3:45pm, so at the time of this comment the air in the building was still stale from the shutdown.  This morning’s building inspection revealed that there are still pockets of stale air in the building, so we will continue to monitor the air system to make sure all is functioning properly.

    Regarding trash pick-up, inspections of the building last week did reveal problems with trash pick-up on the 4th floor, and in other areas of the building.  The inspection of 4th this morning indicated that the issues on that floor have been resolved.

    Dennis Herron
    Director of Facilities & Purchasing Operations

  • March 21, 2013: Too many duplicate results in Summon (online comment box)

    Why so many duplicate entries when I run a query such as I really have no way of knowing which I should choose. It is very confusing as the only substantial thing I can see that is different is the ISBN.

    As the ISBN is the primary way ebooks are distinguished, because the publisher is providing different ones for what is clearly the same book, Summon cannot easily de-duplicate these records. So in this case, as far as Summon is concerned, it is a very substantial difference.

    For this search, the first three results are for the same book, and we can report that back to Summon so they can clean up their records.

    Knowing how to evaluate which are useful results in Summon is an important step--use the preview icon (the magnifying glass) to see more details on each result. You'll notice that one has a much longer abstract/summary for this book (they also list two slightly different publishers--I guess the publisher does not know what their name is).

    Still, choose any of those first three links, you'll end up on the same Safari ebook.

    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries

  • April 9, 2013: PID request for alumni portal (online comment box)

    I would like to access the data base portal.  I am an alumni, but I don't know what a PID is - how do I determine that?  And how do I set up a password as there is no place at the portal to 'register'?  Thanks.

    Your PID is your "Personal Identification" which all current students at Tech have assigned to them when they enroll (depending on when you graduated, your PID may have expired or you may not have had one assigned when you were here).  Information on how to create a PID is available at as well as contact information if you need additional assistance.  

    Please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.
    Kyrille DeBose
    College Librarian

  • April 11, 2013: Book suggestion (online comment box)

    I was unable to find the book "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp in your collections. This surprised me because it is an extremely popular book that has been on the New York Times bestseller list for some time. I think it would be a great book to add to your collections.

    Thank you for the suggestion of this book.  I've forwarded your message to Purdom Lindblad, who is our subject librarian with the area of expertise that most closely matches the content of this work.  You can also use the "suggest a purchase" form when you find materials you think should be a part of Tech's library collection.

    Thank you,
    Kyrille DeBose
    College Librarian

  • April 18, 2013: Rude service (online comment box)

    Hi--I went to the circulation desk at the Newman Library, and needed to pick up some books that were being held for me. The person working the front desk was brusque to the point of rudeness, interrupting and basically shoving the books at me. I could tell as I was waiting that this person was frazzled; however, I don't think this person should've been treating patrons that way. Thanks.

    I'm sorry about your library experience.  I'll look into this matter today. Please accept my apology for the staff member's negative attitude.   If I can help with anything else please let me know.

    Thanks-Brenda Pratt
    Circulation Supervisor

  • July 10, 2013: Suggestion for exporting items out of Summon (online comment box)

    I really like the ability to collect items within Summon and then email or print them.  Without logging into my library account!  The email version though did not list call numbers, just a long link to a reference.  The printed version did contain the reference call numbers.  If possible, it would be nice to have the ability to sort and/or highlight the list by call number and show if the item were available or not.

    At any rate, it is a very good system and easier to use than before.  Thank you!

    The email version uses a simpler template to account for the variety of citations/formats that could appear in your list (books, articles, conference papers, online videos, etc). It also uses that persistent link (they start with because of the volatile nature of Summon's indexed content (an article you add to your list today may fall out of our subcriptions tomorrow). But that persistent link will always show the latest access we have (online, in print, or via interlibrary loan). Thus they don't want to show a call number for a book that may not be part of our collection in the future.

    Sorting lists and displaying current availability are great suggestions and I'll put those in as a feature request. Summon 2.0 is due later this summer, and we'll see several new and enhanced features once it roll out.
    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries

  • November 26, 2013: Article access issue in Summon (online comment box)

    Just today I've ran into a lot of publications that say they have full text available (via Summon), but when I click on them it takes me to an error page saying how the DOI is invalid:

    Is this a bug that needs to be fixed?  Not sure if you're currently working on this.  I've never run into this issue before (in over a year).

    Thank you.


    The Summon provider is aware of this issue and I'd working on a fix (the DOI URL is double encoded, resulting in the %252F where the middle slash should appear). They are working on a fix, but I'm not sure how quickly it will be in place with the holiday. 

    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries


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