Summon 2.0: more languages and discovery tools

Summon 2.0 was announced recently offering many new features. ACCESS emailed John Law, Vice President of Discovery Solutions, Serials Solutions to find out more. 

What’s unique for this update?

Summon 2.0 offers new features and a new modern, streamlined interface for the Summon® discovery service.  Streamlined navigation and contextual guidance provide a rich research experience for both novice and experienced researchers including librarians, who will value the new ways of engaging with users. Summon Topic Explorer™ highlights relevant encyclopedia entries, guiding users through the research process including providing recommendations to related topics and the library’s research guides.

John Law, Vice President of Discovery Solutions, Serials Solutions

John Law, Vice President of Discovery Solutions, Serials Solutions

Summon Scholar Profiles™ instantly matches   users’ searches to key authors to boost relevance and encourages exploratory author searching within and across disciplines. Automated Query Expansion™ ensures that users don’t miss relevant content. So if they search “heart attack” their query expands to include the synonym “myocardial infarction.”

Libraries invest a lot of money on different technologies such as federated search and link resolvers. Do you cooperate with services from different vendors?

Yes. We already work closely with vendors of other technologies to integrate our services with theirs. A good example is our recent announcement detailing collaboration with OCLC to enhance library discovery for users of services from both organizations.  We are also active in several standards organizations and their working groups such as KBART and NISO’s Open Discovery Initiative (ODI).  

What’s your support for resources in languages?

The Summon interface offers advanced native language searching for 17 languages.  The Summon interface is available in 32 languages and dialects including both simplified and traditional Chinese, Japanese and Arabic. We also work closely with publishers to build and maintain a single index that exposes content in many languages.  So in past several months we’ve announced content from Apabi, JAMAS, AskZad and Hyweb Technology in the Summon service.

How is Summon different from other discovery services?

Unlike other discovery services, the Summon service is the first and only discovery service based on a unified index of content, leveraging its unique “match and merge” technology to combine rich metadata and full text from multiple sources to ultimately make items more discoverable.

The Summon index now contains more than 1.1 billion items normalized and mapped to a common schema which allows results to be returned as a single, unified results set.  This approach moves users beyond searching siloes of content and ensures that all content has an equal chance of being discovered without bias toward publisher, vendor or format.

The combination of a unified index and a unified result set impacts just about every factor that’s important to a discovery service.   Features such as speed, unbiased relevance ranking, dynamic user display options, granularity of facets, ease of navigation across result sets, ability to pre-scope searches, discipline-scoped searching, recommendations and suggested searches, data-driven design features and important contextual guidance are all possible in the Summon service because of its unique system architecture.

The discovery engine market has several competing products.   How does Summon compare to them?  

The Summon service was built to purpose around a single unified index; it is not an extension of an existing product. The Summon unified index is larger than that of any discovery service and includes the richest possible metadata including full text for most discoverable items.  Offered as true Software as a Service (Saas), libraries do not need to install or maintain local hardware and the Summon service can be implemented quickly and is easy to maintain.  This provides several advantages including relevancy, speed of results, ease of navigation and customization options the latter without the need for staff with technical skills.

How do librarians contribute to a better service?   

Librarians offer localized recommendations, automated search guidance, and live reference help within the Summon discovery environment. In addition to being able to locally control the Summon experience for their own users, the Summon service’s unique architecture allows libraries to contribute to and benefit from “community-sourced” recommendations. The collaborative global Summon community provides valuable input to the ongoing development and adoption of the Summon service through active listservs, user groups and participation in development advisory groups.

Can librarians volunteer to be on your panel to debate improvements and new features?

They can. All librarians using the Summon service are encouraged to provide feedback through our listservs and user groups, as well as communicating directly with us.  Because we develop Summon via an agile method – we are able to be very responsive to all of our customers and deliver new releases and enhancements every 3 to 4 weeks.  Our rapid pace of innovation sets us apart from our competition and minimizes the need to have customers/librarians prioritizing improvements.  Summon can be responsive to all customers.

How customizable is the Summon interface?

The Summon service offers libraries flexibility and makes customization easy to achieve for any library regardless of staff size and resources.  This is possible because the Summon service is a built to purpose discovery engine that revolves around a single unified index of content and relies on a powerful API that is inherent to the service. Libraries can use the API to build their own custom interfaces or feed Summon results into custom applications without the need for investing in massive amounts of local hardware, developers or staff time. There are links to examples in our recent blog post.  Catalogs, institutional repositories, digital collections and research guides can all be indexed in the Summon service to make this valuable and unique content discoverable alongside subscription e-content collections.  Our administrative tools provide efficient ways of customizing how local catalog records are mapped to match a library’s specifications.

Where can a librarian go online for a true Summon experience?

It is easy to see the Summon service in action since academic library sites are open to anyone to search.  But this is a challenging question to answer because every Summon installation reflects a library’s unique collections, content and customizations.  To see a library using the “out of the box” Summon interface, visit Peking University, Bukkyo University or James Cook University.  If you wish to see some of the innovative and creative things being done with the Summon service, visit University of Michigan (ArticlesPlus tab). Brown University or Princeton University.

What is the biggest library system that Summon has integrated with so far?

A typical Summon implementation is 8-10 weeks even for the largest library system.  We work with some of the largest research libraries around the world including more than 30 percent of the Association of Research Libraries in North America and 50 percent of the Group of Eight libraries in Australia.  In Asia we have worked closely with Peking University and they have been a great partner in helping us implement specially tuned Chinese relevancy ranking and other Chinese interface features.  Although not the biggest Summon site, Peking University has over 340 million discoverable items that are scoped to the library’s collections.  Of these items, more than 1.5 million records are represented in the library’s catalogue.

Any comments on Summon vs. Google Scholar?

The Summon service and Google Scholar both allow users to search quickly across a huge amount of academic information. They index different content, with some overlap, and rank relevance in substantially different ways. Summon results can be scoped to content that is specifically licensed by the library which ensures that users actually have access to the full text of the content they discover.  The Summon service allows libraries to brand the search service as belonging to the library so that users associate quality, authoritative results with the library/university that is paying for the content.  And of course the Summon service offers several functional advantages, including the ability to find articles alongside books and other digital resources, limit and refine searches with powerful faceting options for content type, subject, language, and more.

How important to the Summon team is the Asia Pacific region?

ProQuest is committed to serving the Asia Pacific region with a complete and compelling discovery experience expressly designed to meet the needs and expectations of today’s users.  The Summon service was recently awarded the Most Innovative Technology of the Year at the Asia Digital Publishing Summit and Awards (ADPSA). The award recognizes companies who have demonstrated an unparalleled ability to succeed and have continually set standards of excellence.

Summon 2.0 will be released in June 2013.