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Summon FAQ and Help

What is Summon?

Summon is a simple and fast library 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.

Does Summon Search All Library Databases?

No. The content of some of our databases cannot be discovered in Summon, whereas other databases or datasets provide only partial content results when searched within Summon. For example, records from Kanopy and some EBSCOhost collections are not in Summon. However, content is constantly added to the central discovery index.


What Are Good Uses for Summon?

Using Summon as a starting point of your search is a great way to get a feel for the amount and types of sources you may find.

Summon also offers a quick way to find a known source if you know a full or partial title. However, remember that Summon does NOT include the entire content of the databases the libraries subscribe to.

When Should I Not Use Summon?

There are currently some cases when Summon is not the best resource to use, such as:

  • When you need to use highly controlled vocabulary or search terms
  • When you are searching for historical newspaper articles
  • When you are looking for country, company and industry reports, typically found in business databases, and
  • When you are looking for legal research, specifically legal journal titles, case reports and legislation.

Modified from Summon Help (Ohio Wesleyan University)

Do I Need to Login to Use Summon?

Access to Summon is available only to the UC students, faculty, and staff. You will be prompted to login for access with your UC ID + password and Duo two-factor authentication.

What If I Get No Hits or Irrelevant Results?

For failed searches Summon provides spelling suggestions.

To improve your search results, please see Summon Search Tips and Tips for Online Searching.

Please remember that not everything we license is included in Summon. Browse our databases. Not sure which database to use? Try our Research Guides or ask a librarian.

How Can I Refine My Search?

The Advanced Search screen offers a number of ways to limit your search:

  • add terms to appear in a certain part of the record (title, author, subject terms, and more)
  • select a date range
  • limit results to scholarly materials, peer-reviewed items, items available online in full text or items in the library catalog
  • exclude certain formats newspaper articles, book reviews or dissertations) from results.

You can also refine your search after you submit it and display results (see "The facets pane" in Summon Look and Features and  How do I work with search results?)

Do Search Refinements Apply to Future Searches?

Yes, your filters will apply to future searches. You can clear selected filters by clicking "X" or remove them all by clicking "Clear all."


How Do I Work with Search Results?

  • Click "Relevance" if you want to change sorting. For example, if you want to see most recent items first, select "Date )newest)."

Summon sorting options drop-down menu

  • Select one or more options in the facets pane to refine your search.

Refinements and facets

  • Hover over the preview icon to display the preview..

Quick look button and display

  • For online items click on the title or full text link to get to full text. There may be additional links pointing to the full text and/or the PDF.

Result with links to full text

  • Click the "Save item" icon to save the item to a temporary folder, where you can select a citation style, email your items, or export them to a bibliographic management program, such as EasyBib, EndNote, RefWorks, etc.

Result with save icon

How Long Do Saved items Stay in the Folder?

Any saved items will be available for the duration of your search session. You may lose items in your folder after a long period of inactivity.
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.

What Сitation Styles Does the Citation Formatter Support?

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

  • AGLC3
  • AGPS Press - Style Manual, 6th Edition
  • AMA (American Medical Association)
  • APA (American Psychological Association, 7th Edition)
  • Chicago (17th): Notes & Bibliography
  • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date
  • Harvard
  • IEEE
  • MLA (Modern Languages Association)
  • Oxford Style
  • Uniform (Medicine)

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

Please remember to check your references for accuracy. Use the online guide Citing Your Sources for references.

What if I Cannot Access Full Text?

If clicking on item the title or "online Full Text" link does not take you to the online version, you may need to look for other ways of getting a copy.
When an article is not available online, the link reads "Citation Online" instead of "Full Text Online."

Search result for an article with no online full test

Click on the article title or "Citation Online" link to display information about the article. Click on the "See Other Access Options" icon.

Item details with an icon for other access options

You will see a screen that lists various options for searching for the item in print or requesting it.
Please check the library catalog to see if UCL has the volume and issue of the journal where the article was published before you place the interlibrary loan (ILLiad) request!

Options for getting text or help

What Browsers Are Supported?

Certified Browsers

  • Google Chrome
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Mozilla Firefox

Browsers for Mobile Devices

  • MSIE 8+

  • Firefox 22+

  • Safari 5+

  • Chrome 29+

Troubleshooting contact

If you are having trouble accessing an online resource in Summon, please copy the link and send to for assistance as shown in the screen shot below:

box to report a problem accessing a specific resource in Summon

Who wrote this guide

University of Cincinnati Libraries

PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033

Phone: 513-556-1424

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