On November 4, Serials Solutions had the pleasure of participating in a unique session at the 2010 Charleston Conference. The session, “EBSCO Discovery Services (EDS) v. Serials Solutions Summon Faceoff,” gave Serials Solutions an opportunity to communicate with librarians how a true discovery service can help them fulfill their mission in face of a changing research environment.
Serials Solutions’ extensive research revealed that students value the library’s resources but have a difficult time navigating the abundance of materials and databases. In response to this complexity students turn to open Web search engines like Google and Bing as the starting point for their research. Considering the money spent on collections in the face of diminishing budgets a library cannot afford to have its collections sit idle.
At the 2009 Charleston Conference David Lankes stated the “mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.”
How does Summon help librarians fulfill this mission?
Summon meets user’s expectations. It is important to go where users are and deliver the experience they want and expect. Our research told us that offering a Google-like experience is a minimum requirement for discovery. And that is what Summon does, in a deliberate and well thought through manner.
Summon was designed from the ground up to be open. There are no barriers to entry, no requirement to log on before searching. After all, how would a user feel if he or she had to log on in advance of using Google?
Summon was designed from the ground up to be easy. The Summon interface feels like the Google interface. It has a single search box that allows searching across the full breadth of the library’s collections, without requiring knowledge of or experience with a specific database interface. From the single search box a user can search across A&I, full text, institutional repositories, print collections, and LibGuides.
Summon is fast. All search results are returned in one second or less. There are no stragglers, such as those found during a federated search.
Simply put – Summon meets user’s expectations by being open, easy, and fast.
Summon is comprehensive. Imagine giving users the ability to find all kinds of library resources in a single search that really works. With Summon there is no imagination required.
Summon is not just another library interface. Because discovery is different from a content platform Summon was designed and built from scratch for the purpose of discovery, without relying on an existing database interface or federated search. Summon was also designed to scale so it can handle today’s library collections as well as those of the future.
The Summon index is a true unified index, built to maximize all sorts of library data. The index includes very rich metadata brought together from multiple sources using an innovative match-and-merge function. Match-and-merge allows Summon to take the best data from these sources and bring it together to complete a rich “super record.”
Discovery needs to be unbiased and content neutral, allowing the user to get the best results regardless of where those results are. Summon treats all content equally. Local resources can be highlighted, but Summon does not preference one content provider over another. And if the best resource is not available in the index the Summon Database Recommender will point the user to the specific location.
A real unified index that does not bias towards any particular database or content provider, all accessible through an interface designed just for discovery, makes Summon a truly comprehensive solution for discovery.
Summon delivers proven value. A discovery service needs to be reliable and hassle-free. Summon is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering that requires no management or intervention by library staff.
Libraries that have implemented Summon report real, measurable value. These libraries are not just seeing incremental growth in the use of some of the items in their collections, but increased use across their entire collections.
Because Summon was designed to be both flexible and extensible a library can customize and configure Summon to meet their specific purposes, whether that means a single search box on the library homepage or search boxes on multiple university Web pages, even integration with LibGuides.
By taking advantage of the value that Summon delivers, and the many configuration options available, a library is able to create a “digital front door” that puts the library out in front of students and faculty.
Summon meets user’s expectations. Summon is comprehensive. Summon delivers proven value. By doing this Summon connects users to the library’s digital collections, and helps librarians fulfill their mission of improving society through knowledge creation by delivering everything everywhere, to everyone.