Frequently Asked Questions
Summon searches most of the journal, magazine, and newspaper resources available through library databases, as well as the Classic Catalog, the Syracuse University Digital Collections, and the SURFACE repository. Other types of materials such as dissertations and theses, and library Research Guides are also included. Summon also searches the full-text content of the SU Libraries' e-book collections and Google Books.
- Includes articles, books, journals, maps, sound recordings, archival materials, government documents, and more.
- Use for searching for articles.
- Users can narrow or expand results using multiple search refinements.
For more information on library resources and their coverage percentages in Summon, please refer to our Summon Coverage Table.
All users can search Summon. However, some resources require users to login with their SU NetID and password, as they are only licensed for authorized Syracuse University affiliates. For more information on borrowing privileges and computer access, please visit our Borrowing page.
- Type the title of the book into the search box. Try using quotation marks around the words in the title if you’re not finding the book. For example, “Solar Cells and Light Management: Materials, Strategies and Sustainability”.
- If you’re still having trouble, in the left column of the search results, under Content Type, click on Book/eBook.
- Another strategy could be to search for a portion of the title, because a special character or variation in the title could be throwing off the search. For example, “Solar Cells and Light Management”. You could also try adding in the author or editor’s last name, “Solar Cells and Light Management” and Enrichi.
- If you’re still not finding the book, try checking the box at the top right of the search results “Add results beyond Syracuse University Library's collection”. It’s possible that we don’t own the book and you may need to order it from another library using Interlibrary Loan.
- If this happens, try a different route to access the article by going through the Journal Locator and searching for the title of the journal or publication, and not the title of the individual article itself. If we have online access to that journal, the title will show up in the search results and include details for how to access it. Under the Journal Details, look at the date range(s) listed and match it to the publication date of the article you’re trying to find, then click on the link next to the publication date. This should take you to the journal page where you can search for the title of your article, or drill down by year, volume, issue number to find the article you need.
- If you can’t access the article through the Full Text Online link and are unsuccessful finding it through the Journal Locator, reach out to our Ask Us service to report the problem and get help accessing the article.
- It’s possible that SU Libraries does not subscribe to the journal that the article is published in. If this happens, you can request a copy of the article through our Interlibrary Loan service.
Creating effective searches and choosing relevant search terms is a complex process, and is different for every information need. First, you can try some of the tips below, but we suggest also contacting our Ask Us! Service or your subject librarian to get more personalized help.
- Refine your search using facets, listed to the left of your search results
- "Peer Reviewed" -- limits sources to peer-reviewed journals
- "Content type" -- this facet controls whether your search results include or exclude source types such as books/ebooks, streaming audio, newspaper articles, etc. Click on “more” to see all content types, and click the checkboxes to include or exclude the content types from your search
- Publication date – drag the date slider to limit to current research (published in the most recent 5-10 years), or select a specific date range of older materials if you want to find what was written about a topic in the past (often useful for news articles about specific events)
- Subject terms and area of study – limits sources to a specific subject field. If you’re searching for “salsa,” do you want dancing or food?
- Try using quotation marks around keywords that are a phrase. For example:
- global warming without quotation marks will find all records that have green and building, but not necessarily beside each other.
- "global warming" with quotation marks will find only records that have the exact phrase "global warming"
- Try the Advanced Search.
The Classic Catalog is the main inventory of books, journal titles (print and online), media, and other documents held in the Syracuse University Libraries' collections. It contains over 4.9 million records.
The Classic Catalog provides more control over which field you are searching, allowing you to search by author, title, call number, location, etc., alone or in combination with each other, and to browse by subject headings (e.g., "United States -- Politics and government -- Twentieth century").
Summon is a search engine that searches every record in the Classic Catalog, plus scholarly and newspaper articles from many of our subscription databases such as ProQuest, plus SU Libraries digital collections, plus many other sources.
Summon excels at quick keyword searches (what does the library have on this topic?) and lookups ("does the library own this?"), and at providing a comprehensive view of all types of information that are accessible to you.
There are many different reasons why you may not be able to access the full text of an article:
- There may be an error in the citation.
- Not all publishers can specify Year, Volume, Issue and Starting page number from a citation
- There is no full-text version of the item available online.
- SUL does not have a subscription to the online version of the journal.
- In the case of a very recent article, the text may not yet be loaded on the publisher's website.
If this happens, try accessing the journal through the Journal Locator and searching for the e-journal directly. From there you can manually enter the Year, Volume, Issue and Starting page into the e-journal dialog, search by title or author, or go to the relevant issue and browse the list of articles. If SU does not have a subscription to the journal, you can request a copy of the article through Interlibrary Loan.
Tips for Advanced Searching
The single search box in Summon (basic search box or keyword search box in advanced search) will search across many fields automatically. For example, entering an ISBN, ISSN, or Call Number will bring back associated records.
You can search for a term in a specific field by entering the name of the field followed by a colon and the string you want to search. For example:
Fields that can be searched directly are:
- Subject Terms
- Publication Title
- The operators must be written in all capital letters to ensure that they are interpreted correctly by the system.
- In a query containing both AND and OR operators, AND is processed first, followed by OR. If a query contains parentheses, operators within parentheses are processed first, and then precedence rules are processed from left to right.
- Ampersand (&): Is equated with the appropriate word for "and" in all supported languages except Korean, Japanese, and Chinese where it is not necessary. In German "&" is treated as "UND".
When two or more terms or expressions are adjacent with no intervening Boolean operator, an AND is assumed. For example, if you search for:
you will get the same results when you search for
earthquake AND fault
To expand the results, use the OR operator. For example, if you search for:
microcircuits OR nanocircuits
your results will include items containing either term or both terms.
To search for phrases, enclose the phrase in quotes. Use any of the operators combined with phrase searches. For example, if you search for
"teacher education" OR "educator training"
your results will include either complete phrase.
To exclude items in a Summon search, use the NOT operator or minus sign (-) character before a term. For example, the query
mustang NOT animal
will exclude items that refer to the horse, but will include references to the Ford Mustang.
You can add parentheses to nest expressions within a query. For example:
(Paint OR Glass) Applied
is the same as a search for
(Paint OR Glass) AND Applied
Paint OR Glass Applied
is different. This is the same as a search for
Paint OR (Glass AND Applied)
Wildcard searches expand a search and will increase the number of results returned. Summon supports two wildcards: the question mark (?) and the asterisk (*). Wildcards cannot be used as the first character of a search.
The question mark (?) will match a single character. For instance, the search "wom?n" will find both "woman" and "women."
The asterisk (*) will match zero or more characters within a word or at the end of a word. A search for "sustainab*" will match "sustainable" and "sustainability."
Proximity searches limit result to terms within a specified number of words from each other. To perform a proximity search, enclose your search terms in quotes and use the tilde (~) followed by a number indicating the distance you want to allow between the search terms.
For example: "yeast bread"~10 finds material where "yeast" and "bread" appear within 10 words of each other.
NOTE: proximity searching does not take the order of search terms into account. In this example, the search "boron nanotubes potassium"~6 yields results in which the three search terms appear within six words of each other in any order.