02 June 2010 News Releases

New University Study Shows Summon™ Has a Significant Impact

An analysis of resource usage conducted at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University shows that the library’s implementation of the Summon™ web scale discovery service has had a significant impact on how students connect to content.

June 2, 2010 (SEATTLE) —An analysis of resource usage conducted at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University (GVSU) shows that the library’s implementation of the Summon™ web scale discovery service has had a significant impact on how students connect to content and the type of content they use.  The Summon™ service was introduced by Serials Solutions last year, enabling library users to search the breadth of library collections in a single search. Serials Solutions is a business unit of ProQuest. 

Led by GVSU’s Head of Collection Development Doug Way, the library compared year- over-year use of databases, journals, and link-resolvers before and after the Summon™ implementation.  Results show:

  • Summon™ is enabling students to go directly to full text, boosting the use of a variety of databases. For example, Academic Search Premier saw a usage increase of 92% and ABI/INFORM rose 354%.

  • Journal usage is up significantly. Before Summon™, the use of individual journals in which the library had invested was generally going down.  However, after Summon™‘s implementation at the close of August 2009, GVSU’s top 100 journals showed an average increase in usage of 48% and the top 1000 had increased usage of 82%. 

  • Increased usage occurs even for databases from content providers that are not participating in the Summon™ service, a result of the service’s indexing of the same content from alternate sources.

  • Summon™ is having an impact on the type of content students are choosing. For example, the library has seen a significant increase in the use of newspaper content.

“They’re using newspaper content heavily, but they’re discerning about what they use,” said Way.  The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal along with GVSU’s local newspaper top the list of most used newspaper sources.  “Because Summon integrates books into the search results, students are seeing what we have on the shelves that can help their research.  We’re really impressed and happy to see students using our great print resources,” said Way.

Way presented the library’s findings at a webinar entitled “The Success of Web-Scale Discovery in Returning Net-Gen Users to the Library,” which was hosted by Serials Solutions and Library Journal.

GVSU is among the scores of libraries around the world which are embracing web scale discovery as their path to bringing students and faculty back to the library as the starting point for research. The first and only available web scale discovery service, Summon™ was built from scratch using an entirely new technology architecture that delivers a search experience rivaling those found on the Open Web. Rather than federated search, the Summon™ service is powered by a massive single unified index that pre-harvests content from 94,000 journals from 6,800 content providers. Despite the size of the index, the technology enables sub-second searches and true relevancy ranking across all of this content, delivering unbiased results. 

Called “absolutely fantastic1,” “superb2” and “the best method3” by students around the world, the Summon™ service can transform a library’s search experience in a proven, six-week set-up.  The service provides simplicity and portability (with a new mobile interface) for users and exposes the breadth of the library’s content, allowing more resources to be discovered – a boon for libraries, who want to get more from collection investments, and publishers, who want to drive greater usage.  To learn more visit Summon


1 Unsolicited feedback from student Heather H. at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.

2 Unsolicited feedback from student Ellis P. “Your loyal Summon fan” at University of Calgary, Canada.

3 Unsolicited feedback from student at University of Liverpool, UK.

About Serials Solutions

Founded by a librarian for librarians in 2000, Serials Solutions is the global leader in E-Resource Access and Management Services (ERAMS) that serves more than 3,000 libraries of all sizes and types. Serials Solutions® KnowledgeWorks, the authoritative e-resource knowledgebase, is the foundation for Serials Solutions® 360, the only complete and integrated e-resource access and management solution. The company also recently introduced the Summon™ web-scale discovery service, a revolutionary tool that provides instant access to the full breadth of the library’s collection through a single search.


Serials Solutions is the primary source for the AquaBrowser® discovery layer as well as Ulrichsweb.com™ and Ulrich’s Serials Analysis System™.  It provides fast implementation, easy customization, and outstanding value to libraries throughout the world.

Serials Solutions is a business unit of ProQuest LLC.

About ProQuest

ProQuest creates specialized information resources and technologies that propel successful research, discovery, and lifelong learning.  A global leader in serving libraries of all types, ProQuest offers the expertise of such respected brands as UMI®, Chadwyck-Healey™, SIRS®, and eLibrary®. With Serials Solutions®, Ulrich’s™, RefWorks®, COS™, Dialog® and now Bowker® part of the ProQuest brand family, the company supports the breadth of the information community with innovative discovery solutions that power the business of books and the best in research experience. 

More than a content provider or aggregator, ProQuest is an information partner, creating indispensable research solutions that connect people and information. Through innovative, user-centered discovery technology, ProQuest offers billions of pages of global content that includes historical newspapers, dissertations, and uniquely relevant resources for researchers of any age and sophistication—including content not likely to be digitized by others. Inspired by its customers and their end users, ProQuest is working toward a future that blends information accessibility with community to further enhance learning and encourage lifelong enrichment.

For more information, visit http://www.proquest.com.