13 September 2010 News Releases

The Summon™ Service Passes the 100 Customer Mark

Serials Solutions, a business unit of ProQuest, announced today that more than 100 customers have adopted the Summon™ web-scale discovery service.

Sept. 13, 2010 – Seattle – Serials Solutions, a business unit of ProQuest, announced today that more than 100 customers have adopted the Summon™ web-scale discovery service. This milestone was achieved in just one year, validating that the Summon™ service meets the most pressing needs of libraries.

The Summon™ service, which has been embraced by universities around the world, was introduced in January 2009 as, “What libraries have been dreaming of,” said Michael Gersch, senior vice president and general manager of Serials Solutions. “Serials Solutions began selling Summon in July 2009 and found it addresses librarians’ and patrons’ demands for a simple entry point to the vastness of library collections. The results of the past year validate that designing and building a product specifically to address this need was the right approach for the market.”

One of the key attributes that differentiates the Summon™ service from other discovery solutions is that it is the only solution that exclusively features a comprehensive, single unified index. It goes beyond federated search by providing access to the full breadth of a library’s content. Search results from the Summon™ service are content neutral, and ranked only on their relevancy.


“Academic and research librarians have long sought a simple, easy, fast and fully-customizable interface that reaches across the breadth of collections of scholarly material – whether that material is owned by the library, subscription-based, openly available or able to be borrowed,” said Joseph Lucia with Villanova University. “Summon enables our students and faculty to discover and access resources quickly that have been hidden for too long in obscure silos. It increases the relevance and utility of the library research experience for the Web generation.”

Economic Impact

Gersch predicts the Summon™ service will continue to have a significant economic impact on libraries. “Academic and research libraries have extensive collections with more digital content being licensed each year,” he said. “Some librarians state that since the implementation of the Summon service in their libraries, use of certain journals has increased more than 100 percent. ARL member libraries who have implemented Summon have experienced an even greater average return.”


“Summon is providing us with a unique opportunity to streamline the discovery-to-delivery process for our users,” said Anne Prestamo, associate dean for collection and technology services with Oklahoma State University Libraries. “There is no point in licensing content, if library users cannot find the information they need. Summon simplifies discovery so that more of our collection can be utilized. As a result, we have been able to maximize the return on our substantial investment in full-text content and authoritative databases.”

Research conducted in the development of the Summon™ service identified that while libraries spend the bulk of their annual budgets on developing their collections, most libraries’ materials are not used to their fullest because researchers simply don’t know where to start or how to navigate their vast collections. The Summon™ service removes the barrier by helping users discover the resources that have been so carefully selected by the library staff. Grand Valley State University’s research into the impact of the Summon™ service on user behavior demonstrates an increased use of its library resources by students ranging from 50% to 150%.

John Shipp, university librarian with University of Sydney concurs. “We purchased the Summon discovery service to elevate the profile of the library by making our most important asset – our collections – easily discovered and accessed. The decision was part of a strategy to show that despite difficult economic times the library was innovative and improving the use of scarce resources. In the past twelve months, Summon has replaced the catalog as the prime means of accessing the collection. Praise from users has been overwhelming.”

Guiding Product Principles

The mission of the Summon™ service is to deliver high-quality library content in a search environment as simple, easy, fast and familiar as the Open Web. It was built for web-scale discovery and, like web search engines, employs a single search index in order to provide the coverage, speed and relevance that 21st century researchers demand. Hybrid solutions, which utilize multiple indices whether through blending or federating results, inherently sacrifice global speed and relevance.

Another key differentiator of the Summon™ discovery service is that it is the most customizable and configurable option for libraries. The service was created so that libraries can transform the user experience to meet the researchers’ needs. Libraries have the ability to customize the Summon™ service and seamlessly integrate it into their particular environment, such as with scoped search boxes or using the Summon™ service API to integrate unified results into their existing next generation catalog interfaces or other library applications. 

Serials Solutions works with all content providers to receive metadata to include in the Summon™ service index. Unlike its competition, Serial Solutions uses a match and merge process to create a super record. In the match and merge process, Serials Solutions normalizes, corrects and de-duplicates records. It is this super record that creates the enhanced metadata for better discovery.


“It is extremely satisfying to know that Summon has resonated so well with libraries the world over, from small community libraries to large-scale university academic and research institutions,” concludes Stan Sorensen, vice president product management and marketing with Serials Solutions. “This kind of comprehensive, integrated discovery tool not only simplifies research for users, but is a benefit for libraries that want to get more out of their collection investment and publishers who want to drive greater use of their content.”

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’ comprehensive suite of discovery tools and management services helps improve access to and use of collections, eases librarian workloads and ultimately reduces operating costs. Solutions include: 360, the only complete and integrated e-resource access and management solution; KnowledgeWorks, the authoritative e-resource knowledgebase and foundation for Serials Solutions 360; Ulrich’s, the world’s most authoritative source of bibliographic and publisher information for serials and the most comprehensive source of print and electronic serials data available; AquaBrowser®, a discovery layer that makes navigation more accessible; and most recently the Summon™ web-scale discovery service, a world-class tool that provides instant access to the full breadth of the library’s collection through a single search.

Serials Solutions is a business unit of ProQuest LLC.