Summon Update on 12/15/16 - Highlights

Summon Update on 12/15/16 - Highlights
Spencer Lamm
December 14, 2016

On Wednesday, December 15th, the vendor for Summon will roll out a number of improvements that will enhance your searching experience. See below for details.

Improved relevance through subject term boosts.
This update will include a new relevance algorithm that assigns a higher relevance to subject terms. Previously subject terms were given similar treatment to other metadata found within the record; now subject terms are given a boost more similar to how Title or Author are treated.

Search query expansion improvements
Summon improves results by 'expanding' your query to include related synonyms. For example, a search on 'heart attack' will automatically include 'myocardial infarction'. With this update, Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) have been added as possible terms for expanding queries. Now a search for “bionanotechnology” will be expanded to include results for "nanobiotechnology" since "bionanotechnology" is a variant of "nanobiotechnology". And “science of language” will be expanded to include results for “linguistics” since “science of language” is a variant of “linguistics.” See below for a current example:

Search Query Expansion Example

Summon will also use LCSH "qualifying terms" to expand search queries. For example, when "optimization" is paired with the qualifying term “linguistics” Summon will recognize that as a variant of “optimality theory”. With the update, Summon will look for "optimization" and the qualifier “linguistics” and will perform expansion only if both terms are present in the query.


  • optimization >> no expansion
  • optimization engineering >> no expansion
  • optimization linguistics >> search expanded to include results for "optimality theory"
  • linguistics optimization >> search expanded to include results for "optimality theory"

Database Recommender Improvements
Summon's database recommender analyzes a user’s result list to provide recommendations to databases that are relevant to those results. With this update, all databases the Libraries subscribe to will be available as recommendations. Library staff will review this list after the update to ensure effectiveness.
Database Recommender Example
Topic Explorer Relevance Improvements
This update will improve the reliability and frequency of topic matching to provide more relevant topic recommendations.

Topic Explorer Example