Summon searching: a how-to guide (part 2)

Today our peer mentor continues looking at how to search Summon effectively. Part one here.

Hello again! Welcome to the second half of the series on Summon. Previously, we looked at how to utilise Summon to search for journal articles using different filters. While those tips are essential to find reliable results, there is a second part that will also benefit your searches on Summon. This is the Advanced Search.

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This is what the Advanced Search page looks like. We will go through the different sections step by step.

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1. Field Search

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If you click on the drop-down menu at ‘All fields’ you will get a variety of options to choose from. The ones you’ll need to use most are under Basic. Typing in a search term and selecting a field such as ‘Author’ or ‘Title’ can be useful when searching for a specific article or articles by a specific author. However, if you are conducting a general search then I would recommend leaving it on ‘All fields’ so your search term will be covered throughout all areas of each article/item.


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Clicking on the drop-down menu at ‘AND’ will give you two more options to select, ‘OR’ and ‘NOT’. ‘AND’ is to be used when you are using several search terms and would like then all to be included within the results. ‘NOT’ is used if you know of and are sure of a term you do not want to see in your articles. For example, I may want to search for articles on Project Management but I do not need to look at the economics, so I would add that search term and select ‘NOT’ to make sure that the articles that are return are not on the economics of project management. Finally, ‘OR’ should be used when you do not mind if only some of your search terms are contained within the results. This gives you the opportunity to widen your research.

3. Extra Rows for terms.

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If you are using more than four specific terms in your search, you can always click to add another row.

4. Filters.

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Finally, you can adjust the filters to your search. This is exactly the same as those shown in the previous blog post, just in a different order, so you should be familiar with those. But just in case here’s a quick recap:

  • Select a publication date range in the last 3 years. *Adjust as necessary.
  • Under Content Type click Journal Article.
  • Click, Full Text Online and Scholarly and Peer Reviewed.

Also, there are a couple of options that have not been covered previously.

  • You can select the language that the article is written in.
  • You can exclude newspaper articles, book reviews and dissertations from the search using tick boxes.
  • You can include results outside of the BCU collection by using the tick box. For this search, it is recommended that you do not tick this box.

Once you have selected the appropriate features you can go ahead and click on search.

To conclude, once Summon has returned the results you can follow the final step in the previous blog post to select ‘Subject’ and ‘Discipline’ to narrow your search even further. This, of course, depends on the amount of results returned by Summon. Thus, this is a more detailed way of defining the range of your search with Summon. In combination of the previous article this has given you a detailed introduction to the advanced features of Summon and I hope that you find this beneficial in your own research.

Remember, if you have any questions or queries regarding Summon, you can book a Peer Support Session with myself or you can book a Tutorial with a Librarian from the link below.

See you soon!

Isaac Paul
Library Peer Mentor
Learning, Teaching & Research Services

To book a Peer Support Session or a Tutorial with a Librarian go to: