Waiting to Unleash the Beast – ‘Summon’ …


Sharing my recent experience in leading a project team to implement our library’s new Webscale Discovery Layer (WSDL) – Summon.  For those who are not familiar with the term Webscale Discovery Layer, just imagine a search engine like Google that has the capability to search for all the library’s collection of electronic book/journal titles, e-book chapters, e-journal articles, printed titles, audio-visual titles and so forth.  Add in features such as filtering results, exporting to citation management software, emailing, printing the results and many more.  (Hope you get it …)

Part 1: Background Research

The journey towards Summon began when I was entrusted to study, explore and compare the then library’s Web Scale Discovery Layers – Innovative Encore (WSDL) against the other products available in the market.  The end-result of this study was a document that provided comparative information to the library management and IT & Systems team for next steps in evaluating and selecting the next web-scale discovery system for the KAUST library.

Some of my literature reviews:

  • Zhu, J., & Kelley, J. (2015). Collaborating to Reduce Content Gaps in Discovery: What Publishers, Discovery Service Providers, and Libraries Can Do to Close the Gaps. Science & Technology Libraries, 34(4), 315-328. doi:10.1080/0194262x.2015.1102677
  • Hanrath, S., & Kottman, M. (2015). Use and Usability of a Discovery Tool in an Academic Library. Journal of Web Librarianship, 9(1), 1-21. doi:10.1080/19322909.2014.983259
  • Deodato, J. (2015). Evaluating Web-Scale Discovery Services: A Step-by-Step Guide. Information Technology and Libraries, 34(2). doi:10.6017/ital.v34i2.5745
  • Silton, K. (2014). Assessment of Full-Text Linking in Summon: One Institution’s Approach. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 26(3), 163-169. doi:10.1080/1941126x.2014.936767
  • Pinkas, M. M., Baglivo, M. D., Klein, I. R., Brown, E., Harris, R., & Gerhart, B. (2014). Selecting and Implementing a Discovery Tool: The University of Maryland Health Sciences and Human Services Library Experience. Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries, 11(1), 1-12. doi:10.1080/15424065.2013.876574
  • Nichols, A., Billey, A., Spitzform, P., Stokes, A., & Tran, C. (2014). Kicking the Tires: A Usability Study of the Primo Discovery Tool. Journal of Web Librarianship, 8(2), 172-195. doi:10.1080/19322909.2014.903133
  • Collins, G., & Quan-Haase, A. (2014). Are Social Media Ubiquitous in Academic Libraries? A Longitudinal Study of Adoption and Usage Patterns. Journal of Web Librarianship, 8(1), 48-68. doi:10.1080/19322909.2014.873663
  • Chambers, S. (2014). Catalogue 2.0: Facet Publ.
    Cassidy, E. D., Jones, G., McMain, L., Shen, L., & Vieira, S. (2014). Student Searching with EBSCO Discovery: A Usability Study. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 26(1), 17-35. doi:10.1080/1941126x.2014.877331
    Bull, S., Craft, E., & Dodds, A. (2014). Evaluation of a Resource Discovery Service: FindIt@Bham. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 20(2), 137-166. doi:10.1080/13614533.2014.897238
  • Breeding, M. (2014). Chapter 3: References, Resources, and Appendixes. Library Technology Reports, 50(1), 53-58.
  • Breeding, M. (2014). Chapter 2: Major Discovery Product Profiles. Library Technology Reports, 50(1), 33-52.
  • Breeding, M. (2014). Chapter 1: Discovery Product Functionality. Library Technology Reports, 50(1), 5-32.
  • Way, D. (2013). The Impact of Web-scale Discovery on the Use of a Library Collection. Serials Review, 36(4), 214-220. doi:10.1080/00987913.2010.10765320
  • Foster, A. K., & MacDonald, J. B. (2013). A Tale of Two Discoveries: Comparing the Usability of Summon and EBSCO Discovery Service. Journal of Web Librarianship, 7(1), 1-19. doi:10.1080/19322909.2013.757936
  • Ellero, N. P. (2013). An Unexpected Discovery: One Library’s Experience With Web-Scale Discovery Service (WSDS) Evaluation and Assessment. Journal of Library Administration, 53(5-6), 323-343. doi:10.1080/01930826.2013.876824
  • Doğan, G., & Doğan, S. C. (2013). Evaluation of Web Discovery Services: Reflections from Turkey. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 73(0), 444-450. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.02.074
  • Wilson, K. (2012). Introducing the Next Generation of Library Management Systems. Serials Review, 38(2), 110-123. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.serrev.2012.04.003
  • Moore, K. B., & Greene, C. (2012). Choosing Discovery: A Literature Review on the Selection and Evaluation of Discovery Layers. Journal of Web Librarianship, 6(3), 145-163. doi:10.1080/19322909.2012.689602
  • Moore, K. B., & Greene, C. (2012). The Search for a New OPAC: Selecting an Open Source Discovery Layer. Serials Review, 38(1), 24-30. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.serrev.2011.12.005
  • Little, G. (2012). Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? The Evolution of the Academic Library Web Site. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 38(2), 123-125. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2012.02.005
  • Little, G. (2012). Thinking About Discovery Layers. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 38(6), 346-347. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2012.09.019
  • Kornblau, A. I., Strudwick, J., & Miller, W. (2012). How Web-Scale Discovery Changes the Conversation: The Questions Librarians Should Ask Themselves. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 19(2-4), 144-162. doi:10.1080/10691316.2012.693443
  • Johns-Smith, S. (2012). Evaluation and Implementation of a Discovery Tool. Kansas Library Association College and University Libraries Section Proceedings, 2(1), 17-23. doi:10.4148/culs.v2i0.1612
  • Jantz, R. C. (2012). Innovation in academic libraries: An analysis of university librarians’ perspectives. Library & Information Science Research, 34(1), 3-12. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lisr.2011.07.008
  • Vaughan, J. (2011). Chapter 8: For More Information. Library Technology Reports, 47(1), 60-61.
  • Vaughan, J. (2011). Chapter 7: Questions to Consider. Library Technology Reports, 47(1), 54-59.
  • Vaughan, J. (2011). Chapter 6: Differentiators and A Final Note. Library Technology Reports, 47(1), 48-53.
  • Vaughan, J. (2011). Chapter 5: Ex Libris Primo Central. Library Technology Reports, 47(1), 39-47.
  • Vaughan, J. (2011). Chapter 4: Ebsco Discovery Services. Library Technology Reports, 47(1), 30-38.
  • Vaughan, J. (2011). Chapter 3: Serials Solutions Summon. Library Technology Reports, 47(1), 22-29.
  • Vaughan, J. (2011). Chapter 2: OCLC WorldCat Local. Library Technology Reports, 47(1), 12-21.
  • Vaughan, J. (2011). Chapter 1: Web Scale Discovery What and Why?</i&gt. Library Technology Reports, 47(1), 5-11.

I compared and contrasted the features of the various webscale discovery layers such as:

  • EDS: Ebsco Discovery Service
  • Encore Duet
  • Proquest Summon
  • OCLC Worldcat
  • AquaBrowser
  • Bibliocore
  • Encore
  • VuFind


Part 2: Compare and Contrast

From the products list, only 3 were selected for further review:

  • EDS Ebsco Discovery Service
  • Proquest Summon
  • Google Scholar (added to this list)

There were several main project tasks for this phase.  They included, among others:

  • Setting-up of trial websites for Summons & EDS
  • Delivering a Content Analysis Comparison Report
  • Online evaluation study – completed by library staff
  • Documentation based on the findings from the internal library staff.
  • Final Recommendation report

Our library staff evaluated the 3 products based on several criterion:

  • Navigation & Discovery
  • User Interaction
  • Content
  • Implementation

After reviewing and deliberating based on the evidences and data findings as well as the project team feedback, management decided to go for Summon based on:

  • ebook chapter searching capability
  • delivery features – linking to article(s)
  • database recommenders feature

In addition to that, we also decided to use 360 Link as our new link resolver.

Part 3: Implementation

One of the main aim of the implementation stage was improving access, organization, discovery and delivery of library’s acquired and subscribed resources (print, electronic etc) through the new web scale discovery service: Proquest Summon and Proquest 360 Link.  This was where the hard work began.  Tasks included:

  • Content Migration (All acquired and subscribed resources: print and electronic)
  • Uploading our research repository records into Summon
  • Scripts (Batch programs) for daily updates to Summon plus live updates as well
  • Widgets for Libguides, LibAnswers and relevant sites
  • Marketing materials: Summon giveaways
  • Branding / Logo that are consistent with our new library website

Next Steps

Work did not end even after the completion of implementation stage.  Things in the pipeline:

  • Marketing of new service
  • Liaising with Subject Specialist on instruction classes
  • Internal training for library staff
  • Monitoring Summon usage to get trends
  • Updating procedures and workflows including troubleshooting issues
  • Monitor impacts to Document Delivery services and Cataloging processes
  • Usability Studies

Project take-aways

I learned a lot from this experience.  There are sweet victories and there are also tough knocks.  They include:

  • Practice patience, perseverance and resilience
  • Every idea, feedback and comments matters: Nothing is too small to be ignored.
  • When you hit a brick wall, just find a way around it as long as it isn’t the Great Wall 🙂
  • Teamwork and more teamwork: Two or more heads are better than one
  • Learn, unlearn and re-learn: Learning is always a lifelong process
  • Adopt and adapt: Don’t be too rigid, learn to accept new ideas and even those that are quite radical 🙂



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