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Summon: About Summon

Summon: Books, Articles, and More


About Summon (Books, Articles, and More)

image of basic search in summon

What is Summon?

Summon is a Google-like search engine for the UIC Library. It searches UIC’s catalog and many of our databases simultaneously to quickly provide relevancy-ranked, credible library results through a single search box. Use it to find books, articles, and more. You will be linked directly to the full text of materials that match your search terms, whenever possible.

When should I use Summon?

Summon is great for:

  • Getting started on your research
  • Searching for books and journals at the same time
  • Researching interdisciplinary topics
  • Searching for full-text articles (see How to get what you want in Summon, below)

How to get what you want in Summon:

Searching in Summon is easy, but if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, there are several options on the left side of the screen that you can use to expand or narrow your search to get better results:

 Options include limiting by:

  • Full text availability
  • Date of publication
  • Content type (books, journal or newspaper articles, book chapters, images)
  • Peer-reviewed publications
  • Institution—limits to UIC or another I-Share Library
  • Language

You can add terms in the search box to help narrow your results; as a general rule, the more words you add, the fewer results you’ll get. Try the following:

  • Brainstorm keywords that describe your research topic more precisely and add them to the search box
  • Search as a phrase by surrounding the term in quotation marks: “global warming”
  • If you’re searching for a specific item, try typing in the author’s name (Morgan Edmund S) or ISBN (just type in the number, i.e., 0307455475)

Advanced Search will allow you to enter search terms within a specific field (e.g., title, ISBN, author name), and may be helpful if you are searching for an individual item rather than multiple results on a topic.

Need assistance identifying relevant research materials? Use the chat function on the right-hand side of the Summon screen or Ask A Librarian.

Summon Content

This shows the intersection between catalog content and article content to illustrate content found in summon

What does Summon include?

Summon includes everything in the UIC and CARLI I-Share library catalogs (FAQ: borrowing from UIC and other libraries), numerous academic databases, and digital repositories like the HathiTrust. It searches for books, scholarly journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles, theses and dissertations, and multimedia materials.

It includes:

  • Books and articles that the UIC Library has in its physical and online collections;
  • Books and other physical materials that are located at other CARLI I-Share libraries;
  • Some articles and other items that are not in UIC’s collections, but which can be requested through Interlibrary Loan.

When searching Summon for journal articles, the default search shows only results from UIC's databases. Note that immediate full text access is not always available.

When searching Summon for books and other physical materials, the default search shows results from all libraries within CARLI I-Share, UIC’s library borrowing consortium.

To limit only to books at your UIC library, select UIC under “Institution,” then select your library's name under "Library Location."

Beyond Summon

Summon is a great tool for getting started with your research. However, if you can’t find exactly what you need, there are other ways to search for information. You can search our databases and our catalog directly, or conduct a global search through WorldCat. Consult our research & subject guides for advice on recommended resources and searching tips.

Searching Summon Off-Campus

Important:  If you are searching from off campus, sign in to using your NetID to access our full-text materials. It will also expand your search results.