Amanda FosterSchool of Information and Library Science, The University of North Carolina at Chapel HillThe Use of Serial S...
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The use of Serial Solutions’ Summon™ in information literacy instruction


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A poster session I did on using Summon in library instruction

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The use of Serial Solutions’ Summon™ in information literacy instruction

  1. 1. Amanda FosterSchool of Information and Library Science, The University of North Carolina at Chapel HillThe Use of Serial Solutions’ Summon™ in Information Literacy InstructionAcknowledgmentsPhoto Credits Summon, cont’d• Many librarians use metaphors or similes to describewhat Summon does. Popular ones include:• Super Wal-Mart, Super Target• Google, Google Scholar• Buckets• PiesInformation Literacy SkillsOne major research question of this study involvedinformation literacy skills and whether or not theintroduction of Summon was affecting which skills werebeing taught. Based on the interviews, I drew conclusionson which information literacy skills were receiving more orless focus.More Focus Less FocusStudent QuestionsLibrarians noted there were no significant differencesbetween questions asked about Summon in comparisonto other databases.RecommendationsBrandingSummon has been branded under several namesincluding, but not limited to: One Search, Quick Search,Articles Plus, Articles, All, and Search. Branding can betricky because the “brand” may not be accuratelydescriptive of the content being searched. This can causenegative fallout among library staff and university faculty.One recommendation is that libraries should be cautiousand thoughtful when branding Summon and other searchfeatures.Staff TrainingIn some of the interviews, statements were made thatdisplayed some confusion among librarians about thecontent that Summon™ indexed. This problem isexacerbated by different institutions including andexcluding different content in the results like the catalog,newspaper articles, and book reviews. Also, Summon™indexes content from some journals but not others,making it difficult to know what content is actually beingcovered by Summon™. One recommendation for librariesis to provide training for librarians who will teachSummon™ during information literacy instruction.Training on Summon™ may cut down on confusion aboutwhat content is actually being indexed in Summon™.Research Questions• What does an information literacy session in whichSummon is taught look like?• What audience(s) are librarians most likely toteach Summon™ to?• How do librarians describe what Summon™ is,what it does, and how it works?• What information literacy skills do librarians focus onwhen teaching Summon™?• How do librarians feel the introduction of Summon™has changed the way they teach information literacy?• What are librarians’ thoughts on Summon™ as aresource and as a tool for teaching informationliteracy?.AbstractThis study investigates the how librarians use the web-scale discovery tool, Summon™, during informationliteracy instruction. Questions explored include theprocess of teaching Summon, which information literacyskills librarians focused on, and librarian perceptions ofthe tool and its influence on information literacy skills.Eight librarians were interviewed about their experiencesteaching Summon using the critical incident technique.The interviews reveal which information literacy skillslibrarians focus on while teaching Summon™ duringinformation literacy instruction. Librarians are teachingSummon to all audiences, though the method anddelivery are dependent on the context of the informationliteracy session. Overall, the librarians interviewed werepositive about the introduction of Summon™ at theirlibrary.Methodology• Interview 8 instruction librarians• Use critical incident technique• Code using NVivo, focusing on the following:Course-Related Information Literacy SkillsAudience Using facetsTime Evaluating sourcesCourse-Level Generating KeywordsStudent Questions, etc... Peer-Review, etc…ConclusionIn this study, eight librarians were interviewed about theirexperiences teaching Summon™ during informationliteracy instruction. The interviews revealed interestingfacts about how librarians are teachingSummon™. Librarians are teaching Summon™ to allaudiences, though the method and delivery aredependent on the context and audience of theinformation literacy session. In terms of which informationliteracy skills librarians are focusing on while teachingSummon™, there appears to be a trend toward teachinghow to utilize facets, broaden and narrow search results,and generating keywords. Overall, the librariansinterviewed were positive about the introduction ofSummon™ at their library.FindingsAudience• Summon is being taught to all audiences: undergrads,graduate/professional students, and faculty.• Librarians tend to agree that Summon is a moreappropriate resource for undergraduate research,particularly in first-year courses. Summon was oftenreferred to as “a good starting point.”• For more advanced research, Summon is generallythought to be a “complimentary” or “supplementary”tool and is taught in conjunction with other resourceslike databases or the catalog. The major exception tothis is inter-disciplinary research or subjects where thedatabase offerings are not very good.Describing Summon• Most librarians describe Summon to students byexplaining what it searches. Sometimes this mayinclude a discussion of what it doesn’t cover, but notalways.• 3 of the 8 librarians interviewed choose to not explainSummon at all. As one librarian put it, “We [librarians]care a lot more about what Summon is searching thanthey [students] do.”• Some librarians still use outdated “library-jargon” like“database” and “index” to describe Summon. Onelibrarian referred to Summon as a “search engine,”believing that students may relate to this term better.LibraryE-ContentSummonLibraryDatabases& JournalsCatalogFacetsNarrowingYour SearchTopicGeneratingKeywordsBooleanSearching