Self-Discovery Layer

Summon is Library Google. That’s how I’ve referred to our discovery layer since we first implemented it. But after a stimulating journal club meeting I realize I’ve been going about it the wrong way.

Rather than lazily plunking Summon and Google into the same category and letting the students figure it out on their own, I should be using Google and Summon as a bridge into library research and resources. (Pardon me if this sounds like, “duh,” but I’ve been avoiding Summon in the classroom like the plague for reasons I won’t go into here.)

Google is simple. And we like that. Google usually gives us what we want within the first two pages of results (you know, because if it doesn’t we just do a different search). Thank you, Google, for about 469,000,000 results in 0.28 seconds, but what good are they if I can’t sort them in a way that’s meaningful to me?

Enter Summon. With its simple, Google-like search box that accepts searches like “why is global warming bad” and “rush limbaugh doesn’t believe in global warming” and its gracious offering of refinement options by Publication Date, Content Type, Subject Terms, and Language.

In the classroom, I’ll start where students are familiar (Google), blow their mind about how search engine results are ranked, and show them how their library makes research easier and results more relevant.

I’m growing as a librarian. Really!

 

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