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Ex Libris Knowledge Center

Teaching Summon to Patrons and Students: Classroom Activities

Summon Classroom Activities 

In this section, we offer up different strategies designed to get your students thinking critically about how to use their Discovery service to unearth library resources. These exercises are designed to combat novice search habits and turn rudimentary researchers into informed experts.  

Where students are at: 

  • Limited experience with catalogs and databases 

  • They prefer familiar predictable resources 

  • Seek general search boxes and simple queries 

Where we want students to be: 

  • Conducting Targeted Searches 

  • Constructing Complex Queries 

  • Faster more successful searches 


Here are some strategies we’ve developed, accompanied with activities designed to increase students Library Literacy when it comes your Summon Discovery Layer. 

Strategy #1: 
  • Teach students when to use discovery 

  • Suggestions: Explain content, suggest a metaphor, compare with specialized databases 

Classroom activity A: 
  • Select a search topic and divide the class into 2-3 groups 

  • Group 1 – Search the discovery tool 

  • Group 2 – Search an appropriate subject database 

  • Group 3 – Search google or Google Scholar 

  • Lead a discussion, asking students to report 

  • What types of information can you find with this tool? 

  • What helpful Search features are available? 

  • How do you find the full-text from this tool? 

  • When would you recommend this tool? 

Strategy #2 :
  • Help students evaluate resources 

  • Understand relevancy ranking 

  • Evaluate resources for quality, relevance, etc. 

  • Explore critical perspectives in information literacy 

Classroom Activity A: 
  • Create a Search Engine! 

  • Ask students to imagine they are creating a new search engine 

  • Brainstorm criteria for ranking results 

  • Discuss whether the system would be foolproof 

  • Compare to discovery’s relevance ranking 

Classroom Activity B: 
  • Evaluation Jigsaw 

  • Assign each group a source to evaluate Group A, group B, Group C, Group D 

  • Recreate groups to share and compare sources  

Strategy #3 
  • Introduce Citation Chaining 

  • Cites / Cited By 

  • Altmetrics 

Classroom Activity A: 
  • Compare Citation Counts 

  • From the results list, identify a highly cited article from a less cited article 

  • Discuss factors that influence citation counts 

  • Follow each citation trail 

  • What additional valuable resources can you find? 

Classroom Activity B: 
  • Explore Altmetrics 

  • Using an article with Altmetrics, break students into groups and assign each a “mention” to research. 

  • Discussion points: 

  • Where is this work being discussed? 

  • Why has the work garnered attention?  

  • Does this coverage affect your understanding of the original article and/or topic? 

  • How does research enter and influence the public sphere? 


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