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    Summon: Summon Topics

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    What are Summon Topics, and how do we set them up for our patrons?

    Summon Topics are available to those libraries using the Summon 2.0 interface and features.

    This page is part of a larger set of documentation about the Summon Topic Explorer.


    Summon Topics are authoritative terms used for many common areas of research. Each topic is accompanied by a relevant encyclopedia or reference source entry that introduces the user to basic information about the subject.

    If a user s query maps to a Summon Topic, reference content displays within the Topic Explorer on the right side of the Summon results page. The below screenshot shows a search on heart attack, with Myocardial Infarction (the Summon Topic) displaying on the right side:


    How Summon Topics Work

    When a user sends a search to Summon, the Topic Explorer maps the query to one of the available Topics. This ensures that when the user does not know all the right keywords to use, Summon is able to provide the relevant topic. Tens of thousands of topics are currently available in the below languages. The number of available languages and the number of topics will continue to grow:

    • Chinese

    • Dutch

    • English

    • French

    • German

    • Japanese

    • Korean

    • Spanish

    • Swedish

    The language of the Summon user interface is the language in which the topics display. For example, a user in the Chinese interface will be presented with Chinese topics. The Summon service is, however, building topic matching in any language supported by Summon Topics. Currently, this functionality exists when searching English terms when the interface is set in any of the above languages. For example, a search on heart attack in the German Summon user interface will generate the Summon Topic Myokardinfarkt. Myokardinfarkt is the German word for myocardial infarction, the Summon Topic that has been mapped to the search term heart attack.

    Summon Topics come from a variety of sources, currently including:

    • Credo Reference

    • Encyclopedia Britannica

    • Gale Virtual Reference Library

    • JapanKnowledge

    • Wikipedia

    • World Book

    Currently, non-English topics are available through JapanKnowledge and Wikipedia; non-English topics are not available from the other subscription resources above.

    Topics selected for inclusion in the Summon Topics feature are topics that relate to popular Summon searches across all libraries. A common Summon search that does not have an encyclopedia entry is not included in Summon Topics.

    Utilizing the subscription resources above as Summon Topics are available to subscribing libraries who have added the resource to Data Management in their Client Center or Intota profile. A list of supported subscription databases and their database codes in our Knowledgebase is available for download here.

    • Note that JapanKnowledge and World Book will not start displaying as Summon Topics until our Support team applies an activation step; use the Support Portal to request activation of either of these resources. The other subscription resources listed above do not require this additional step.

    Wikipedia is available to all libraries; it does not need to be added to a library's Client Center profile.


    How to Customize Summon Topics

    On the Settings > Topics page in the Admin Console, you can enable, disable, and prioritize topic sources under the Topics Encyclopedia Priority section. To enable a source, simply drag a source from the Disabled column to the Enabled column, and to disable a source, drag a source from the Enabled column to the Disabled column.

    Prioritization of Sources

    In the Topics Encyclopedia Priority section, highest priority is given to the sources at the top of the Enabled column. To increase a sources priority, drag it to a position closer to the top of the list. To decrease the priority, move the source down in the list. The following sources are currently available for prioritization:

    1. Credo Reference (if the library has a subscription)

    2. Encyclopedia Britannica (if the library has a subscription)

    3. Gale Virtual Reference Library (if the library has a subscription)

    4. JapanKnowledge (if the library has a subscription)

    5. World Book

    6. Wikipedia

    Removal of Sources

    If you want to remove a source, drag it to the Disabled column.

    Summon will automatically hide a source for which you do not have a subscription. 

    Topics Settings

    The Topics page in the Administration Console allows you configure the following display settings for Topics:

    • The types of topics that display in the Topics section.

    • The order in which the topic types display in the Topics section.

    • The supported sources and their priority.

    For more details, see Topics.


    • Article last edited: 06-Mar-2019
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