Discovery (Summon) - Wright Library

Discovery (Summon)

What is Summon Search?

screen snip of Wright Library Summon discovery basic search screen

Summon brings together library tools and resources to support your research and is the powerful engine behind the large search box on the library home page.

Explore topics, renew books, and save citations and searches — all in one place.

Use Summon to discover:

  • full-text articles
  • print & e-books
  • print & e-journals
  • conference proceedings
  • Theological Commons & other Digital Collections
  • theses & dissertations
  • video & audio recordings
  • images
  • manuscripts
  • maps
Library Tutorials


Instead of pasting an entire article citation into the search box, try doing an advanced search (now called Search Options).

Below is an example of a search for a specific article in a particular journal.

Try looking up the book’s title, if you are having trouble finding a specific chapter. The e-book that the chapter is in may be available, and/or there may be a print copy waiting for you in the library.

Summon + the Library Catalog

Although direct access to the library catalog* is also available to you, Summon includes all the library catalog content plus most of the extensive online collections available from Wright Library.

*What is a library catalog?

Summon includes many of the features you may be familiar with from the My Account area in the library catalog, such as renewing books, recalling books (e.g. requesting books currently checked out to someone else; authorized users only), and saving searches.

Library Catalog Integration

If you have an email address, log in with the Campus Login option, or use the Library Login option, if you do not.

Campus Login

Click on Log In and then Campus Login for full access to all the library catalog integrations with Summon.

  • You must have an email address to use the Campus Login option.
  • No email address, no problem! Use the Library Login option instead.

Library Login

Even if you do not have an email address, you can still save searches across sessions using Google or Microsoft.

If you have a borrowing card, log in to view and renew checkouts by using the Library Login option (name, username or barcode, and pin).

View and renew books that you have checked out from Wright Library in the new Library Card area in Summon.

Save searches across search sessions directly in Summon using the Campus Login option. Contact the Discovery & Web Services Librarian with any questions.

Save Search Options (PDF) highlights the Campus Login option for those with an email address.

(Options for saving searches outside of Summon include Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive.)


  • Search results include many kinds of sources: books, journal articles, newspaper articles, conference proceedings, dissertations, photos, and other materials, along with database recommendations and more
  • Quickly narrow results by using the filters: content type, library location, subject terms, publication date, language, etc.
  • Limit search results to scholarly or peer-reviewed sources with one click
  • View, email, print or export citations from your search results in a variety of formats
  • Expand your search to find citations for even more items by checking the box next to “Add results beyond Wright Library” under “Refine your search”

Summon includes many, many resources, but not everything to which Wright Library subscribes.** Use the Databases (A-Z) list to locate and search within a specific database.

Vague or short searches will likely return too many results; searches using well-refined search terms or phrases in quotes will return fewer, more refined results. To conduct a more specific search – such as for a particular book or article – use the Search Options.

**Why aren’t all available resources included in Summon?

  • Sierra (Library Catalog) via Summon. Now you can view and manage your library checkouts (My Account) and place requests directly from Summon by logging in using either the campus login (single sign-on) or library login (name, barcode, PIN)
  • Expand your search with the “Include matches in Full Text” (different from Full Text Online option, which narrows your search) and/or the “Add results beyond your library’s collection” refinements
  • Limit your Summon search results to print books using the “Physical Books in Library Catalog” option under Refine Your Search on the results page
  • Search Options button in the search bar brings up an overlay with additional tools for building a more specific search
  • Sort results by Title, Author, Date or Relevance
  • Search for authors or co-authors by ORCIDs. Search by field using “ORCID:0000-0000-XXXX-XXXX”
  • Citation Trails: Search results now (often) include cites/cited by articles. Explore a topic and collect material by following a chain of articles that cite each other.
  • “New Search” and “x” buttons clear the search box
  • Search buttons and “Clear form” links at both top and bottom of the Advanced Search screen
  • Improved handling of complete citation searches
  • “Open Access” refinement
  • Related Articles: Some search results include recommendations from bX Recommender
  • Language drop down menu for selecting user interface language
  • Persistent URLs: Copy or bookmark links from Summon
  • Results are numbered to help you keep track of where you are in the results set.
  • Accessibility: Labels have been added to the search landing page and main page search boxes, and the date picker has been upgraded.
  • Sidebar on the right (desktop view) hosts links to Summon training videos, Library feedback and suggestions form, and the Library’s most recent tweets

  • Full citation searches tend not to work; try the Search Options, entering the info from the citation into specific fields (See Tips above, and Summon Searching: Beyond the Basics)
  • Some databases may be missing from the Database filter. Visit the full Databases A-Z List
  • Broken links/dead ends: Occasionally, the path between an item in the search results list and the citation or full text gets disrupted. If this happens, please let us know – either by using the “Report a problem” link within Summon or by emailing libweb [at] ptsem [dot] edu. Tell us what you were looking for and what happened; please be as detailed and specific as possible. Thank you!
  • The real time availability display in search results may be lost from time to time. Most books in the library catalog can be checked out. Click the “Check Availability” link in the search result to view the full details.
  • The pages of the library website are not able to be indexed, unfortunately. However, select pages are being included as “Best Bets,” a feature similar to the Database Recommendations you may have seen in Summon.


Want to embed a Summon Search widget or search box on your own website?

Visit and click on Search Widget or Search Box Builder to get started.


Contact the Discovery and Web Services Librarian


Used under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License from Virginia Tech Libraries.