UBC Library updates search tool in the middle of research season

One second I am looking up books on the Anglo-Jewish response to the holocaust on the UBC Library website, and the next minute I am catipulted into a brand new world of library search engines!


Students now have the force on their side when doing research with UBC’s new Summon tool. Here’s a tid bit from the library website:

Summon provides fast, relevance-ranked results on any topic from UBC Library’s collections in a single search. It will let you search the full range of UBC Library’s vast holdings – including books, journals, articles, newspapers, government publications, maps, data, conference proceedings, course materials and more – all in one place.

The launch of Summon underlines a key goal of UBC’s strategic plan: “Enhance and integrate access to print and digital collections to make them easier to find.”

Personally, I found it a bit cluttered at first, but after figuring out how to narrow your search down by content type, subject, publication date, and even library location, it made searching for articles, books, etc. much easier than going through individual databases.

One problem I did find was the relevance issue. I had major issues with the relevancy of what I was searching for, even though I had my results listed in order of relevance – like for searching “Anglo-Jewish 1945” the 2nd result is “A Companion to the British and Irish Short Story” – not exactly what I was looking for, nor did it have any of my keywords in the item description.

All in all, this is similar to the type of search engine the UVic Library has – where you search your keywords and it automatically searches through all the databases and gives you a compiled list of results. I’d say, for UBC,  it’s a pretty nice addition to a system that needed an update.


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