Information obtained from Huddersfield University Library (http://library.hud.ac.uk/summon/) and the Summon day at Erasmus University (http://eur.summon.serialssolutions.com).
Software and central metadata index hosted by SS.
The emphasis here is on search, rather than on delivery.
The user interface is in English.
Summon offers a built in mobile user interface.
Central metadata index. Summon currently (May 2010) has a very large number of records: 6200+ publishers, 94,000+ journals, 550 million+ items. Negotiations with Elsevier (one and a half years, just like the other providers, Ex Libris / Primo Central, OCLC / WorldCatLocal).
Local files, such as catalogs and repositories can also be indexed. For catalogs, a one time MARC export has to be made. EUR (OCLC LBS) now provides 6 automatic updates per day of changed and deleted records. Huddersfield (SirsiDynix) provides "daily MARC Updates". Other databases can be harvested through OAI.
Summon does not do metasearch / federated search. SS does have its own separate metasearch tool (360Search).
The customer can decide their own databases to be "private" (visible only to their own instance) or "public" (visible to all instances).
SS determines together with customer through admin interface which databases will be added to the customer's searchable set, based on subscriptions (eg SFX KB).
End users can search this complete set without authentication. To access full text an OpenURL resolver is always required, eg SFX.
End user interface/searching/results
Summon provides "Basic search": one search field option as default. There is also "Advanced search", which offers some filters on search indexes.
For the library's own catalog records availability information can be retrieved on the fly (at least for OCLC-PICA LBS, it is not clear whether and how this works with other systems like Aleph). Clicking on a catalog title will take you into the external OPAC of the underlying ILS, where the actual item request takes place, and even linking to an online digital object. Besides Summon a separate OPAC needs to be maintained.
The end user can limit/expand the results found through facets and clusters (such as full text, peer review, content type, subject terms, publication date, language).
Subjects/key words form some kind of general thesaurus based on indexed metadata. There is no formal thesaurus like LoC, Dutch Basic Classification, etc. SS is investigating whether this is something for the future.
There are no virtual subsets/search scopes that can be pre-selected to search in. SS is in the process of developing this ("disciplines").
In the results list the library's catalog records can be selected by one or more library branches/locations, if these have been defined during import/indexing.
There is no option for consortia, besides the library locations option. For each consortium member/institute a separate Summon instance has to be defined and licensed.
There is an extensive general relevance ranking algorithm, applicable to the overall metadata index. There is no possibility to set relevance and/or context in advance, before searching. Customers/libraries can not influence the relevance ranking mechanism.
At present there are relatively few options for changing your own Summon configuration. Only the banner is customizable with your own text and logo.
There are no options to configure relevance, indexing, content types, etc. at your own discretion. SS is working on developing a more extensive admin interface.
Internal record format is MODS / XML.
Summon has an API (http://api.summon.serialssolutions.com/help/api/home). Villanova University Library has developed its own "Accessible" frontend with this API.