Late last year I was invited to become an inaugural member of the Summon Advisory Board, and yesterday here in Boston we held our first meeting. What a rush! It's days like that that remind me just how much I love my job. The day was filled with stimulating conversation, and I got to meet colleagues from around the world who are struggling with the same issues we are at the U of Calgary, and spend the day with representatives of the Summon team who are equally passionate about making their product the best that it can be.
In the interest of full disclosure, Serials Solutions paid our way to Boston for this all-day meeting. That said, I wanted to share some of the highlights of the day. There were 14 Summon customers in the room, and half that many more representing various sides of the Summon team. Summon now has 51 customers around the world, and a whole lotta content! The numbers have always sounded impressive to me, but the following pie chart was shown that really hit home for me - this type of product really is a new ballgame:
We learned that they've turned on a new back end that greatly increases the speed of the product, with 80% of all searches being fully returned in 1 second or less. Go ahead and try it with the U of Calgary implementation. Don't like a hosted URL? Check out what the U of Virgina has done with the Summon API for their mobile interface! (dear UVA, I'll be in touch when I'm back in the office next week).
We had a fair bit of discussion about overlap of content within and between traditional library databases, and helping our librarians wrap their heads around the fact that it probably doesn't matter that 100% of database X isn't fully indexed. There's a lot of long-tail stuff out there. One of the content managers pointed out that the average academic library holds 24% of Ulrich's Core Journals, and Summon has 40%.
I'm really revitalized over this project, and will be heading back to Calgary with an aim towards cleaning up our metadata in order to really leverage Summon. Lots of good stuff coming in the next few months. Really eager to see what EBSCO's got to show at the convention centre tomorrow - competition is good :-)