I met some very nice people at the Serials Solutions booth at ALA and learned a lot more about the Summon webscale discovery tool. Mostly used by academic research libraries, this SAAS is continuously innovating.
It is flexible and highly customizable. I was particularly impressed by the back-end administrative console allowing the library administrator to populate information for features like best bets and database recommendations.
The unified search experience offers an interwoven contextual experience – kind of like that mythical Google search every web user desires, but actually tailored to each library.
A great example is the Duke University catalog. Type in a search like ‘roman architecture’ and the results will return with up-to-the-minute availability and location information. Narrow the search in the sidebar or using advanced search.
What is special about Summon is the ability to direct search based on your particular user needs as well as seamless and frequent new releases offering improvements on improvements. The tool promotes information literacy too.