Hints and Tips for Troubleshooting Searches

The NC LIVE search box is an excellent tool for finding articles. But sometimes you click on a link, and you get an error, like this:

summon error message

What happened? Why didn't the link work?

The NC LIVE search box uses a service called Summon to search through a lot of data to locate research articles. Some of this data is very detailed, including not just articles but every photo and sidebar that was part of it. The data may also include things that aren't really "articles" at all, like news briefs or letters to the editor. The data may even have errors. All Summon can do is try its best to link you there. It doesn't always work. If not, there are a few quick workarounds you can try.

Ask For Help

Library reference staff and NC LIVE can help you find the article. Use the "Report a Problem" link in the sidebar or ask the reference staff at your library. Librarians have plenty of experience tracking down articles and can save you a lot of time and frustration. We are here to help!

You can also try a few workarounds:

Try Browsing Manually

1. In the picture above, we can use the citation to find the article by browsing the journal. We know the name of the journal from the citation, along with a volume, issue, and page number.

2. Search for the name of the journal by title using NC LIVE's journal finder. Click on the journal title and you can see details about the journal. Click on the links to go to the journal located in one of our databases

3. Use the date of the article from the citation to browse for the article in the journal.


The good news is that if you find it in your search , it probably does exist, and it's often on the page it says. The bad news is that it's not always a click away, and the NC LIVE search can present somewhat misleading results. If you were expecting an in-depth research article, this is confusing. 

Try a DOI

What if you see something called a "DOI" instead of journal volume, issue, and page number information?

DOI number

DOI (or Digital Object Identifier) numbers are a standard way to give each published article a unique identification number. Plug your DOI into the search resolver at doi.org to find it.

DOI.org search

When you submit a DOI, the resolver may be able to link you to a full-text article, or at least give you more complete information on the article, which might help you refine your search.