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

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

In the picture above, we can use the tools in the left sidebar. We know the name of the journal this is from, along with a volume, issue, and page number.


Clicking the "Browse Journal" link, you can see details about the journal. Use the links to get to 2014, volume 40, issue 3.


When we get to the issue, a strange thing happens. You can see the page numbers for each article, but there isn't one that starts on page 45, like we were expecting.

Issue by page number

What happens if you look at the "Playtime Hacked" article, covering pages 42-46? Our article is there all right, as a sidebar to the "Playtime Hacked" article!

Sidebar article!

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. This example may not have come up at all if we searched less data, and it might be something helpful for your research. But it also looks no different than an academic research article to Summon, and that may not be what you were expecting.

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.