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Navigating Library Research: Unit 2: Your Library


Time to practice the skills you've developed through Unit 2.

Download the file below.  If your professor is collecting it, please complete it and submit it directly to him or her.

Your Library: Auraria Library

This section will provide an overview to materials and services at Auraria Library. More detail will be presented in later units on many of these topics. Come back to this unit whenever you need facts, links, and contact information.


You can always get help from a librarian, 24/7.  Whenever you have questions about this course (or your other courses), you can call, e-mail or schedule a consultation with a librarian.  

Article Triage

There are several ways to go about finding articles at the Auraria Library. Choose the most efficient method based on how specific your needs are. The options are:

  1. You already have a citation for a specific article, and need to find it.
  2. You want to search for articles in one specific journal, such as Nature or the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery.
  3. You have a topic or a subject area in mind.

See the corresponding section below for directions specific to your needs.

 1: You have a citation.

If you have a citation for a specific article that you need to find, here are the steps to follow.

  1. Go to the Library's home page:
  2. Click "Journal List" on the left side of the page.
  3. Look at your citation. Find the title of the journal that the article appears in.
  4. Enter the journal's title in the search box. Click Search.
  5. Click on the title of your journal.
  6. You will see a list of the Library's links to the journal. Subscription dates are next to each. Click the link next to one of the subscriptions that covers the date your article was published.
  7. Choose the issue your article appears in.
  8. Choose the link to your article.

 2: You need articles from a specific journal.

 If you want to find articles from a specific journal, here are the steps to follow.

  1. Go to the Library's home page:
  2. Click the Journal List on the left sidebar.
  3. Enter the journal's title in the search box. Click Search.
  4. Click on the title of your journal.
  5. You will see a list of the Library's links to the journal. Subscription dates are next to each. Click one of the links that covers the dates you're interested in.
  6. You will see a list of issues of the journal. Click on an issue to get a list of articles in that issue. Click on an article to see full-text options.
  7. Most journals also have a keyword search box in the upper right. You can use this to search for articles on topics that interest you.
3: You have a topic or subject area in mind.

 In this case, you will need to search a database that covers your topic or subject area. Visit Unit 5: Searching Databases for detailed guidance.

Books: Formats and Access

Look at the tabs across the top of the page.

  • If you have the title or author of a book in mind, you can choose their respective tabs.
  • If you have a topic in mind, choose the "Word" tab. Put in just a few words (2 or 3) to describe your topic.
  • You will get a list of books. To get more information, click on the title of a book. If you decide you would like to check one out or take a closer look, write down the title and call number. A librarian can help you use these to find the book if you need help.

Ebooks and Audio Books

Some books are available online or as audio download. These will display "Internet" as the location and may ask you to login with your school credentials. Ebooks in the public domain, such as many government documents, will be available for download without logging in.

A Note on Our Collection:

The Auraria Library purchases books to support the research needs of students and faculty at Auraria's three institutions: the University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the Community College of Denver. All books can be searched through the catalog on the Library's home page.  You can also perform more advanced searches in the Library's "classic" Skyline Catalog, and also search books held in libraries across Colorado through the Prospector catalog.

What if the Library Doesn't Have Your Book?

A book can be checked out or missing. In that case you may place a hold on the book and you'll be next in line when it is returned. Maybe we just never purchased it for the library collection. Either way, you can order books from other libraries.


Prospector is a system in which most of the college, university, and public libraries across Colorado and Wyoming share books and other media. Items are delivered to the Auraria Library for you to pick up. They are free to students, faculty, and staff of the Auraria campus. 

To Search Prospector:

Start on the Auraria Library's home page: Click "Colorado (Prospector)" on the left sidebar. Enter a title, author, or keywords in the search box. When you find items you want, choose "Request this Item."

Course Reserves

Professors may place copies of materials in the library's course reserves.  Often you'll hear that an item is "on reserve."  This means that it is available for everyone in the class to share. The item will either be 1) posted online on the course reserves site (if it's an individual article) or 2) held at the Library's Ask Us desk (if it's a whole book, a dvd, or another physical item).

Finding Items for Your Courses

You can either access each item (online reserves) or find a call number (print reserves) through the Library's online course reserves.  On the Library's home page, click on Course Reserves. You will see a menu with several search options. Searching by Instructor is often easiest.

For items in print (mostly books and dvds), you will see a call number. Write that down and bring it to the Ask Us desk in the Library.

For electronic items (mostly individual articles), you will see a link to a pdf. These may be password-protected. Ask Us if you need a password.

Q&A for Off-Campus Students and Faculty

Quick Tips

  • Make sure pop-ups and cookies are allowed by your browser.
    • Some databases require that third party cookies be allowed.
    • You may need to set your privacy settings to low while using the Library resources.
    • Remember to reset these settings afterward!
  • Overdue materials will prevent you from gaining access to the Library resources from off campus. Check the status of your library account using the My Account link at the top left of every Library web page.
  • Your information may not be in our files. Current students, faculty and staff, please visit or contact the Ask Us Desk at 303-556-2639 or
  • Still not working? Report A Problem

 Q. What can I do on campus that I can't do from off campus?

A. Practically nothing. What you do need to do is go about some things a little differently than you would if you were on campus. For example, the Library does not mail physical objects so when you request a book or video that is not online it will be left at the Library AskUs desk for you to pick up.

If you are out of town you can use the Interlibrary service provided by your local library (public or academic) to acquire the book for pick up at your local library. You could also request a chapter of a book to be sent to you electronically. The Library has an extensive collection of streaming videos and audio as well as books that can be read online.

Q. How do I search the databases from off-campus?

A. The same way that you would if you were on campus!  The only difference is that you may be asked to enter your name and ID number. If you are asked to do so, make sure you enter them exactly as they appear on your student/faculty ID card.

For instructions on searching the databases, see Unit 5: Searching Databases.

Q. When I entered my name and ID, it said 'patron not found'. Now what?

A. Registered students and current faculty and staff will sometimes be denied access. Usually this is because their information is not yet in the Library's database.

Try testing your access before you leave the Library by logging in to 'My account' on the library homepage ( If your record is displayed you'll be able to access the databases from off campus. If not check back with the Library AskUs Desk. 

If your ID is not in the Library's database then come to the Library AskUs Desk and register (library hours). You will need a photo ID and something to show you are a current student, faculty or staff (registration, campus ID etc.).

If you are never on campus for classes then contact the Ask Us Desk at 303-556-2639 or and cc your professor.  Include the following information:

  • your name
  • student ID
  • address
  • phone number
  • your CU Denver or campus email address
  • the course(s) you are taking.

Q. My record is correct but when I submit my login information from home the page just clears the information I entered and I have to fill it in again.

A. Verify that your login information is correct.

If it is correct, reset your browsers' privacy settings to allow pop ups and set cookiesYou may have more than one pop up blocker working if you have installed tool bars and widgets, and will need to turn all of them off while you are using the databases. See also The link from my online pages won't work.

Q. How do I get an article or book that is not available online?

A. Articles that are not available electronically may be requested through our InterLibrary Loan service (ILL). The article will be found and conveyed to you electronically. If the article is physically available in the Library in paper or microfiche format then students that live in the Denver Metro area must come to the Library and make their own copies of the article. Any faculty member anywhere and students that live outside the Denver Metro area and are taking courses exclusively online may request articles that reside in the Library via ILL and the request will be filled if the request includes the information that you are a distance student.

Books: When you make an ILL or Prospector request for a book, video or CD, the item will be delivered to, and should be returned to, Auraria Library. We do not mail books.

However you have some other options for obtaining the book.

  1. If you are located in Colorado look for the book through the Prospector system (a large group of Colorado and Wyoming libraries that share books and other materials). You may login from your local library if they participate and have the book sent there.
  2. Look for a library near you that has the book through WorldCat. Search for the book's title in quotes . Example search: "sun also rises."
  3. Request the book through your local library's ILL service. Interlibrary loan is a common service in all public and academic libraries.
  4. Faculty researchers should consider asking the publisher for a review copy to study a new book in depth.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Interlibrary loan is a library sharing service for books, articles, media and sometimes, dissertations. Most databases have a link to the Auraria Library Interlibrary loan system on the item information. Once you determine that the library doesn't own the item or doesn't subscribe to the journal, you can click on the link sign in and make a delivery request.

Articles are usually sent as a pdf attachment to an email. You will typically receive your articles within one week; sometimes much less.

Books, proceedings, dissertations, etc. can take a longer because they are shipped.

This service is free for students, faculty and staff on the Auraria Campus. You only need to register and set up a user name and password. To set up your account visit the Interlibrary Loan page.

Getting Audio-Visual Materials at Auraria Library

Audio-visual materials such as movies and music are held at the reserves/audio-video/ media department, at the AskUs desk, on the first floor of Auraria Library. Streaming video, books on tape, audio CDs, scores, videos, DVDs, and vinyl albums are included in the library collection.

Can I check out media items?

It depends on the media and your status (faculty or student). Almost everything can be borrowed by students except videos and DVD's. However we are looking into digitizing and streaming these.

How do I find different media in the library?

All items, regardess of format, are in the catalog. So, search like you are searching for a book:

  • Use keyword or subject then limit by media type (DVD, video, CD).
  • Use the keyword phrase, feature films to find movies.
  • Search by title
  • Search by author using the directors name or composer if music.