Skip to main content

Navigating Library Research: Unit 6: The Library Catalog

The Library Catalog

Library catalogs are a type of database. They contain records for the materials a library owns. Today, most link directly to the library's electronic resources. Thus you can access articles and electronic books through the catalog.

This section focuses on Auraria Library's catalog, which is called Skyline. You can apply most of what you learn to other libraries' catalogs. Topics include:

  • Search options
  • Understanding catalog records
  • Media other than books
  • Searching Prospector

Searching the Library Catalog

Most users search the Auraria Library's catalog through the Skyline advanced search. 

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.

Finding Magazines, Journals, and Newspapers

You can also use Skyline to see whether the Library subscribes to a particular magazine, journal, or newspaper. Enter Skyline and click the Journal Title tab. Enter the publication's title. You can see whether the Library subscribes and, if so, which years it owns.

Searching Prospector

Prospector is a system in which college, university, and public libraries across Colorado and Wyoming share books and other materials. It is free for Auraria Campus students, faculty, and staff. You can search Prospector right from the Auraria Library's home page.

People tend to use Prospector in three main situations:

  1. When they have a particular book or other item in mind and the Auraria Library doesn't own it.
  2. When the Auraria Library's copy of an item has already been checked out.
  3. When they need books on a specific topic and the Auraria Library does not have a wide variety.

What Catalog Records Are

Each item the library owns has a catalog record. This is a list of information about the item. When you first look at an item's record, you'll probably want to see if it's available--look here in the red circle. If the item is available, look through the record for some more information about the content. If the item looks appropriate for your research, write down the call number and go find it (or ask a librarian for help). You can also click the "Send via text Message" button to send yourself the info you'll need to find the book on the shelf.

How to Find a Catalog Record

Got an item in mind? Here's how to find its record. Search for the item in the catalog:

search for Midnight's Children

 Click on the title of the item you're interested in. This will take you to the catalog record.

What Can I Find Using the Catalog?

You can find records for pretty much everything the library owns. This includes:

  • Books
  • Electronic books
  • Periodicals(titles of journals/magazines/newspapers the Library subscribes to; NOT individual articles)
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Maps
  • Historical items in the Archives
  • Government documents

To find these different material types, use the "Material Type" filter when searching the library's Skyline catalog, as seen below.

Electronic Books

Auraria Library purchases thousands of ebooks, books available online. You can access them through the library catalog. Records for electronic books have a link to "connect to resource" in the record.  If you are off campus, you will be asked to login using your school credentials.

catalog record for an ebook

After clicking on the title, you will get a screen with a small picture of the electronic book. Click "View this eBook" to open the book.

screen showing electronic book

Once you're in the electronic book, you can navigate from chapter to chapter or page to page, just like a regular book. To move to a particular chapter, click on its title on the left side of the page. To move from one page to the next, click on the "Previous" or "Next" buttons at the top of the page.

electronic book navigation screen