In the world of libraries, the term “database” is commonly used to refer to electronic indexes of periodical literature ( journals, magazines, newspapers, and so on). Use the library databases to find articles on your topic. Some databases only provide abstracts, while others provide full text.
Catalogs are used to represent the library’s holdings, both electronic and print. Think of the old days and the card catalog. We’re talking about the same thing here, just that library catalogs today are web based and accessible via the library website. Use the library catalogs Lumen and Prospector to find the books you need.
A bit more about catalogs. Many libraries allow you to link to electronic resources via their catalog. For example, in the Lumen catalog you can find catalog records with links to electronic books, journals, and thesis. Keep in mind that although you can find links to electronic journals in the library catalog, what you cannot do is search for specific articles, just the journal title itself. So as a general rule: databases for articles searches, catalogs for book searches.
*On this blog, information about the library catalogs and databases can be found in the Databases category