Skip to Main Content

BOOKENDS September 2021, Volume 5, Issue 1

FEATURE ARTICLE: Welcome back to your KU Libraries


Welcome back to the 2021-2022 Academic year.

We are very excited to welcome all our new and returning students and faculty on campus for the Fall 2021 semester. The Libraries are working hard to ensure a safe and healthy return. We are here in person to support you and your academic needs.

Quick overview of library involvement in KU community during Fall 2021:


The Libraries were highly involved in orientation sessions for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students, providing information on vital library services and facilities. 

PD Week

The libraries made a presentation regarding the electronic resources the university provides to its researchers. A complete list of the electronic resources are available on the e-resources page, and a copy of the presentation can be found here. We also answered questions regarding related topics, such as Open Access

Community Service Week

As part of community service, the libraries provided information sessions to various KU student groups on referencing, database search techniques, ethics and plagiarism, evaluating websites, patents, and standards in engineering. 

Library Services

Both the Main Campus and Habshan Libraries are open from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, Sunday through Wednesday; and 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on Thursday.

The libraries are equipped with public access computers and printers-scanners-copiers, quiet study rooms, and study carrels. Our public service desk librarians are glad to answer any question or inquiry about research, library materials and services.

The KU libraries have over 120,000 print books in its collections, as well as access to over a half a million e-books. The electronic resource collection also includes more than 35,000 full-text journals with over a million full-text articles available and accessible from anywhere in the world, via the university's proxy server. We have hundreds of recent novels for your leisure reading, as well as collections that focus on the Emirates, ADNOC, and Japan. We also have a collection of juvenile books on STEAM subjects.

You are always welcome to stop by at any time as the library team are strongly committed to supporting you in your learning journey.  You can contact us at Library Services email  or via our Online Reference Chat Service.


The library hosted six events in September for our patrons. These events demonstrated how to get the most of the libraries services and resources. In general, the library hosts events ever week. You can always see the upcoming events by looking at the Library Event Calendar.

September 2 - Beyond a Scientific Full-text Platform: How Science Direct can Help Increase Your Scientific Productivity

Presented in co-operation with Elsevier, participants in this workshop learned about efficient & fast literature discovery, how to use topic pages to support distance learning, unlocking the "Five Ws of a research area", and discovering of appropriate research collaboration opportunities

September 6 - PubMed Workshop

Jason Fetty, our Medical Library, presented a workshop on PubMed. PubMed is a freely available research tool from the National Library of Medicine in the USA. It includes the MEDLINE database, which indexes millions of journal citations and abstracts in areas including medicine and nursing. This workshop covered the basics of using PubMed, including the new search interface.

September 8 - Web of Science Workshop

Presented in co-operation with Clarivate, participants learned about Web of Science (WoS), which provides access to authoritative content from the highest impact journals in science, social sciences, arts, and humanities. This session gave an overview of WoS, focused on research and publishing. Attendees learned how to use citations to identify the most recent research and analyze results to identify authors, funding agencies, and journals.

September 15 - LinkedIn Learning

Brian Hall, our Systems Librarian, gave a demonstration of LinkedIn Learning. This resource is free to use for all KU faculty, staff, and students. Formerly called, LinkedIn Learning has thousands of online courses in business, education, technology, and creative/artistic fields. Using this resource, you can learn to code in Python, become a more efficient user of Excel, find out how to more effectively use technology in the classroom, and so much more. Directions for logging in and using LinkedIn Learning can be found here, and a recording of the session is available for review here.

September 22- RefWorks Citation Management

Muna Abdulla, the Public Services Librarian, in collaboration with ProQuest, presented a workshop on RefWorks. RefWorks is a reference/citation management service. With an improved user experience, full-text management, and collaboration features, RefWorks gives students and faculty a tool that enables a more efficient and reliable process for tracking citations and creating footnotes and bibliographies, which lets these researchers produce more effective research papers. A recording of the workshop is available for viewing here.

September 28 – E-Resources and search techniques

Rani Anand, our Electronic Services Librarian, conducted a workshop on learning how to use KU subscribed databases and academic resources. Participants learned how to perform basic searches, how to narrow search results using advanced filters, and how to use advanced search techniques, including Boolean logic and truncation, to find the most important and relevant results.



David Young, English lecturer on the Preparatory Program sheds light on what students need to get ahead in the academic game – storytelling.

We dream in narrative, daydream in narrative, remember, anticipate, hope, despair, believe, doubt, plan, revise, criticize, construct, gossip, learn, hate, and live by narrative.” (Telling Alternative Stories, Professor Wayne Eastman, Rutgers Business School)

Telling stories is how humans make sense of the world. This fascinating insight into the power of narratives was shared by Professor Stavroula Kalogeras during KU’s Fall 2021 Professional Development (PD) Week. She succinctly cited the research of cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner: the human brain is wired to remember stories.

Stories are intrinsically more memorable than a glut of facts and figures. How much more? Twenty-two times, according to Bruner, and if data and story elements are intertwined, the target audiences (i.e. our students) are going to be moved both intellectually and emotionally.

The New York Times best-selling author Daniel Pink says “Stories are easier to remember because, stories are how we remember and that what matters is the ability to place these facts in context and to deliver them with emotional impact.” In his 2006 book A Whole New Mind, Pink pitches that the future will belong to artists, inventors, and storytellers. Indeed, history has shown that those who control the narrative tend to thrive.

But how do students start to engage with new narratives? The advice of renowned linguist Stephen Krashen, Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Southern California and a plenary speaker during Fall 2020 PD Week is simple: “By reading. It doesn’t matter what they read, as long as they’re reading.” Peruse his myriad publications and you’ll unearth this motif again and again.

In plain English, our students should venture across genres, not only to develop an awareness of registers, but more significantly to foster a reading habit. Consider this: By engaging students’ interests through reading, the chances of enhancing both their linguistic and academic skills increase profoundly. One more time, for good measure - skilled readers hit high GPAs.

Krashen postulates that if students are reading out of interest, on any topic, they encounter language patterns and repeated exposure to those iterations advances critical thinking faculties that will serve them throughout their academic and professional careers.

“We Learn to Write by Reading, But Writing Can Make You Smarter” is the nifty title of one of Krashen’s papers. In brief, writing style comes from reading, and writing facilitates problem solving. Even the most mechanical interpretation indicates the application of this rationale reaches well beyond just rhetoric and academic writing courses and into science and engineering.

We all accept that the critical thinking skills involved in brainstorming, collaborative projects, and dissertations are exercises in channeling divergent thinking. Notably though, in the Harvard Business Review, Dr. Beth Rieken and her colleagues argue for the necessity of training engineers towards divergent thinking by introducing mindfulness training.

Rieken and her team believe students have to be equipped with innovative tools to address complex interdisciplinary problems effectively. Therein lies the problem, as these skills are not automatically fostered in engineering courses, which are more traditional in orientation. Writer and contributor at Forbes and CNBC, Thomas Oppong adds that if you want to think outside the box, you have to start by looking and reading outside your scope.

And so we may coax and cajole our students to pick up a book or browse a website, in the hope that a love of reading or current affairs will spark to life, yet time inexorably passes without progress and reading slips even further down our students’ list of priorities. Krashen’s last visit to KU to exhort us to encourage our students to start, at least, turning a few pages is becoming a distant memory.

Too often, we lament that if our students can find a video on YouTube or Instagram to illuminate a topic or assignment, the chances of that student cracking the spine on a book just fizzles out. How often have we felt defeated in the battle with social media for our students’ attention? To reverse the trend, it appears, we have to start one.

Kalogeras says it is imperative that students have the opportunities to engage in divergent thinking practice – to coach creativity and innovation. Audaciously, she champions storytelling as an integral component in all courses and quotes Robert McKee, the award-winning screenwriting teaching guru: “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”

You may think this is not the right fit for you, your courses, or your student profiles. If so, look to Professor Oliver Knill at Harvard, who employs Hollywood movies to engage his students. In Transmedia Storytelling and the New Era of Media Convergence in Higher Education, Kalogeras highlights Professor Knill’s unexpected pairing of narrative and mathematical concepts, from The Hangover and Fourier theory, to A Serious Man and the uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics. Seemingly The Double is a gem of a lead-in to a statistics lesson on hypothesis and p-value.

Associate Professor Jal Mehta of the Harvard Graduate School of Education cautions that engagement is the precondition for learning, and no learning happens until students agree to become engaged with the material. Surely we know stories to engage and teach. Stories have done so since the beginning of time; they’ve been part of the very fabric of our communities and societies and shared culture. We might just have forgotten how much leverage they offer though.

Busson and Cubukcu explore the science behind the storytelling scenes, by delving into research in cognitive neuroscience to demonstrate that we learn and retain material much better when we are actively engaged in our learning experiences. Students need to connect to content and take ownership of it, they argue, and teaching should provide the platform for students to build narratives they can negotiate together.

Fascinatingly, during the collaborative process, nature plays a role. Oxytocin, dopamine, and cortisol are all released, boosting memory capacity, and creating a “feel-good factor”. Students, inadvertently, may be at risk of falling in love with storytelling and learning, thanks to the innate chemical infusion caused by emotionally engaging with narratives.

Kalogeras heralds transmedia storytelling and the practice of using multiple platforms, through which narratives can be meaningfully shared with students. An exposure to multiple input sources and a rudimentary grasp of a range of genres are integral to students being able to process and produce narratives; growth in these capacities serves to facilitate recall and retention.

I’ve had the privilege of running storytelling workshops in KU’s auditoriums for undergraduate students and been impressed by participants engaging with unknown peers. Challenged to pool cognitive resources, the students have repeatedly exhibited the ability to draw on prior knowledge and successfully construct group narratives - on stage. In truth, the energy and spontaneity in the room was generated by the storytellers and not the guide on the side.

As Krashen and Kalogeras would advise, read and tell stories, and create collaborative and constructive learning environments – they are critical to academic success. It’s the reason I try to lead by example and share samples of my own journalism and radio recordings (see below). You have to be willing to tell a story to get one in return. And each semester, I’m impressed. Students pay it forward and then some.

When your shyest student’s storytelling engages the whole class, it’s a most rewarding experience, for everyone.

Suggested Reading

We learn to write by reading, but writing can make you smarter (Stephen Krashen):

A Whole New Mind (Daniel Pink)

How Mindfulness Can Help Engineers Solve Problems, Harvard Business Review (Beth Rieken, Shauna Shapiro, Shannon Gilmartin, and Sheri D. Sheppard),:

9 Ways to Harness Your Creativity (Thomas Oppong, )

Bored Out of Their Minds (Jal Mehta):

4 Traits of Innovative Business Educators (Busson & Cubukcu)

MAGAZINE FEATURE STORIES (Profiles published in Yalla Abu Dhabi Life)

From humble beginnings to world-renowned institution: the remarkable story of Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital and the pioneer behind it. Check out Abu Dhabi Life Magazine (Arts & Culture, Page 70-71: Flight Commander):

Meet a living legend: Master of the Horse - Ali Al Ameri is renowned for his uncanny knack for training horses, especially those considered problematic. Ali’s not a whisperer though. He doesn’t utter sweet nothings into the equine ear: Ali simply moves and horses follow his lead. (Check out Yalla Abu Dhabi Life Magazine, p.6-7:

Looking for a little inspiration? Watch Filipino talents enter the UAE’s creative fray to contribute to the country’s shared cultural space by checking out Yalla Abu Dhabi Life Magazine (Page 46-47: Home is where the art is):

Look after the person and everything else will fall into place. Doing the right thing: the man behind Abu Dhabi most-loved football programme, Seth Amoafo, is building much more than just a business. Check out Abu Dhabi Life Magazine (Page 38: Community Builder & Believer):

RADIO DOCUMENTARY (Award-nominated documentary, written, narrated, and produced for RTE Radio One, Ireland’s national broadcaster)

Cork’s Hidden Village:

[read more]

LIBRARIAN CORNER - E-Resources Librarian

Libraries and librarians have been closely identified with books in the popular imagination for a very long time. This stereotype goes back centuries if one considers the historical record, before the modern profession of librarianship developed in the 19th Century. The shift from analog to digital communications continues to change society at large, let alone libraries, and both understanding and adapting to the full ramifications of this shift is an ongoing process.

In the 1990s, libraries tended to treat electronic resources as an exotic new format, separate from and in addition to the print collections. Electronic resources account for the majority of the scarce financial resources spent on library materials.

The Electronic Resources Librarian oversees development of digital assets for the university, serves as library liaison to selected academic majors and programs, teaches information literacy at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and regularly works at the information desk.

Khalifa University subscribes to approximately 90 electronic databases that cater to the need of its various departments and subject specializations. These resources are vital for the faculty, researchers, and students to accomplish their academic and research goals.

The E-resources librarian plays a wide variety of roles in academic institutions. They manages electronic databases and information sources by acquiring, licensing, setting access by authentication. Collaborating with the systems librarian, they strive to increase the visibility, discoverability and usage of the e-resources, using tools like link resolvers to troubleshoot access issues. The E-resources librarian also conducts teaching sessions and workshops to students, faculty, and researchers, demonstrating how to use a range of databases and information resources, including subject specific databases such as IEEE, citation databases like: Web of science and Scopus, and research oriented information sources like Patents and standards.

Electronic Resources Tasks Illustrated


Self-Checkout Machines

KU Libraries are equipped with the self-checkout machines. These devices allow you to be self-sufficient in checking out library items, returning items, or checking on your library account. The machines are located near the entrance of both branches, on the first floor of the Main Campus Library and on the ground floor of Habshan Library. To use the machines, patrons will need to bring their KU ID cards.

Multipurpose Printers/Copiers/Scanners

Each branch of the KU Libraries has multiple multipurpose printers. Each of these machines can perform multiple tasks. These devices can print, in color and black and white, from any computer on campus that is part of the KUNet domain (i.e. all public computers in the libraries as well as all staff computers. They can scan documents and other material, producing either PDF or JPEG versions, and email the resulting files to your campus email. And they can also copy any papers that you might need. To use these, devices, just bring your KU ID card to unlock all these feature.


  • Habshan Library has the largest collection of physical books at KU with more than 70,000 print volumes.
  • Despite widespread belief, the Library of Alexandria was not destroyed by fire, but by decades of neglect and lack of funding?
  • The Main Campus Library has 3 levels and Habshan Library has 2 levels.
  • In 1986, the Los Angeles Central Library had a fire that destroyed 400,000 books and damaged another 350,000.
  • All print books in the KU collection can be reserved by library patrons by using the "Hold" function in the library catalog?