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BOOKENDS September 2020, Volume 4, Issue 1

FEATURE ARTICLE: Reopening of KU Libraries

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities across the UAE have implemented distance learning and education programs. Khalifa University libraries are ready to provide our users with all the virtual resources that they need in these times. We are committed to continuing the support for the KU community of students, faculty and researchers for learning and teaching endeavors. Since many courses are now fully online, our goal is to maximize online access to our resources and provide virtual support for digital research and learning.

As the university begins to implement its plans to return safely to campus, the library facilities with the necessary safety measures are now accessible to students, faculty, and staff. At the same time, we are making sure that our digital collections are still available, and that other services supported by digital technology can be provided without interruption. The online learning-related services, highlighted for our students, faculty and staff on the library website, will help you find the appropriate services and assist you in completing assignments and learning tasks. Examples of these services include Inter-Library Loans and requesting resources.

Since the campus closed at the end of March 2020, the KU library team has continued to provide online access to the library’s resources, services and academic support. However, we understand how crucial the library space is to our all users and we would like to update you on the reopening stages.

The three campus libraries are now open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Sunday to Thursday. The bookshelves are currently off-limits to users, to reduce the possible spread of the virus. However, all users can still borrow items by placing a hold on items in the library catalog or by contacting library staff directly. Computers and printers are available. Group study rooms are open but limited to one user at a time. For the present, we will be conducting all our training sessions and activities online. You can see all upcoming events on the library homepage:

We are dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming learning hub for all the KU community. The library team wish you a successful academic year and a safe environment.



Over this summer, the library, in coordination with the KU Communications Team, has implemented a redesign of the library homepage. The site is easier to use on mobile devices, and matches the colors and design of the overall campus website. At the same time, it still has all the links and information that you need to access all our resources and information. Take a look and tell us what you think:


Open Access (OA) publishing is a model that provides free and open access to scholarly articles for anyone in the world, without needing to have access to a subscription. The publishing of OA articles has increased rapidly over the last decade and Open Access publishing is quickly approaching parity with traditional publishing methods in many academic fields.

This year, the administration of the university has launched a program to support its researchers when they publish in high-quality OA journals. The university has agreements with three publishers, the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and Wiley, to pay the article processing charges (APC) for OA articles published in Q1 journals by those publishers. The project may be expanded to other publishers in the future, but at least for this year, it is limited to these three.

The KU Libraries are coordinating to help with this project by interacting with publishers to approve the payment of the APCs, to provide training for authors on how to go about choosing a journal and publishing their articles in an OA journal, and to be the central clearinghouse for information on everything related to OA publishing for Khalifa University. You can learn more details about the project at our website:


Citation Databases - An Overview

Abstract and Citation databases are databases that have been developed for evaluating publications. The citation databases enable you to count citations and check, for example, which articles or journals are the most cited ones.

Three major databases allow interdisciplinary citation searching: Web of Science (WoS), SciVerse Scopus, and Google Scholar.

Some other databases, such as SciFinder Scholar (Chemistry), MathSciNet (Mathematics), and PubMed (Medicine), allow citation searching of smaller sets of journals and/or journals focused on specific disciplines.

Researchers routinely use databases such as Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Scopus to search scholarly information and consult bibliometric indicators such as citation counts. However, although an understanding of the basic characteristics of these services is needed for effective literature searches and for deciding whether their indicators are appropriate for use in research evaluations, the differences between these databases in terms of coverage and reliability of the data are still not widely known.

Web of Science and Scopus rely on a set of source selection criteria, applied by expert editors, to decide which journals, conference proceedings, and books the database should index. Conversely, Google Scholar follows an inclusive and automated approach, indexing any (apparently) scholarly document that its robot crawlers are able to find on the academic web.

We have a subscription to both databases, Web of Science and Scopus, and additionally we have access to many (but not all) of the full-text articles online. They are useful for finding articles, and also for tracking citations and other metrics. WoS, which covers 34,623 peer-reviewed journals, is now available with its core collection bundled with specialist databases. Specialist databases focus on a single subject. Examples are Medline, BIOSIS Citation Index, CAB Direct, and Zoological Record. Databases with a document type focus like Derwent Innovations Index (patents) and Data Citation Index (datasets and data studies) and databases highlighting content from regions around the world are also included.

Scopus is an interdisciplinary bibliographic online database launched in 2004 containing abstracts and citations as a competitor to Web of Science. Scopus is owned by Elsevier, an international publication group. Scopus covers physical and environmental sciences, life sciences, health sciences, social sciences, engineering, business, and management. It includes about 36,000 journal titles from more than 11,000 international publishers in scientific, medical, technical, and social science fields, of which nearly 23,452 are peer-reviewed.

Note that the h-index from WoS and Scopus could vary, because of the differences in data sources. For example, if one particular database indexes and draws data from a larger number of journals, then it may have more citations.

You can watch a recent seminar on Web of Science here. 

If you want to learn more about citation, attend our upcoming workshops at:

LIBRARIAN CORNER: System Librarian

The stereotypical image of a librarian in movies and TV is a silent staff member, sitting behind the circulation desk, reading books and telling the library users to keep quiet. However, almost no field has been more transformed by information technology in the last 30 years than libraries. Moreover, nothing shows how much this has changed as the position of Systems Librarian.

The system librarian is responsible for all the library’s technological needs, which are many, in constant flux and are increasing all the time. The librarian has to maintain and update the library website, which involves knowing both how to use the particular content management system the site is hosted on, as well as needing to understand the underlying technology (HTML, JavaScript, CSS, etc.). The librarian also has to co-ordinate the library’s online catalog (which stores the records of the library’s physical books). This involves understanding how the system stores the records, how to convert those records to the standard MARC format for moving records between systems and knowing enough about each area of the library to be able to assist staff whenever they encounter a problem.

The systems librarian, working with the electronic resources librarian, ensures that the connections to the electronic resources via the university’s proxy server (which allows access to the resources from off-campus) are always available.  The proxy server configuration has to be updated whenever a new resource is added. The library staff rely on the systems librarian to troubleshoot any IT problems that they have with their projects, which means becoming a skilled user of all the most commonly used software.

FACULTY CORNER: Dr. Glenda El Gamal

A daily habit of reading can help students develop academically. Let’s hear what Dr. Glenda El Gamal has to say on this topic!

“Multiple studies support that students who read independently become better readers, score higher on achievement tests in all subject areas, and have greater content knowledge and world knowledge, than those who do not. It’s vital for our KU students at all levels to develop their reading skills, to fulfil the requirements of all of their courses. In addition, there is a well-established link between reading and writing. Basically, the more we read, the better we write. Recently, during our August PD week, one of the global gurus of language acquisition, Dr. Stephen Krashen, gave a plenary at KU, and he also passionately advocated for the promotion of extensive reading among our students."

“In the English department, we are also passionate about the promotion of reading among our student body and this semester, I’ve launched a new elective ‘Academic Reading’ (LTCM150), where students can spend a semester intensifying their reading skills, and hopefully developing a life-long habit of reading for pleasure. Dr. Mark Dressman, Chair of English, is also strongly behind this initiative and I’m happy to say that we have a full section (with a waiting list) of 25 students who are already enthusiastically enrolled in class, and have read more in the last month since Fall semester started, than they have read for years. They are, we hope, well on their way to becoming skilled, passionate, habitual and critical readers, and we hope students will continue to read and thrive, and that these skills will help them excel in all their academic subjects at KU.

“It is critical for students studying engineering, and other sciences, to have an advanced understanding of English, and to develop strong academic reading skills. Whether we like or not, English is generally considered the language of science and engineering in the modern world. Montgomery (2013) noted that between 80 and 90% of research published in scientific fields is written in English, and in order for our students to be able to publish in English, they need strong reading and writing academic communication skills.

“We are also very mindful that our KU students often have little time to spend on English and those studying science and engineering already have a great deal of science/engineering related material to study to complete their degree. This course is designed to help students acquire the required English advanced academic reading and writing skills in a way which will positively impact their science and engineering studies and we hope that this Academic Reading course will help foster both a love of reading and enhance their ability to conduct and publish research”.


  • Khalifa University Libraries have nearly 120,000 books in their three library branches.

  • Khalifa Univerity Libraries have more than 500,000 ebooks available to their patrons. 

  • You can chat with a reference librarian anytime that the library is open at

  • In 2018, more than 700,000 articles were published in Gold Open Access journals around the world.

  • At the end of 1992, there were only ten websites in existence? In 2019, there were an estimated 1.72 billion.

  • The first known published crossword puzzle was in 1913, in the New York World newspaper.

  • KU authors published more than 2,000 articles, conference papers, reviews, book chapters and editorials in 2019.

  • China publishes the greatest number of new books every year. During the most recent year for which stats were available, China published more than 400,000 new titles and re-editions.

  • Germans spend the most per capita on buying new books. In 2017, the average German spent more than 49 Euros (212 AED) on books.