New Deal To Launch Free Arabic Encyclopedia Online

| Jun 3, 2008 | comment 14 Comments

Emirates Internet Group has signed a cooperation agreement with Abu Ghazaleh Group to establish a free Arabic encyclopedia on the Internet.

The encyclopedia will cover a lot of applied science, and the human, economic and technology aspects will be addressed to the Arabic user, to enrich the electronic content of the Arabic language and to build a scientific referenced academic site with high quality.

A specialized committee of academics and scientists will insure the control of articles, and monitor and evaluate them from the perspective of academic and research centers. The enrichment of the encyclopedia will depend on the participation of knowledge specialists in specific fields, as the participants can correct and discuss and also to add more information in the encyclopedia, without violating the rights of the author or any other rights .

Two thoughts cross my mind in response to this piece of news: one is a very positive one; it’s great to see these Arab groups investing in knowledge and working to create more Arab content online.

On the other hand, I’m not too sure about the approach; instead of launching a whole new encyclopedia from scratch, with all the difficulties and costs that will entail, why not support the little groups of people from all over the Arab world who are passionately working on growing the Arabic version of Wikipedia?
I mean the platform already exists, it’s open, it’s easy to use, and it already has a head start, the teams are there already inputting information, and many people already trust it and use it, so why not just use that?
Is it so that it can be labeled as an Arab project? But isn’t the goal what’s most important? To share knowledge and get more Arab content out there?

I personally think this project would have more chances of success if it were to go with enriching the Arabic version of Wikipedia instead of creating a whole new encyclopedia, and I fear that if they don’t it’ll only end up like every other previous Arab initiative.

# Source: BI-ME

  • http://blog.w43l.com w43l

    i totally agree with you, why start something new when you have something already exist , and there is something else im afraid of , having a company to control an encyclopedia means that even if it is free it is not gonna be open , which (in my opinion) could lead to some problems especially in some political & historical subjects, anyway we have to wait and see

  • http://blog.w43l.com w43l

    i totally agree with you, why start something new when you have something already exist , and there is something else im afraid of , having a company to control an encyclopedia means that even if it is free it is not gonna be open , which (in my opinion) could lead to some problems especially in some political & historical subjects, anyway we have to wait and see

  • http://www.za3tar.net/ za3tar

    I agree with you. I like this initiative because we really need to enrich the Arabic scientific content on the web. However yes, maybe adding it to a project like Wikipedia would give it more momentum. Instead of spending time and money on building the platform, they should adopt an existing technology/site. I guess they can use the Wikimedia wiki engine .. but then again why not just use Wikipedia.

    I also think that using wikipedia has an added advantage in that it may encourage more people to participate in it if they see richer articles in it.

  • http://www.za3tar.net/ za3tar

    I agree with you. I like this initiative because we really need to enrich the Arabic scientific content on the web. However yes, maybe adding it to a project like Wikipedia would give it more momentum. Instead of spending time and money on building the platform, they should adopt an existing technology/site. I guess they can use the Wikimedia wiki engine .. but then again why not just use Wikipedia.

    I also think that using wikipedia has an added advantage in that it may encourage more people to participate in it if they see richer articles in it.

  • http://ammaribrahim.com Ammar Ibrahim

    Exactly, why do we always have the mentality of starting from scratch. The first source that most people I know check is Wikipedia. Why can’t they support small groups as you said, or even better fund specialists in academic institutions to hire employees to contribute to Wikipedia.

    I think this project will never get the right exposure, if it’s not started on wikipedia.

  • http://ammaribrahim.com Ammar Ibrahim

    Exactly, why do we always have the mentality of starting from scratch. The first source that most people I know check is Wikipedia. Why can’t they support small groups as you said, or even better fund specialists in academic institutions to hire employees to contribute to Wikipedia.

    I think this project will never get the right exposure, if it’s not started on wikipedia.

  • Victor Alison

    Clearly your views reflect the typical western mind, which is “we create and develop the tools, while you Arabs just use them”. The whole point of starting the project from scratch is to structure it for the Arabic user instead of fitting him into a latin-based suit. It is important for Arabs to develop their own tools, whether search engines,browsers, wikis, DNS resolvers etc and enrich the internet with their own creativity, design and heritage. One of the main reasons why Arabic internet users do not use the internet to the same extent as western users, is not because they lack resources or are less tech savvy, but rather that the tools of the internet are designed for Anglo-Saxons and not Arabs. Only when Arab organizations fund original research will we begin to see the creativity of the Arabic mind, a mind that for centuries led innovation and productivity in all academic fields.

  • Victor Alison

    Clearly your views reflect the typical western mind, which is “we create and develop the tools, while you Arabs just use them”. The whole point of starting the project from scratch is to structure it for the Arabic user instead of fitting him into a latin-based suit. It is important for Arabs to develop their own tools, whether search engines,browsers, wikis, DNS resolvers etc and enrich the internet with their own creativity, design and heritage. One of the main reasons why Arabic internet users do not use the internet to the same extent as western users, is not because they lack resources or are less tech savvy, but rather that the tools of the internet are designed for Anglo-Saxons and not Arabs. Only when Arab organizations fund original research will we begin to see the creativity of the Arabic mind, a mind that for centuries led innovation and productivity in all academic fields.

  • http://register.tag-pedia.org/?lang=en Ramez Quneibi

    I completely agree with you Victor. That’s why we decided to create a new encyclopedia. It will be customized for Arabs and it will fit their needs.

  • http://register.tag-pedia.org/?lang=en Ramez Quneibi

    I completely agree with you Victor. That’s why we decided to create a new encyclopedia. It will be customized for Arabs and it will fit their needs.

  • http://www.almsaodi.com Amad

    Interesting discussion…

    I kind of agree with both sides.. I don’t like re-inventing the wheel, but I also want us to own our own platforms.

    Honestly, we should use a case by case approach.. there are times where we can reuse things and there are times when we have to start from scratch.

    Lets not get politics into the game.. why do you think that the Anglo-Saxons used the Arabic Numerics and the endless discovers of Arabic scholars.. they didn’t want to re-invent something that has been done. We can always use what is available, improve it, or come up with something that is better.

    As I write this comment, I find myself leaning towards reusing .. i.e. use wikipedia or come up with something better.

  • http://www.almsaodi.com Amad

    Interesting discussion…

    I kind of agree with both sides.. I don’t like re-inventing the wheel, but I also want us to own our own platforms.

    Honestly, we should use a case by case approach.. there are times where we can reuse things and there are times when we have to start from scratch.

    Lets not get politics into the game.. why do you think that the Anglo-Saxons used the Arabic Numerics and the endless discovers of Arabic scholars.. they didn’t want to re-invent something that has been done. We can always use what is available, improve it, or come up with something that is better.

    As I write this comment, I find myself leaning towards reusing .. i.e. use wikipedia or come up with something better.

  • https://www.arabgridforlearning.com/p/welcome Arno

    I just saw a new infrastructure on the web, it can interest universities…
    https://www.arabgridforlearning.com/p/welcome

    Looks really well made…!

  • https://www.arabgridforlearning.com/p/welcome Arno

    I just saw a new infrastructure on the web, it can interest universities…
    https://www.arabgridforlearning.com/p/welcome

    Looks really well made…!

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