Did you know there are 13 times more pages on the internet about German writers than Arabic writers? If you compare it to English language authors, the figures become even more extreme. Today, it is hard to find Arabic content about authors and books online.
The Emirates Literature Foundation in collaboration with Google, is determined to change this, with a target of multiplying by 10 the number of pages about Arab authors on Wikipedia by August 2022.
About the Project
At the Emirates Literature Foundation, we believe in the power of books. We know literature can change and improve lives.
And yet there is little information about Arab books and authors available to the public, offline or online. The desire to read any given book starts with knowing it exists. The lack of information ultimately means that books do not find their audience. For our stories to live on, we need information – especially in this digital era.
This project was conceived to raise awareness of not only authors and books, but of the critical importance of high-quality information. The Foundation is asking schools, universities, and individuals to get involved and work together to increase and enrich Arabic content online.
The Foundation has set itself an ambitious goal: to multiply by 10 the number of Arabic pages about Arab literature available on Wikipedia.
Today, there are barely 1,500 Arabic pages dedicated to Arab authors on Wikipedia, compared to around 20,700 pages for German-language authors, and 19,000 English language authors. Our target is to reach at least 15,000 pages about Arab authors in Arabic and English.
We are grateful to have as partners Arabic digital publishing platforms such as Abjjad. Other communities are also joining forces with us, including Ratal al Kalimat, Mubtada wa Khabar, and we are grateful to have the invaluable support of the UAE’s National Media Council.
Contribute and help us gather data by creating the Wikipedia pages that are missing and translating Arabic or English content so more people can access it.
If you are a digital publisher, a traditional publisher, or a published author and would like to know more, or if you just want to help, please get in touch.
If you are a reader and interested in volunteering, the Emirates Literature Foundation and the UAE User Group of Wikipedia will be offering online training and four levels of certification. Keep an eye on the scheduled sessions. We hope to work with you soon.
This project’s ambition is immense, and these are only the very first steps. In the long run, our aim is to create a strong digital ecosystem for books and content, to the benefit for all of us: authors, publishers, readers and future readers.
Two parts, one initiative
First, we need author data. Sometimes this data is scattered across social media, news websites, and publisher websites. But often, the data is not available online at all. Once we have the data, the second part is to use the data to create a Wikipedia page.
There is a list of authors that currently do not have a Wikipedia page. This list will grow as we get more data. Ultimately, we would like all the authors of the list to have Wikipedia pages in both English and Arabic.
There are two ways to get involved: We will offer training to become a certified Wikipedia editor. If you feel this is not for you, you can still help by researching and submitting data. Learn more at katebmaktub.org.