The Emirates Literature Foundation and Google have launched a new “Kateb Maktub” project with the aim of boosting the number of Arab author pages on Wikipedia:

A news release suggests there are fewer than 1,500 pages on Wikipedia for Arab authors, although it wasn’t clear who was counted and how.

As part of the project, The Emirates Literature Foundation is “looking to recruit an ‘army of volunteers’ to join the movement and become Wikipedia data editors, gathering and sharing content about Arab authors and books so they can be known worldwide.”

Project organizers announced a goal of publishing 15,000 Wikipedia pages dedicated to Arab authors, in English and Arabic, by December 2022. It wasn’t immediately clear how authors would be chosen, although all published authors were encouraged to register through the form, and they were also soliciting suggestions from readers.

The project also aims to clarify transliteration issues. The Emirates Literature Foundation announced that they will provide authors with an “International Standard Name Identifier,” a 16-digit number is attributed to each author, which they tout as the “key to avoiding identity ambiguity online or offline, where names can be spelt differently, including in translation.”

The announcement came ahead of World Arabic Language Day, celebrated every year on December 18. You can find more at katebmaktub.org.

3 thoughts on “‘Kateb Maktub’ Initiative to Boost Arab Author Pages on Wikipedia

  1. This is indeed a lovely initiative. I have been working with Wikipedia Education for two years now on a similar project. With the help of Wikipedia Education and our librarians at the American University of Beirut, my students have been compiling articles on Lebanese and Arab authors to digitize our literary heritage. Students undergo rigorous training with Wikipedia to learn how to edit and compile Wikipedia articles. Check out the post below:
    https://www.facebook.com/abir.ward/posts/10158835170892618

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