Emirates Literature Foundation’s initiative, Kateb Maktub, has spearheaded the drive to increase the number of Arab author pages on Wikipedia in both Arabic and English and reports a 516 per cent growth in the short span of one year. The initiative was launched in late 2020 with the goal to make information about Arab authors and literature easily available online. Its ambitious target was to multiply by ten the number of articles about Arab authors on the internet by December 2022.
The articles created give Arab authors a consolidated record of their achievements on Wikipedia, giving them a credible reference point and discoverability for readers around the world. The Emirates Literature Foundation and its engaged volunteers continue to gather data and produce high quality, fact-checked articles with the initial aim to have 15,000 Arab authors pages on Wikipedia by December 2022. To date, Kateb Maktub has created 12,150 articles, bringing the total number of Arab author profiles on Wikipedia to 13,650.
“Kateb Maktub is an ambitious project, but much needed. It builds on our enthusiasm for the Arabic language and Emirates Literature Foundation’s mission to support and nurture a love of literature in the UAE and across the region. As a part of this mission, we want to help readers from around the world to discover the wealth of talented writers we have in the UAE and the wider Arab World,” said Ahlam Bolooki, Festival Director for Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. “It has been very rewarding to witness the initiative’s success in in the short time since its launch and we have to remember the tremendous efforts of the contributors, volunteers and editors that made this success possible.”
Ahlam continued, “We all share a vision to put Arab authors and their great cultural contributions in the spotlight, positioning them on an equal platform with other major literary powers of the world.”
The Emirates Literature Foundation has joined ISNI as a Registration Agency in January 2021, and as a part of Kateb Maktub, the Foundation will be assigning International Standard Name Identifier – ISNI – to Arab authors. The ISNI is a 16-digit number that is uniquely attributed to each author, and it is key to avoiding identity ambiguity online or offline, where names can be spelt differently, including in translation.
Kateb Maktub’s efforts and experience were the cornerstone for the Wikimedians of the UAE User Group, the first User Group to form in the GCC, which contributes to the initiative’s strategy of expanding online content to feature various aspects of life in the UAE and the region, such as arts, business, tourism, science, history, and more. The strategy is based on the belief that freely available information in Arabic is the foundation of a strong cultural economy.
The Kateb Maktub team calls on avid readers interested in literature, traditional and digital publishers, and published authors to sign up as volunteers and support the initiative’s goal to achieve tangible change in the reality of digital Arabic literature.
More information about Kateb Maktub available on https://www.katebmaktub.org/en
More information about the Emirates Literature Foundation can be found online and year-round news of #EmiratesLitFest on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The Foundation also has two podcasts; the Best of the Emirates LitFest, and the Boundless Book Club.
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