Lecture Explores Arabic Content Generation in Wikipedia

The Public Relations Office at Birzeit University organized a lecture   importance of Wikipedia in scientific research and explored the importance of generating Arabic content in Wikipedia and within the Web in general. The lecture was held on November 16, 2017.

The lecture, presented by the Teaching Assistant in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at the Technical University of Dortmund Mohammad Abedellatif, highlighted the “DAAD Initiative”.  

Abedellatif gave a general overview of Wikipedia, its history, and its standards of publishing, “Wikipedia, which is a portmanteau of Wiki, which means quick in Hawaiian, and Pedia, the second part of Encyclopedia, which means education. Wikipedia, through its open nature, has become one of the world’s biggest repositories of knowledge; it is now written in more than 200 languages.”

“One of the problems with Wikipedia,” Abedellatif added, “is that people don’t view it as a trustworthy source of information. A 2005 study by Nature compared between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica and found that both sources had a very close number of mistakes. One mistake that people do when using Wikipedia is that they treat is as a primary source when it is actually a vessel of sources, each one of them should be checked and reviewed before committing as a primary source.”

Abedellatif also detailed the “DAAD Initiative”, of which he is a co-founder, “The DAAD Initiative was launched in 2014 by a group of Arab students at the Technical University of Dortmund. One of the problems that we faced was a shortage of Arabic content on the Web in general, and in Wikipedia specifically. To add to that, the few Arabic articles that were found on Wikipedia at that time had little or no documentation or references for the information presented. Through this initiative, we set out to counter this issue and to reinforce the presence of Arabic on the web and in Wikipedia.”

“One of our main goals in the DAAD Initiative was to foster a spirit of volunteering, much like the model on which Wikipedia is built. To date, we were able to write more than 2800 articles, viewed by tens of millions of visitors online, and we’ve done all of that with the help of our extraordinary volunteers. We provide them with the needed tools to get the job done and to incentivize them even more, we’ve created a monthly competition that awards monetary prizes as well as appreciation certificates,” Abedellatif concluded.