Lecture explores availability of Arabic linguistic online portals

As part of its lecture series, Birzeit University’s Faculty of Business and Economics held a joint lecture with the Department of Computer Science to discuss the resources and tools needed for analyzing and understanding digital Arabic content on October 2, 2019.

Featuring Mustafa Jarrar, professor of computer science, the lecture was the second in a series that critically explores virtual platforms and their content and introduces digital media-related research methods, challenges, and cases that address privacy issues and cyber security.

Jarrar, the winner of the 2019 Abdul Hameed Shoman Arab Researchers Award in Technology, pointed to a lack of online applications that support Arabic language- and multi-language databases. This scarcity exists even though there is a growing demand for online lexical resources in order to build up applications, such as automatic translation, and the retrieving, analyzing and exploring of data in different languages through digital platforms. He emphasized the need to collect and digitize data and to make them available online to serve the general public, learners of the Arabic language, researchers, and programmers of application programming interfaces (APIs).

Jarrar talked about Birzeit University’s efforts in providing for Arab users an Arabic database, as it has been building a linguistic search engine with 150 multilingual lexicons and a linguistic ontology for Arabic, despite limited resources.

Jarrar and his team have won the Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Arabic Language, the Google Faculty Research Award, the Fulbright Fellowship, the Marie Curie Fellowship, and many other international awards and grants. 

Amal Nazzal, assistant professor at the Faculty of Business and Economics, told the audience that the lecture series will discuss in the upcoming weeks the following topics: gender-based cyber violence,  digital ethnography and scientific analysis of #Israa’_Ghraib, and hybridity and cultural logic of the digital era.