From Training to Action: Successful Wikidata Workshop Enriches Arabic Content

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In January 2024, the Wikimedia Islamic Civilization group (ISLMGRP) convened a specialized Wikidata workshop to establish a comprehensive bibliography of prominent Arabic figures within Wikidata. This initiative aimed to enrich Wikidata with valuable information about notable individuals from the Arabic world, drawing upon the highly regarded reference work, Al-Aʻlām,  by al-Zirikli.

Figure 1: Workshop logo

Comprising a detailed biographical record of over 14,000 individuals worldwide, Khayr al-Din al-Zirikli’s Al-A’lam stands as a foundational resource within the field of biographical reference. This widely acclaimed work has undergone numerous editions, exceeding 20 editions, with each iteration potentially exhibiting variations in content, Al-Aʻlām’s full name is “Eminent Personalities: A Biographical Dictionary of Noted Men and Women among the Arabs, the Arabists and the Orientalists

ISLMGRP kicked off 2024 with a bang! Their investment in training new leaders paid off. Back in September 2023, they held a workshop on running virtual workshops. This initiative aimed to cultivate a fresh crop of organizers and ensure the sustainability of the Arabic Wikimedia community. The workshop’s success is evident in their first event of 2024, led by Mohammad Qays, a graduate of the September program. Qays’ event focused on enriching Wikidata using Al-Aʻlām by al-Zirikli, demonstrating the workshop’s effectiveness in empowering new leaders to contribute meaningfully to the Arabic Community.

Figure 2: Al-Aʻlām of Khayr al-Din al-Zirikli is published in 8 volumes

Mohammad Qays, an administrator on Arabic Wikipedia, an active contributor to Wikidata, and a member of the ISLMGRP played a pivotal role in organizing the workshop in January. To ensure effective collaboration and knowledge sharing, the workshop included three online meetings specifically designed for participant engagement.

This commendable effort, powered by the dedication of volunteers, attracted the participation of twelve members of the Arabic community. Their collaborative efforts yielded impressive results, successfully adding or editing over 300 entries in Wikidata with citations. The project spanned January and February 2024, signifying a concentrated period of productive collaboration

This event marks a successful launch for our year’s projects. We remain committed to enriching our community and the encyclopedia with valuable, trustworthy, and well-organized information. Stay connected for further updates.

Figure 2: Al-Aʻlām books image is أبو تائبCC BY-SA 3.0

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