Training session for writing, adding articles on Wikipedia organised in Oman
October 12, 2015 | 11:02 PM
by Times News Service
The session introduced WikiOman contest terms and conditions, its objectives and evaluation criteria. Photo-Supplied

Muscat: A training session to provide practical insight into writing and adding articles in Wikipedia was organised by the Information Technology Authority (ITA), on Monday evening.

The session introduced WikiOman contest terms and conditions, its objectives, and the evaluation criteria.

Aiming to enrich the Arabic content on the Internet, the ITA organised the session in partnership with Badr Albayan for Translation at the Cultural Club at Alqurum.

The training session, which witnessed wide participation from social media users, bloggers, and students, was conducted by Abdullah bin Hammad Almaani and Badr bin Salim Alkassabi, two Omani translators, who have wide experience in writing in the free encyclopaedia, from Badr Albayan for Translation, which is one of the Omani SMEs that provides translation and localisation services along with various services related to the fields of linguistics and communications.

Welcoming the participants at the beginning of the session, Hamdan bin Mohammed Al’Alawi, projects specialist at ITA said, “According to the 2012 ITU report on measuring Information Society, the existing Arabic eContent does not exceed 3 per cent from the overall eContent. Moreover, the total Arabic eContent in the Free Encyclopaedia “Wikipedia” is about 0.82, which is less than 1 per cent.”

“We tend to be knowledge consumers only and the knowledge sharing and production in our Arab world is relatively poor. It is our responsibility to contribute in developing and increasing the Arabic eContent,” he added.

The training session focussed on the theoretical and practical aspects in the process of sharing free and open articles in Wikipedia. The theoretical aspect gave a brief about Wikipedia, its inception, development and uses in education and in gaining general knowledge about a certain topic. It also discussed the terms and conditions of publishing in the free encyclopaedia and how to search for a good article to write about as well as the way of selecting and differentiating between reliable and non-reliable sources and references.

“Wikipedia seeks to build a global virtual community of volunteers who gather and develop in all branches of knowledge in the world to make it freely accessible for everybody. The free encyclopaedia helps you to gain general knowledge or idea about a topic,” said Abdullah Bin Hammad Alma’ni, general manager of Badr Albayan.

He further said, “The keenness over enriching the content in the free encyclopaedia comes from the fact that it is the largest and most popular encyclopaedia in the world, let alone free and without advertisements and also because it relays on open and free source system for writing and editing articles. Besides, more than one writer can collaborate in writing one article, refining it.”

To give the participants the chance to get first-hand experience on the writing and editing process in the free encyclopaedia, they were drilled in using Wikipedia’s user interface along with the main menus such as editing and reviewing menus. They were also taught how to create new accounts in Wikipedia, add multimedia to their articles along with adding resources and references.

Badr bin Salim Alkhassabi, founder of Badr Albayan for Translation, explained, “Before embarking on writing your first article in Wikipedia, you must start with editing some existing articles in the encyclopaedia to get familiar with the editing process. It is also important to read good articles written in encyclopaedic style.Then, you can start searching for an article to write about.”

It is worth mentioning that this training session coincides with the launch of ITA’s WikiOman contest to develop and enrich the Arabic eContent on the free encyclopaedia, which targets Omani youth, social media users, bloggers, and academics, apart from writers and journalists. It aims at promoting digital voluntarism among Omani youths to encourage them to be more content producers rather than consumers only. Cash prizes were allocated to the best 20 winning articles.

To join the contest, participants can write at least one article in Arabic focussed on Oman in the Free Encyclopaedia “Wikipedia” and send the article’s link to [email protected] along with their name and contact details. Participants should write at least one article in any of the following subjects but not limited to Tourism, Technology, Health, Education, Agriculture, arts, history etc.

Each article should not be less than 300 words. Information stated in the article should be from trusted and reliable sources. The content of the article should not violate the copyrightof any other author, and should not be related to matters of political or ideological or tribal matters. Besides, submitted articles should be written during the contest period, between October 4 and November 1, 2015.

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