Internet Geographer

Blog

Posts tagged hebrew
comparing the geographies of Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian Wikipedias

As part of our efforts to map the geographies of Wikipedia (with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa), I thought that it would be worth taking a quick look at the layers of content in the Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian Wikipedias.


I’m unsure why we see more Persian focus in most of Asia (although more Arabic focus in Southeast Asia), more Hebrew focus in South America, and more Arabic focus in North America. But it is interesting that (outside of Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa) we see such distinct regional focuses for each of the encyclopaedias. Many of these patterns might be explained by immigration and emigration (e.g. the links between Ethiopia and Israel). Others (as we’ve seen before) can likely be explained by dedicated editors who are on a mission to create content about particular places.

If you’d like to see more detailed maps of any of these three language versions, all relevant posts are accessible here
More Digital Divisions of Labour: a comparison of English and Arabic Wikipedias
A few weeks ago, I posted a map comparing English and French Wikipedias. We, perhaps unsurprisingly, found that there was more written in French about much of the Francophone world, more written in English about the Anglophone world, and then more written in English about almost everywhere else.  

What happens though if we compare English and Arabic Wikipedias?


What we see is that there is only one country in the world (Syria) that is layered with more content in Arabic than in English. This might not be unexpected to people who know about the paucity of information in Arabic Wikipedia, but it is still worth pointing out that countries like Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE all have more English-language than Arabic-language material written about them.

For comparison the top 5 countries in terms of content Arabic and English Wikipedia are:

Arabic: (1) USA; (2) Spain; (3) Russia; (4) United Kingdom; (5) France
English: (1) USA; (2) United Kingdom; (3) Poland; (4) France; (5) Canada

What does this all tell us? First, there just aren’t that many editors to the Arabic Wikipedia and these data are likely a good reflection of that fact. Second, there also aren’t that many edits that come from the Middle East or North Africa (see also this post) - so this also helps to explain why there is more Arabic content about Spain or Russia than Saudi Arabia or Egypt.

So, again, we’re seeing digital divisions of labour reproducing distinct layers, practices, and augmentations of place.


See also: all the other posts about the geographies of Wikipedia