24 نوفمبر 2008

Saudi project hopes to put Arabs on genetic map

By Andrew Hammond:

RIYADH, Sept 25 (Reuters Life!) - Saudi researchers have mapped the first Arab genome in a project to put the Arab world on the global genetic map and improve healthcare.

Geneticists from Saudi Biosciences say unlocking the genetic profile of 100 people from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries will help tackle medical problems in Saudi Arabia and encourage sorely-needed scientific research.

The collaboration between the private Saudi company, Danish firm CLC Bio and the Beijing Genomics Institute will make their sequencing of Arab genomes available on a public database.

"The advantage of the project is that it studies the differences between peoples, and that will explain the spread of specific illnesses such as diabetes, heart diseases, etc.," said Saeed al-Turki, Arab Human Genome Project Coordinator.

"Twenty-five percent of the Saudi population has, or is liable to have diabetes and that will form a big burden on health services," he said.

Almost one in four Saudis over 30 has diabetes, according to the World Health Organization. The project will help establish if the high incidence is due to a shift to urban living and rich diets among rural and Bedouin populations, as often claimed.

The project, with the backing of Prince Ahmed bin Sultan, a son of the crown prince, could also help establish a clearer picture of the historic migration of the Semitic peoples, who include Arab tribes, ancient Jews and others, from Africa into the Arabian peninsula.

Turki said the programme, costing up to 500 million riyals ($133 million), could stimulate research in Saudi Arabia.

The Arab Genome Project this year completed initial sequencing and analysis of its first volunteer, an anonymous tribal figure from Saudi Arabia, in the space of six months. By contrast, the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) has spent six years trying to map the genome of a camel.

The genome team want to complete 100 results by the end of 2010 as part of an international "1000 Genomes Project" to establish a detailed map of DNA variations the world over (www.1000genomes.org).

There is likely to be some sensitivity in the historically and culturally diverse Middle East around the mapping, given the importance many people place on being of Arab descent.

Some Muslims are keen to claim Arab ancestry because the Prophet Mohammad was an Arab, and Islam and Arabic spread hand-in-hand.

"Tribes of the Arabian peninsula will account for 50 genomes and 50 will be from other Arab nationalities such as Egypt, Syria, Libya, etc.," said geneticist Ibrahim al-Abdelkarim. "It's a sensitive subject. People who speak Arabic call themselves Arabs but 'the Arabs' involve different groups."

Tribes of the Arabian peninsula pride themselves on having "pure" Arab origins and there are groups throughout the Arab world that embrace and reject Arab identity. (Editing by Matthew Jones).

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08 نوفمبر 2008

مؤتمر علم الاكتناه في العصر الرقمي (للمخطوطات)

Call for Papers: Codicology and Palaeography in the Digital Age

The reproduction of the European cultural heritage into digital resources is on its way. Among the various activities undertaken in this field, online catalogues of manuscrips have become an important research tool: Manuscripta Medievalia, for example, is a well established central catalogue in Germany. Important European libraries like the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the British Library or the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana have published their catalogues online. Directories with regional focus like the manuscript catalogue of Tuscany (CODEX) are seen alongside the European integrative project ENRICH. At the same time, the digitisation of the manuscripts themselves has gained momentum. What impact has this new situation on palaeographic and codicologic research?

Successful projects have shown that data that emerges from such cataloguing and digitising activities can be processed and enriched by digital technologies: there are algorithms to compare character patterns and enable palaeographic analyses. Comprehensive codicological data is available via electronic catalogues to allow statistical research on the archaeology of manuscripts. Digital editions embed images of their underlying manuscripts. Online resources enable web-based teaching of palaeography in a way far beyond the traditional facsimile collections.

The Institute of Documentology and Scholarly Editing (IDE) calls for contributions to an anthology on “Codicology and Palaeography in the Digital Age” to be published in Summer 2009. The purpose of this volume is threefold. Firstly, it aims at recording forward-looking digital work with manuscripts. This involves state-of-the-art technology as well as realistic ideas for future implementations. Secondly, it examines the field from the users’ perspective: how can codicological and palaeographic work benefit from digital resources and technologies? Are there new results that had not been possible before? Or is there at least a significant increase in efficiency compared to traditional methodology? We are therefore particularly encouraging contributions that describe research based on such digital resources. Finally, an outlook on the future development of the digital research on manuscripts will be given.

Possible topics for contributions can include but are not restricted to:

  • reports on research based on digital resources
  • Integration of and statistical research on data from manuscript catalogues
  • palaeographic databases (scripts, scribes, characters)
  • codicological databases (e.g. watermarks, book covers)
  • (semi-) automatic recognition of scripts and scribes
  • digital tools for transcriptions
  • visions and prototypes of other digital tools
  • teaching palaeography

The editors are open to proposals beyond these suggestions that fit into the outlined purpose of the volume. Contributions can be made either in German, Italian, English or French. The launch of the volume will be accompanied by an international symposium to which the IDE wants to invite the authors of the four best contributions to present their work.

Proposals of not more than 500 words shall be send by 30 November 2008 to:

Institute of Documentology and Scholarly Editing
c/o Malte Rehbein
Moore Institute
National University of Ireland, Galway

The Institute of Documentology and Scholarly Editing (IDE) is a network of researchers working on the application of digital methods on historical documents. Its members participate in important international research activities. The IDE, established in 2006, sees itself as a nucleus for IT technologies in the field of scholarly editing and documentology, understanding a historical document as a carrier for text as well as a physical object. To achieve this, IDE members take an active part in ongoing discussions, contribute reviews and research articles, organise conferences and workshops, counsel trend-setting projects and teach academic junior scientists.

Website: http://www.i-d-e.de

مؤتمر الافلا 2009

Call for Papers IFLA-conference Milan 2009

In 2009 we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of
the IFLA Conference which first took place in
Rome in 1928. This represented the first meeting
for the newborn International Foundation of
Library Associations. It has been 75 years since
that remarkable and fundamental event and 45
years since the IFLA congress was last held in
Rome. The World Library and Information
Congress will once more come back to Italy, this
time, in Milan from 23 to 27 August 2009 at the
Milan Convention Centre which is the largest and
best equipped congress centre located in “Fiera
Milano City”.
The city of Milan has been selected to host IFLA
2009 following an extensive, intelligent and
constructive effort by the Italian librarians within
the IFLA research commissions. It also reflects the
growing presence at the international congresses,
as well as the organisation of seminars and
conferences and the translation of IFLA official
documentation. In particular this choice rewards
the commitment of the Italian Libraries Association
(AIB), which included the IFLA congress in Italy
among the priorities in its main programme.
Libraries create futures: building on cultural
Thanks to libraries, civilisations have gathered and
stored evidence of their manual, scientific, artistic,
literary, musical as well as religious activity.
Assuredly, libraries preserve the bases and the
roots of human knowledge. Knowledge
transmission today has radically changed: the
scope of bibliography has widened immensely.
Libraries therefore had to update their role:
preservation and access are still the main points to
be achieved, though in a new, critical and
professional way, in order to assure the adequate
standard of the service. In this way libraries keep
pace with the change brought about by history
and technology, helping to shape the future
through the resources inherited from the past for
example cultural heritage. Century long traditions
have created a vast and diversified context, in
which mediaeval libraries (mostly in monasteries
and universities), live together with Renaissance
libraries as well as modern libraries, whose
efficient standards promote public reading and
research effectively.
Libraries keep the balance between past and
present and they turn roots into vital elements for
the future, paving the way to the development of
society, to promote better quality of life and
encourage contacts between different civilisations
and cultures all over the world....

The Conference Announcement on the following link:

07 نوفمبر 2008

اطلاق استراتيجية للمحتوى خلال اجتماع اللجنة الإشرافية العليا لمبادرة الملك عبدالله للمحتوى العربي

صحيفة الرياض:

الرياض - بندر الناصر:
أكد رئيس وأعضاء اللجنة الإشرافية العليا لمبادرة الملك عبدالله للمحتوى العربي على أهمية تضافر جهود الجهات المعنية بهذا المشروع الوطني لصناعة محتوى عربي متميز، يتناسب مع الأهمية البالغة لهذه المبادرة خاصة مع حملها لاسم خادم الحرمين الشريفين الملك عبدالله بن عبدالعزيز الذي زاد من أهمية وقيمة هذا المشروع الرائد.

جاء ذلك خلال الاجتماع الأول الذي عقدته اللجنة في مقر مدينة الملك عبدالعزيز للعلوم والتقنية برئاسة معالي رئيس المدينة الدكتور محمد بن ابراهيم السويل، وحضور سمو نائب رئيس المدينة لمعاهد البحوث الأمير الدكتور تركي بن سعود بن محمد آل سعود ومعالي الأمين العام لدارة الملك عبدالعزيز الدكتور فهد بن عبدالله السماري ومعالي المشرف العام على مكتبة الملك عبدالعزيز العامة الأستاذ فيصل بن عبدالرحمن بن معمر، وعدد من أصحاب السعادة الوكلاء في وزارات التعليم العالي، والشؤون الإسلامية، والتربية والتعليم والثقافة والإعلام، والاتصالات وتقنية المعلومات.

واطلع أعضاء اللجنة على الخطوات التي تمت في هذا المشروع، وناقشوا مساهمة الجهات المعنية، ودورها في مشاريع المبادرة المقترحة، إضافة إلى توزيع الأدوار والمهام بين هذه الجهات، بحيث تتولى جهة واحدة مشروعاً واحداً على الأقل من مشاريع المبادرة وتساهم فيه بشكل رئيسي، مع أهمية التنسيق المستمر لتضافر الجهود ومنع الازدواجية في هذا الخصوص.

بقية الخبر على الرابط التالي: http://www.alriyadh.com/2008/11/07/article386152.html

04 نوفمبر 2008

Scanned docs can be searched via Google

A picture of a thousand words?

10/30/2008 02:33:00 PM
(Note: Click on the first result in each of the search results pages linked to throughout the post to see this feature in action.)

A scanner is a wonderful tool. Every day, people all over the world post scanned documents online -- everything from official government reports to obscure academic papers. These files usually contain images of text, rather than the text themselves.But all of these documents have one thing in common: someone somewhere thought they were they were valuable enough to share with the world.

In the past, scanned documents were rarely included in search results as we couldn't be sure of their content. We had occasional clues from references to the document-- so you might get a search result with a title but no snippet highlighting your query. Today, that changes. We are now able to perform OCR on any scanned documents that we find stored in Adobe's PDF format. This Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology lets us convert a picture (of a thousand words) into a thousand words -- words that can be searched and indexed, so that these valuable documents are more easily found. This is a small but important step forward in our mission of making all the world's information accessible and useful.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/picture-of-thousand-words.html

02 نوفمبر 2008

ورشة عمل عربية عن إدارة المحتوى في مصادر الوصول الحر

تقام بجامعة الملك سعود هذه الأيام أول ورشة عمل في العالم العربي في مجال الوصول الحر، وذلك تحت عنوان (أفضل الممارسات في إدارة المحتوى والشبكات الاجتماعية العلمية) والتي تنظمها إدارة البوابة الإلكترونية بالجامعة. وقد كانت المحاضرة الأولى الأمس السبت عن كيفية النشر في بيئة مبادرات الوصول الحر. وفيما يلي الرابطة الخاصة بالعروض التقديمية الخاصة بهذه الورشةhttp://www.ksu.edu.sa/sites/KSUArabic/KSUPD/PDWorkshop01/Pages/pdf.aspx