By Joanna Hartley
Maktabat Al Arab holds more than 1,000 books, an Arabic dictionary and search option.
The first Arabic book portal was launched in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday in a bid to significantly increase access to printed material in the region. The online site 'Maktabat Al Arab' - www.maktabatalarab.com - was launched by Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2009.
Designed by software giant Microsoft Corp, the portal offers interactive user-friendly features including a search option, an Arabic dictionary, discussion forum and a unique feature that allows users to navigate to a particular page by number, or traverse to the previous or next pages.
It comprises of more than 1,194 books, 500 book reviews, and seven different dictionaries.
"The launch of 'Maktabat Al Arab' is a significant step that will generate a region-wide significance. It comes as part of the Foundation's strategy to offer easy access to important literary works for the benefit of the common Arabic reader,” said Yaser Hareb, Vice-President of the Culture Sector, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation.
"The Foundation is keen to launch relevant initiatives that will touch the lives of everyone in the Arab world. In the culture sphere alone, we have implemented several programmes and it is our firm conviction that the new portal will open windows to a world full of books and literary works," added Jamal Al Shehhi, CEO of Dubai International Children Book Fair.
The user friendly 'content viewer' option enables users of the portal to either zoom in or out, print and take a snapshot (print screen) of the content that can even be taken or stored in the 'My Snapshots' list.