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February 28, 2011
Followers of Mashtots on the Internet: Armenian e-Content Increasing Thanks To Enthusiasts
By Lusine Movsisyan
Followers of Mashtots on the Internet: Armenian e-Content Increasing Thanks To Enthusiasts
Portal Page "Armenia" in Armenian Wikipedia

The Armenian content on the Internet was significantly increased during the last year, and quite a lot of work done in that regard.

The chairman of the Union of Information Technology Enterprises Karen Vardanyan says that there was almost nothing in the Armenian language in Internet one year ago. And today, there are many different Armenian sites and blogs on deferent themes. 

"In Armenia, the number of computer owners and Internet users increases daily. So, as a result, the market and the demand of Armenian content increase too. Actually, the increase of the Armenian content is conditioned by the increase of Internet users and Armenian auditorium," says Vardanyan.

Experts emphasize that this increase is mostly implemented only by the initiative of individuals and enthusiasts. And such an approach cannot make basic changes in the field.

For instance, in the Armenian version of the Wikipedia free encyclopedia the number of Armenian articles increases and there are more than 13,000 articles in there, but the number of volunteers submitting them decreases.

According to one of the administrators of the Armenian Wikipedia Aleksey Chalabyan, this decrease of the volunteers cannot help affecting the increase of articles.

The Armenian version of Wikipedia has several times less articles than the Azeri and Georgian versions. Chalabyan mentions that Armenian volunteers first of all stress the quality of their articles and not the quantity.

Unicodization of State Sites

Only one year ago different fonts were used for the content of many state importance sites. Such an approach created discomfort for many users as they could not read the content of the state sites from their personal computers.

This issue was raised by social activists and a letter was sent to the Prime-Minister Tigran Sargsyan during the BarCamp in Yerevan in 2010.

Shortly after that the Armenian government made amendments to the administrative order which supposed transfering all the digital documents into the universal code Unicode.

Facebook - 'Bzel' in Armenian means to Poke

The translation of Facebook into Armenian started in 2008. At that time not a lot of people used this network. Armenians used the Russian with great enthusiasm. Facebook, though, became very popluar in Armenia, and a huge flow of users came from

In the first year 35 % of Facebook was tranlated.

The next year, Armenian Association For Academic Partnership And Support (ARMACAD) Public Organization joined the initiative stimulating young scientists support the project. As a result 85% of the social network is translated into Armenian.

The founder-president of ARMACAD Khachik Gevorgyan says if in the past it was almost impossible to imagine the Armenian version of the network, today more than 100.000 people prefer to use Facebook in Armenian.

Armenian Content On Mobile

77 Recently, the number of Internet users through mobile phones increased in Armenia. According to the National Statistical Service, by October 2010 almost the half of mobile connection subscribers - 1.5 million people, uses Internet through their phones.

Taking this fact into consideration, many Armenian companies think of the mobile access of their sites. PR and Marketing manager of the "Mobile Messaging Solutions Armenia" company, specializing on mobile sites development, Vardges Hoveyan says if in the past companies wanted to have just a web-site, today many Armenian companies also give importance to the development of mobile versions of their sites.

"Today many companies approach us on this issue. Positive trends are obvious," says Hoveyan. Though, he thinks, not all the mobile systems can read the Armenian electronic content.

"For example, Google Android which is widely spread in mobile phones does not support Armenian fonts yet," says Hoveyan.

The Android operating system is widely spread among mobile phones, and that means that those Armenian subscribers who use phones with this operating system are not able to read Armenian content.

In this respect a group of Armenian activists sent the Google company an official letter and organized an on-line voting for adding the Armenian version to the system.

"We sent an official letter to Google and even found an Armenian working there, but we received no answer. I think this should be done even on the governmental level," says the author of the initiative the founder of ARMACAD Khachik Gevorgyan.

According to the president of the Electronic Content Association Garegin Chugaszyan, governmental approach, electronic content strategy and serious financial means are needed to solve the problem of the Armenian content. He thinks that time is close when content will be not only in the computer but in every subject surrounding man. And in this respect Chugaszyan thinks that it is necessary to act with a wider project.

"Today we deal with a very important phenomenon of human civilization which affects on our mind, work, education, culture, every aspect of social life and changes them. Different words are used to describe this phenomenon - informational, knowledge-based or creative society, though the best characterization has not been found yet," says Chugaszyan.

He thinks that it is not sufficient of just thinking about digitalization of our heritage. "We should think about digitalization of the language itself. And then we would be able to cover all electronic enviroments and various subjects and programs which Armenia does not produe. And only after that we can insure our cultutal comfort and the continuation of our kind in the new world."


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