The Arab Arts Encyclopedia is on… Finally!

Very happy to announce that the “Mathaf Encyclopedia of Modern Art and the Arab World” by “Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art” is now online in its first beta version. I am really proud to be part of the great team that made this happen after almost four years of hard work on preparation, planning, developing and implementing, my share of that was the last year. I was only in the technical side but was very happy to consult in some other areas, some of it artistic and lingual. This is one project that I really count a victory and I am happy to blog about it.

The Site

The web site contain an amazing collection of unique artwork from the Arab world that is very valuable and a collection of personal artists’ material that has never been published before. This site is the first of its kind in the world, as a kind contribution from Mathaf, Qatar Museums and Qatar Foundation under the patronage of H.E Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani and H.E. Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

I personally believe that this is a critical movement in the Arab world, now that it is going through tough conditions like civil wars and the control of radical movements that are trying to erase the history of that troubled area by banning arts and destroying some priceless pieces of art and historical antiques. This website is like the digital vault of modern Arab artists who also grew in very tough conditions of social neglect and yet were able to show their art to world and deliver this sacred message.

Rich media from multiple sources

Rare personal material from the artists' personal archives never been published before

The Technology

The site is built on the amazing SharePoint 2013 technology with the heavy usage of the Taxonomies Service Application, Search Application and of course, the SharePoint Publishing features. The site is also based on the recent HTML5 and CSS3 technologies and is compatible with all common browsers on all major devices, including mobile devices.

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Server
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013

Elegant, Modern, Responsive Design

With the amazing ability in SharePoint 2013 to create HTML5 and CSS3 mater pages, the design was done in a very simple elegant layout that allows content to be automatically fit in any resolution on any device. The headers and the menus as well fit automatically to the browser width along with the page content.

Responsive design compatible with all browsers, widths and devices

Customized Content Query Web Part templates integrated with FancyBox jQuery plugin

Amazing jQuery Plugins

If something I most like about SharePoint is the flexibility of the environment that allows you to easily mix the SharePoint content with the amazing plugins of jQuery without the need to create any complicated DotNet custom solution. Many plugins like FancyBox, aTooltip, Easy Ticker and more were added to the dynamic site content that comes with Content Query Web Parts or Data Form Web Parts.

FancyBox jQuery responsive with mouse click, mouse scroll, keyboard arrows and touch

Amazing Social plug-in to share the articles on multiple social platforms

Footnotes replaced with the aTootlTip jQuery plugin for better user experience

Easy Ticker jQuery plugin integrated with the Data Form Web Part for amazing sliding display
and aToolTip for neat abstracts on hover

Taxonomies Service

I loved this service since SharePoint 2010 and still admire it a lot, the Encyclopedia site connect all the content in the site through a very well prepared academic list of categorized keywords that connects Biographies, articles, essays, artworks, personal material and multimedia material on the site.

Enterprise Search

Enterprise Search was always a passion of mine and it has got and obsession with SharePoint 2013. With the new features of search, that or touching the 15 hive, we were able to host all the media material in one site and use the meta tags both in Arabic and English. Then we customize the search result to point to the pages that contain this material in the language that is proper for the site variation the user is searching from.

Powerful Enterprise Search with live page and content preview on mouse over

Complete customized Search Results templates that point to custom pages with specific metadata to display

Search results lead to custom pages of list items with specific meta data display

Complete Bilingual Content

Using the out of the box Variation feature we were able to give the client a fully bilingual site that pushes the content on demand between both English and Arabic sites easily, with the ability to push the same meta data and keywords automatically.

Every item in the site has both English and Arabic meta data and displays in the proper site variation

Amazing Sponsors and Vendors

Finally I would like to thank all the participants and vendors who made this project from a dream to reality, these amazing people are:

Sheikhs Hassan & Al Mayassa

Shk. Hassan bin Mohamed
bin Ali Al Thani
Shka. Al-Mayassa bint Hamad
bin Khalifa Al-Thani

It was the original idea of H.E Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani, who is actually an artist and collector, and H.E. Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who is also an art lover and always a great support for local and international artists to collect these great artworks and start the Mathaf Museum initiative. Their generous initiative for this project is a huge cause of appreciation.

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Mathaf Encyclopedia of Modern Art and the Arab World

One of the most amazing teams I have ever worked with. Their dedication and hard work is what made this project grow to be a real success. Special thanks and appreciation to Dr. Abdella Karroum, Mathaf’s Director, Joanne Lisinski, Dr. Samia Touati, Dr. Nada Shabout, Abdul Aziz Zaghmout, Rima Ghanem, Maryam Al Essa and every member of the amazing Mathaf team who supported me during this rough, yet amazing road.

Qatar Museums

Qatar Museums

The amazing team that I worked with for two years passed like fast amazing dream. Especially the Information Management Team that I hold the utmost and greatest appreciation: Dr. Dana Al Malki, CIO, Sheikha Najla Nassr Al Thani, Director, Mr. Saleh Tayani, Director, Dr. Taoufik Homri, Team Manager and my buddies Mohammed Ali Hasan, Samer Qarajai, Shino Ittoop, Melvin Flores, Amit Kumar, Ahamed Anzel, Hussain Sayed, Wasiq Hussain, Imroz Khan and Imran Meer. You guys are all awesome! Thank for being so amazing the last couple of year.

Qatar Foundation

Qatar Foundation

The great and always amazing QF team, who I have the honor to work with from different entities and division in the foundation. Especially to Mr. Saleh Hadi, the one who we owe this great idea of the website to. Also all the supporting QF team that worked in the previous years with the previous vendor.



Our amazing hosting partner who always provided a fantastic support and been patient with the payment. I would to specially mention Mr. Sajid Kalooji, Mr. Todd Klindt, Ms. Norma Brown, Mr. Christopher Lloyd, Ms. Terensia Zarook, Mr. Mark Boys, Mr. Matthew Cross-Fancy and all who my weak memory forgot to recollect.

Final Words

Finally, in small words, the Encyclopedia site is an amazing web site in all measures, and I am sure it is a matter of time that this site will become a phenomenon and a role model to all other academic sites of the same nature.

You should visit it on: