Though I'd missed it until now, late last month an ambitious project was announced in Qatar:
The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies announced the official launch of the Doha Historical Dictionary of the Arabic Language, on May 25, 2013, following two years of extensive preparation by a select group of linguistic experts, lexicographers, and computational scientists from a variety of Arab countries . . .
The new dictionary, which will chronicle the history of Arabic terms over 2,000 years, is projected to take 15 years until completion, with achievement highlights being presented every three years. The dictionary hopes to make possible the facilitation of research on Arab intellectual legacy through the work it uncovers. As a comprehensive electronic corpus, the dictionary will be able to assist a number of projects related to machine language in Arabic, including machine translation and automated spelling and grammar checkers. A number of specialist lexicons will also be published as auxiliaries to the main project, including dedicated works on scientific terms, terms related to the study of civilization, a complete dictionary of contemporary Arabic, and educational dictionaries.They also announced a temporary website for the project (in Arabic).
They have recruited Arabic linguistic experts from several parts of the Arab world, and they have something else going for them:
The project itself is sponsored by His Highness the Heir Apparent of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.Who, of course, as of this morning is the new Ruler.
A word of caution. That 15-year estimate may be optimistic. The Oxford English Dictionary began compilation in 1857, published its first fascicle in 1884, and was completed in 1928, with Supplements appearing soon thereafter. Of course they didn't have computers in those days.