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DigiCULT
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Info
38
est in the world. The State Archives have
been gradually automating all of their find-
ing aids for the last decade.
41
Last year they
took a major step by publishing all of their
automated finding aids over the Internet,
42
and major work to digitise popular fonds is
also under way. The digitised collections are
available for consulting over the Archives`
intranet via terminals in reading rooms.
A
major digitisation effort is also under
way at Suleymaniye Library of
Manuscripts, which holds about 70,000
manuscript books and about 10,000 rare
books printed with the stone press tech-
nique. Similar digitisation efforts are being
carried out in Kastamonu, where more than
7,000 manuscript books are located, in Sivas,
also on a collection of around 7,000 objects,
and in Konya, for about 5,000 manuscript
books.
H
ousing the oldest settlements in the
world, Catalhoyuk and Hacilar, which
go back to as early as 9000 BC, Turkey can
be likened to a huge archaeological site
spanning over 750,000 square kilometres.
For the last few decades, major research has
been conducted in order to make an inven-
tory of all archaeological sites in Turkey,
resulting in the TAY project (http://tay-
project.org/). One of the goals of the pro
ject
was to store data in a database and publish
it over the Internet, making it international-
ly accessible. This major achievement, which
has created a lot of interest worldwide, went
into a second phase last year, by visiting the
same sites, with the aim of seeing the level
of destruction present in the archaeologi-
cal sites. Unfortunately the findings are very
saddening. The full database and the destruc-
tion report are available in English online at
http://www.tayproject.org/raporeng.html
Collaboration and Virtual Communities
R
egarding Turkish activities on the
theme of DigiCULT Thematic Issue 5,
Virtual Communities and Collaboration, there
have been several examples of mailing lists
being created on any subject imaginable,
as in most other countries. In the herit-
age area, there are two that are particularly
noteworthy. The first of these is KUTUP-
L, the librarians' list, which has been active
since the mid-nineties, and the second is
ARCHITURK, the archivists' and records
managers' list, which has been active since
the late nineties. However, the more inter-
esting dimension to this was created via a
research project, carried out by myself (Bekir
Kemal Ataman), which looks into mailing
lists on archives and records management
worldwide as a technological means of com-
munication and collaboration. Regarding the
lists from a different perspective from that in
DigiCULT Thematic Issue 5, the study ascer-
tains that mailing lists can become a vir-
tual college for professionals, binding them
together to develop the field.
43
Furthermore,
although the published research limits itself
to archives and records management, the
data collected for this purpose, consisting of
about 30 questions for each list, cover the
museum sector as well.
44
Legislation
W
ith regard to digital heritage, two
major laws have been passed in
Turkey recently. The first of these was the
law on Digital Signatures, passed on 15
January 2004, and the second was the legis-
lation on Freedom of Information, passed on
27 April. These governmental changes have
put Turkey among the first thirty countries
worldwide to officially accept and address
such a concept.
E-government applications
O
ver the last decade, several e-govern-
ment projects have been under way
in Turkey. The biggest of these was to cre-
ate a unique Citizen's ID number for every
Turkish citizen, similar to the social securi-
ty number in the United States. This project
has been in effect for some time now and
has been widely used by several govern-
ment offices, such as the Central University
Entrance Exam, for example. Another major
achievement was accomplished by the Social
Insurance Organisation (SSK), when they
made available their entire social securi-
ty database over the Internet (http://www.
ssk.gov.tr). A similar facility is presented by
tax offices to tax payers, and is under way
at the Ministry of Judicial Affairs in rela-
tion to judicial records. All three projects are
planned for unification under the Citizen`s
ID in the long run.
T
he Prime Ministry has run a project
to make all current legislation available
over the Internet, as well as decisions of the
Supreme Court, which are binding in cases
where legislation is not clear. Both sites have
been active for some time now.
A
nother interesting automation project
came from the Greater Istanbul
Council at their Disaster Coordination
Centre (AKOM),
45
an office formed after
the major earthquake catastrophe in 1999,
bringing together information about the city
that might be needed at the time of a poten-
tial disaster. However, because of its sensitive
nature, the data brought together at this cen-
tre are not available to the public.
F
inally, all e-government sites on the
Internet are made available via a single
e-government portal at http://www.turki
ye.gov.tr/
Education
I
n parallel to all this e-government activity,
it is inevitable that we will face problems
relating to management of electronic records.
To cater for this need I created a course in
Information Engineering for senior stu-
dents of computer engineering at Marmara
University (http://www.marmara.edu.tr/).
More details about this course are available

41 More information is available from http://www.byegm.gov.tr/
statearchives/index.htm

42 These findings are available at http://www.devletarsivleri.
gov.tr/ (in Turkish).

43 The study was published with the title "Technological Means
of Communication and Collaboration in Archives and Records
Management" in Journal of Information Science, vol. 30, no. 1, 2004: 30-
40, by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals
(CILIP). An electronic copy is available via the author's Web site:
http://www.archimac.org/BKACV/Articles/TechMeans.spml
44 The full list of mailing lists on museums, archives and records
management, together with the related questionnaires, can be con-
sulted at http://www.archimac.org/Profession/Lists/index.spml The
total number of lists identified is close to 250 at the time of writing.
45 See also http://www.cendim.boun.edu.tr/publicrelations.html