Archive Automation Project of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is exciting both state officials and all our employees that are contributing to it.
Under the Project, it is planned to transfer 25 million documents covering all political relations between Turkey and foreign countries to digital environment. For this work, 250 personnel and 2 industrial scanners, the most advanced ones in the world and 6 precision-scanners are being used.
In this Project, we are working in accordance with TSE 13298 standards as we did in the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey. We are generating 400dpi uncompressed TIFF files and we are processing the images via OCR and hence creating PDF copies. The size of data we are generating including master copies, circulation copies and OCR PDF files is exceeding PBs (petabyte). In fact, we can say that we are handling bigdata in a sense.
Prf. Doc. Çağrı Erhan gave detailed information about the Project in his article on Türkiye newspaper.
Instead of writing again, I share his article with you below:
The memory of Foreign Affairs is being opened to researchers
On my corner “Diplomatic Reasoning”, I had shared my opinions regarding the status of archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with you several times. I mentioned that unlike the archives of many countries, Turkey’s failure to open its diplomatic archives to the service of researchers caused the researchers in the field of the Turkish Foreign Policy to have difficulty. Today, I would like to give good news for those looking forward to the day on which they’ll be able to work in archive.
Archive Automation Project of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was launched in line with Prime Minister H.E. Prf. Doc. Ahmet Davutoğlu’s order given when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs, has started producing the first concrete results. In the Project works that are proceeding fast under the coordination of H.E. Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and leadership of Doc. Nevzat Uyanık, Head of Archive Department, it has nearly come to the day when the archive will be opened to researchers. Local and foreign researchers will start crowding into the research halls inside the archive building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs located in Çiğdem district in Ankara within 2015 for the first time throughout 91-year history of the Turkish Republic.
The following same reply has been given to those having applied to work in the archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via mail or BİMER so far: “We aren’t able to meet your demand since the classification operations of the archive haven’t been completed yet”. Nobody will get such a reply as from the next mid-year. In several years, Turkey will be introduced to book-science universe with thousands of articles in Turkish and foreign languages including references to the diplomatic archive documents.
Let me share some data with you in order to allow you to understand better how magnificent this ongoing project is:
65 million 300 thousand pages belonging to the years between 1919 and 2008 are kept in our diplomatic archive. These are stored in 110 thousand huge folders. The transfer of 25 million documents covering all political relations between Turkey and foreign countries to digital environment will be completed until the end of 2015. For this work, 2 industrial scanners, the most advanced ones in the world and 6 precision-scanners are being used.
The documents regarding Latin America and Middle East countries belonging to the years between 1919 and 1958 have almost been prepared currently. 250 experts are working for two shifts a day in order to perform these works fast and correctly. Around 65% of the documents aren’t confidential, which means that they can be put into service of researchers as soon as the digitization operations are completed. A commission is going on their works with a view to removing the confidentiality record on the remaining documents as soon as possible. Another good news is that all files which aren’t confidential will be put into the service of researchers without waiting for removal of confidentiality record of all documents.
Most importantly, the archive is operating based on a researcher-friendly logic. I’ve been to the archives in the USA, UK and France for my scientific studies so far. I’ve learnt the working conditions of the archives in Russia and Germany via my friends who worked there for long time. The system to be implemented in the archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after a short time is more advanced than those of these countries. We are talking about a program which will search your key word over millions of pages and provide you with the documents that you want to reach digitally within seconds. You will be able to write your notes on the documents you reach virtually and collect them in separate folders and hence complete your archival work on the computer given to you in the archive building without a need for taking the copies of the documents.
Opening of diplomatic archives by Turkey is not important just for our political historians. Foreign researchers are also waiting for making use of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ archive like Ottoman Archive in Istanbul for years.
It has been 20 years since I started working as an assistant at Professorship of Political History of Political Sciences Faculty. I haven’t heard anyone in my generation who managed to get permission to study in diplomatic archives. My lecturers and their lecturer also weren’t unfortunately able to have a chance to study in our archive as they wanted even if they desired it very much. The fact that our diplomatic archive was closed has been the greatest source of regret throughout my 20-year professional life. But our young researchers will have the opportunity to make search for their scientific studies in an environment equipped with the recent technology. How lucky they are!
It is not enough to thank those who have paid efforts to this magnificent contribution to our scientific world. May God be pleased with them individually…
For the original article, please visit: http://www.turkiyegazetesi.com.tr/prof-dr-cagri-erhan/583044.aspx
For other news regarding the Project in press, please visit:
e-Archive's Project - https://diplomatic.mfa.gov.tr/ApplicationNewsDetail.aspx?id=104
Turkish Foreign Ministry opens its diplomatic archives for researchers -http://www.armradio.am/en/2014/11/28/turkish-foreign-ministry-opens-its-diplomatic-archives-for-researchers/
Turkish Foreign Ministry opens its diplomatic archives for researchers - http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-foreign-ministry-opens-its-diplomatic-archives-for-researchers-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=74906&NewsCatID=338