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I have done a research about the projects that are carried out related to digital humanities in Turkey. Although the term “digital humanities” is not common in Turkey, there are projects and research related to digital humanities. One of the digital humanities project carried out in Turkey is conducted in collaboration with European Commission. The name of this project is Accelerate the Circulation of Culture through Exchange of Skills in Information Technology which is abbreviated as AccessIT.

AccessIT is a project aiming at making artistic pieces and cultural heritage accessible by the citizens of Europe. AccessIT project is conducted in different countries under European Commission Education and Culture Program . In the scope of this project, local cultural organizations will gain necessary knowledge in order to make their content accessible by digital means. It is aimed to have a common European digital library. In order to do this, existing digital library called Europeana is used. With the help of AccessIT, more and more cultural heritage will be added to this digital library so that this digital library will be enriched.

In Turkey, this project is carried out by Hacettepe University in collaboration with the other partners such as MDR Partner (England), Veria Central Public Library (Greece), Belgrade City Library (Serbia). The aim of the project AccessIT Turkey is similar to what is demanded in the AccessIT project in general. However, the way that projects are conducted differs because of having different levels in different countries in terms of infrastructure, know-how and skilled personnel. In Turkey, it is aimed to prepare, develop the infrastructure needed for sharing the art and cultural heritage with ease of information technology. Moreover, it is aimed to train skilled personnel who will take responsibility in making cultural heritage digitized.

It is aimed to make art and cultural offerings of Turkey accessible for both Turkish and European citizens by digitizing these offerings and then transferring them to European digital library. In order to accomplish this difficult task, the necessity of support in terms of technical know-how, infrastructure and skilled personnel is foreseen.

Firstly, they plan to have this support in the form of workshops, and conferences. This way it is planned to train 590 librarians and museum personnel on the subject of digitalization processes and techniques. This training will include such topics as digital repositories for small memory institutions, digitization equipment and software, digital libraries basics, preparing digital versions of cultural heritage objects, describing digital objects, publishing objects online, digital library evolution and monitoring. Infrastructure needs will be provided by the Hacettepe University with the help of both trained personnel and other partners from Europe.

At the end of this training process, personnel will gain experience in the followings:

  • Digitization of various content types such as audio, video, text.
  • Long term digital preservation issues
  • Metadata preparation
  • User interface design and accessibility issues
  • Digital libraries software
  • Reuse of metadata and objects from digital libraries

Having necessary infrastructure and trained personnel, it is aimed to transfer 50000 artistic and cultural works that represent Turkish culture to Europeana. In order to do this, metadata for these artistic and cultural works will be prepared based on Europeana standards and then these works will be digitized. As a result of this work, a portion of the artistic and cultural heritage of Turkey will be accessible by digital means. Afterwards, they plan to extend this project by having more cultural heritage digitized and made accessible via digital means.

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