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61st IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 20-25, 1995

The State of the Art in Cataloguing in Turkey

Dogan Atilgan
School of Library Science, Faculty of Letters, University of Ankara, Ankara, Turkey

1. Historical background

First initiatives in the field of cataloguing started with printed union catalogues in Turkey. The earliest documented cataloguing works go back to the Ottoman Empire period, in the 12th century wi th union catalogues of libraries belonging to certain foundations. There are only a couple of examples of those. In their real sense, union catalogues were prepared from the second half of the 19th century until the early twentieth century. These catalogues belonged to some foundation libraries set up in Istanbul, Konya and Bursa, and included author with birth and death dates, title and coll ation.

In the Republican period, following the release of unification of education and training law in 1924, work in the field of librarianship accelerated. Fehmi Ethem Karatay, who had studied librarians hip in France, ran a course on librarianship in 1925 and produced a textbook on cataloguing following this course. The principles laid down in this textbook are quite close to the contemporary unde rstanding of cataloguing.

The catalogue of the Parliament Library , prepared by Nebil Emir Buhario_lu in 1927, also included some basic principles for the description of a book. The Ministry of National Education, which wa s responsible for the library services at that time, published a guide for the preparation of cards for the catalogues of general, i.e., public libraries, in 1939.

Around the same period, Fehmi Ethem Karatay was developing a combination of some of the rules from internationally-used French and Anglo-American cataloguing rules at the Central Library of the Ista nbul University. He published the results of his work titled Alfabetik Katalog Kaideleri (Alphabetical Cataloguing Rules) in 1941. This is the first serious book on cataloguing rules published in Turkey. Karatay suggested that bibliographical records should be kept on cards of 12.5X7.5 cm rather than in books.

Soon after that Adnan Ötüken also published a book . Although the rules he suggested were not used by any library, Basma Eserler Alfabetik Kataloglama Kaideleri (Alphabetical Cataloguing Rules for Printed Books), which was produced by a board and used by The National Library until 1985, was based on Ötüken's work. While the National Library was using these rules, the Ministry of National Education published rules for the classification and cataloguing of manuscripts and early printed books in 1958 and book cataloguing rules in 1961. The latter was used by school, public and child ren's libraries until quite recently.

2. The Current Situation

While all these works were carried out in Turkey, the first edition of Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules was published in 1967. Turkish university and research libraries started to use AACR soon aft er its publication.

Librarianship is a profession of standards. Application of such a variety of rules in the country stimulated library managers and academics in the departments of librarianship. Work started on the unification of rules applied in various libraries to minimize the costs. A project was started for the translation of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules but around the time of completion of this project the second edition of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules was published and so the project did not turn out to be fruitful. AACR2 soon started to be used by university and some research li braries in Turkey. Since it was too detailed in content for small-sized libraries, Necmeddin Sefercio_lu adapted Michael Gorman's abridged version of AACR2 into Turkish for small libraries.

At the time of these developments in the field of cataloguing, some university and research libraries and the Parliament Library started work on automation in the 1970's. With the development of au tomated systems, libraries began to use computers for cataloguing work. However, because libraries moved from the first edition of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules to the second edition before u sing the first edition long enough to gain a certain level of experience, which would have enabled cataloguers to realize mistakes made, and because of the lack of infrastructure (such as software an d hardware, trained human resources, co-operation amongst libraries and standardization), there have been some problems in the initial computerization of cataloguing. High costs involved in original cataloguing and the need for speed of access to information leave no room to argue against the necessity of using computers in cataloguing. There is no doubt that in formation technology (IT) eases bibliographical control. The information explosion especially has increased the importance of the use of IT.

Turkey has a large number of libraries which are under the control of different authorities according to their types. Different organizational approaches affect the use of IT in libraries.

While most of the libraries in major cities use computers in their cataloguing work, some are still at the feasibility study stage. There are variations in the use of computers in cataloguing in lib raries. Universities such as Bo_aziçi, Middle East Technical, Bilkent and Hacettepe have collections mostly in foreign languages, and they do not do original cataloguing for foreign publications but rather transfer data from international databases. Turkish publications are either put aside to be handled at a later stage or catalogued manually. Some other university libraries have either prod uced their own software (e.g., Anadolu University, Eski_ehir) or use Turkish software (e.g., 100. Y_l, Van, F_rat, Elaz__ Universities). While some of those libraries are still at the stage of data input, others are already offering online catalogues to their users.

The National Library is also in the process of automating its catalogue. It started using AACR2 in 1985 at the same time it started to produce Türkiye Bibliyografyas_ (Turkish National Bibliography) using desktop computers. Towards the end of 1980's, a mainframe computer and software were acquired, and retrospective cataloguing has been going on since 1990.

3. Prospects for the Future

Apart from university libraries and the National Library, a centralized cataloguing project for public libraries is now at its final stage. The Directorate General of Libraries, which administers public libraries, recently acquired the necessary hardware and software. The Directorate General will do the cataloguing based on the acquisitions of Ankara Public Library, which is a depository lib rary, and will distribute the catalogue cards to other public libraries.

While our libraries are striving to adapt themselves to the changing world and developing technologies, new problems are arising.

Our libraries, which I believe deserve to have a position in the international society, are getting closer to a level suitable to our age. At that stage, the main problem to be solved will be the c essation of the duplication of efforts in individual or groups of libraries. For this purpose the establishment of a central cataloguing bureau is essential. This bureau could be established within the National Library or under its leadership. Such a central cataloguing bureau could then set up a national cataloguing policy, provide assistance to libraries planning to automate their catalogui ng activities and solve problems in this area in addition to offering bibliographic data on Turkish publications to the libraries.

Another problem area involves the characters of the Turkish alphabet that do not occur in other alphabets, and the characters in other alphabets that do not occur in the Turkish alphabet. These cha racters cause problems in the exchange of data internationally because of different alphabetical orders and because their identification is a problem.

It is necessary for cataloguing authorities to cooperate with library schools to have trained human resources in this field and to ensure national standardization.

Another important issue is the creation of authority files. Authority files of authors, publishers and series will be useful for unification of records and help cataloguers in their work. Standardi zation of Turkish abbreviations is also required.

Following the solution of these problems, creation of a national MARC format and use of expert systems for cataloguing should be easier for us in the future. I believe that Turkish librarians, who work with dedication and enthusiasm, will take a prestigious position in the international professional community in the near future, solving their problems and using the facilities offered by develo ping technologies.


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