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




The appearance of the libraries in Turkey dates as far back as prior to the 9th century A. D. However, owing to the fact that they did not maintain their existence, an important development in Se ljucks and Ottoman period did not take in the field of libraries. As from the beginning of the Republic, the number of libraries increased sporadically, but it is a fact that, sometimes, many librari es were closed. In present times, the libraries increase both in terms of quantity and kind ; the map collections in our existing libraries greatly vary from the hand made maps to the modern maps in libraries co ntaining special place is allocated maps to them. Except for these libraries, we do not encounter in our country the libraries which could be called “ map libraries ”, the ancient hand made maps poss essed very valuable peculiarities. Those maps are conserved with special care according to a special storage within the papers whose acidity was removed. For this reason, it is out of question for an yone to reach them at any time. At likewise topographic maps of our time are bought and used by organizations already pinpointed and under the preestablished conditions, after same clearly defined re gulations have been complied with. At this state of affairs hinders the use of the same by academic circles gives rise to great difficulties. Because of the fact that their exist secrecy conditions for the maps of many different scales, the purchase of topographic maps are hinders especially.


Existence of Library in Turkey traces back to before the 9th century. Even before the Ottoman Empire Round, in the period of Sejuks, and principalities, libraries have been encountered. But due t o the manner of life in the periods of the Ottoman Empire, and Seljuks, continuation of the libraries have been influenced negatively, and they could not maintain themselves as in all other things. ( 1)

The libraries established in those periods belonged to the Pious Foundations (Wakf) established by individuals.

The books brought by the Fatih Sultan Mehmed II from Manisa to Edirne, and later on to Istanbul have constituted the first Library in Instanbul (Yeni Saray). (2)

In the course of time, though increase in the number of libraries had been seen, but it has been understood really that, from the content standpoint, any increase in the value of books have not o ccurred.

The first Library was the “ Kütüphane-i Umumi ”, founded in 1882, today’s “ Beyazit State Library ”.

After the Republic, the number of libraries within the boudaries of Turkey has shown much increase in the course of time.

When, these locations, serving previously as (Halk Evleri-People Houses) had been closed, the number of the libraries has remained limited. But, at the present, it is possible to encounter many l ibraries throughout Turkey under the names of National, Public, Children, School, Faculty and Private Libraries.

When the works of art, contained in the libraries, are considered it is seen that, in spite of a country accepted the Islamic religion, much before, Islam hand-written books cover important place in them.

Due to the importance of the Maritime activities during the Ottoman Empire Round, the libraries have also much valuable hand-made charts.

Our libraries contain books and all kind of materials other than books. But a separate progress under the name of “ Chart (Map) Library ” has not been encountererd yet. But in our existing librar ies, various charts, maps from the hand-made ones up to modern types, are included.

In particular, in the school and faculty libraries, in the “ Seminar Libraries ” constituted separately in their departments, important amount od maps exist. This kind of libraries have been accu mulated in the cities, having the oldest universities of Turkey, such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. It is known that, in the course of time, in the libraries of each new academic organization having the field of activity related to field works in our country, includes maps concerned. In particular, in the departments that are obliged to deal with field works, number of maps are being increased gradually. But maps, in accordance with the structure of an Academic organization may consist of a certain collection. For example, it is worked by the topographic maps at the scale 1:100 000 000.

Sometimes, based upon the specifications of the Department, maps may be variety, for example : in the Geology Department, Turkey Geology Map Set is added to the above mentioned scales or their sm allers, in the Forest Faculty, the set formed by the various map sections of the Turkish Forest Development Map is added, as to the Geography Department, the large scale maps, such as Atlases, wall m aps, city, district, village plans and cadaster map sections are entered into consideration.

In accordance with the development degree of the Faculty, the number of the maps used show changing in number, type, and number of map sections.

Maps and map sections to be needed by the Organizations are obtained generally by the Turkish Republic, the General Directorate of Map of the Ministry of National Defence Besides these organizati ons, maps may also be obtained from the Department of Navigation, Hydrography and Oceanography. The Navigational, and up dated maps prepared at all scales can be purchased from the said authority. Bt the more detailed topographic maps can only be purchased from the Map General Directorate and this process is subjected to a certain rule.

Based upon the law, only official organizations, Universities, or their equivalents, Academic organizations, persons who have special business, such as mine owners, mine engineers, enterprises in tending to open new mines, and forest engineers can purchase detailed topographic maps from the above mentioned institutes.

If these persons and organizations are deemed convenient to the required conditions, sales are made to their charge. In addition, in each year, the maps sold previously are counted. In this field , there are laws having strict and definite provisions.

For the owners whose maps are lost or, they are being used outside of this purpose, punishment fot emprisonment is arranged in the said law.

Based upon the information obtained from the conversation realized with the lecturer of the Istanbul Technical Geology Engineering Department, Asst. Prof. Recep Hayir ESEN, use of maps during the field works in their University causes damages on maps. First, they are folded and broken, and then kept in the metal cupboards according to cities, an in the alphabetical order.

In our elementary and secondary schools throughout Turkey, it is seen that maps are being spread out properly, but the majority of these maps, as seen in the said schools, are the wall type of ma ps, and are not being used.

As the use of atlases is spread out much more, the World atlases owned by students individually, drive away our secondary schools from us of maps. For that reason, in the school libraries, best q ualified maps could not be encounterered.

In our public libraries, the maps show changes depending upon the regions. Trough Turkey, in all public libraries, maps exist.

But these maps are mainly wall maps and folded types of travel maps ; in short, all of them are generally tourism purpose maps, as to the Private libraries, located in Instanbul, and in many othe r provinces, much valuable, old and hand made maps are present. In accordance with the information given by the employees working in the Maps Departments in the Instanbul Navy Museum, valuable, histo rical charts are being protected in a proper manner. In this Museum, Portolan type of Charts belonging to the Ottoman Empire Round in the 16th century, War of Liberation, and various types of other m aps coming up to the 19th century are present, and these are protected between acid free pelur papers.

In the Süleymaniye Library, Topkapi Palace Library, and many other similar libraries, much valuable map collections, so called an historical treasury are present. But it cannot be said that these maps form an exclusive “ Map Library ”. This could not be encountered yet. These maps contained in all above mentioned institutes are only stored without being displayed. Reasons why is that th e secrecy condition has been imposed on maps, and therefore permission could be given to a certain community for their use, rather that the system of the Map library is not adopted in our country.

Under these conditions, it becomes a natural obligation to keep mentioned maps under lock and key. (For the maps at the scale of 1:250 000, and the smaller than those, atlases, globe shapes of ma ps and like, secrecy condition is not applicable).

In our country, in general, use of map is not so widespread, and in cannot go beyond touristic purposes. When professionnaly use is required, that occures in certain business fields, these people prefer to purchase them from the free market instead of trying to find them in libraries. If the maps, or map sections, carrying secrecy, are needed, these can also be obtained by taking their photo copies.

On the other hand, in order no to cause harm on these maps, and to keep their quantity fixed in the yearly debt counting, way of taking photocopies from the maps to be needed, becomes obligatory.

As to the digital maps, they could not find required interest in our country yet. But it could be expected that these kinds of maps would also be widespread in our country, in which the use of co mputer is increasing rapidly, in a near future. It will be much easier for universities to obtain their use by being spread out on Internet Network. But if the secrecy conditions imposed on the topog raphic maps are not removed, occurrence of above mentioned maps shall be left as a limited effort.

(1) Jale Baysal. - The History of books and libraries (2) Jale Baysal. - id.