Issue: 2019 - 12

1 more month until the end of the year and the end of a decade! 2020 is waving around the corner.

We decided to dedicate the current issue to Digital preservation, as digital technologies are a defining feature of our age. The enduring values of digital materials provide profound new opportunities for access to and use of various content.

Below, you can read all about our new Digital collections website and about some valuable archival material which is included in our “rare material collection” and has been digitized.


Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection

A Gem in the Heart of the Library: Rare Books & Manuscripts Collection

Suna Kıraç Library holds about 2000 rare materials in the areas of Ottoman and European history, literature and religion. Most of these books have been donated to the Library, by Nesteren & Fuat Bayramoğlu and St. Andrews University. In addition, the Library purchased the Şinasi Tekin’s rare collection.

Books in the rare books collection include many materials originally written in languages other than modern Turkish, including Ottoman Turkish, English, French, Latin, Arabic and Persian. General subjects include 19th and 20th century Turkish literature, İstanbul (written by travelers from abroad), the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and their foreign affairs, the Turkish revolution and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. These titles are highly valuable for researchers who work in these subject areas.

All rare materials are kept in the Nesteren-Fuat Bayramoğlu Room, located on the 1st floor, and can be used upon appointment. For appointments, please email

Special Collections and Archives New Website

Special Collections & Archives Digital Collections New Website Coming Soon…

Library has been working on a recent project to renew its Digital Collections website, which has been in use since 2010, structured by the OCLC ContentDM platform.

Our primary goal is to create a Digital Collection website that will have a user-friendly interface and it will provide access to over 210.000 digitized items – letters, photographs, manuscripts, slides and more – with sophisticated search and filter tools to help users to find what they’re looking for. The appearance and structure of the new website are based on a template created by the IT department, but they are tailored to the special collections & archives needs as well as to the various information needs of the users. The new website comprises new modules, menus, pages and subpages.

We are sure you will like it a lot! We will have it ready for you soon!

Digital Nomad Guide

Digital Nomad Guide: 19th Century Statesman Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha’s Collection @ SKL

New collection of Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha (born September 1855, Lesbos, Greece - died April 1922, Vienna, Austria), an Ottoman statesman and imperial administrator, who was twice the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire (Abdülhamid II and Mehmed V) around the time of the Second Constitutional Era, has been recently donated to SKL.

Starting its processing and digitizing project this Fall, the collection consists of official documents, personal letters, reports, newspaper clippings, and press news that shed light on political, economic, and socio-cultural atmosphere of the fin-de-siècle Ottoman Empire. Right before turning the new century, II. Abdulhamid sent Hüseyin Hilmi to the governorship of Yemen to suppress the events caused by Imam Yahya in Yemen. The Sultan wanted to win the Yemeni people and to establish a good governance in this way. Hilmi’s success as statesman was rewarded by II. Abdülhamid for vizier duty (31 May 1899). In 1902, he was appointed to the newly established General Inspectorate of Rumelia. Hüseyin Hilmi, who served in this post for six years, served as the brightest and most useful of his civil service life. The inspectorate of Rumelia, which includes the monasteries, Kosovo and Thessaloniki provinces, was set up to prevent the activities of Bulgarian gangs and to establish good governance in Macedonia. The presence of Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha at the Head of the General Inspectorate, which was a kind of administrative muhtarism, prevented the activities of foreign forces in the region. Particularly remarkable documents span the period of his Yemen and Rumelia governorships, roughly between 1898 to 1905.

Hopefully, the planned completion of the project is in the upcoming months of 2020 for public access.

Mehmet Nihat Nigizberk Collection

View from the construction of Palace Hotel, Jerusalem, ca.1929

The Mehmet Nihat Nigizberk Collection of Architectural Drawings and Photographs: Now digitized @ SKL

The Mehmet Nihat Nigizberk Collection Architectural Drawings and Photographs of is now accessible through Suna Kıraç Library Digital Collections website. The collection consists of different types of archival documents of the architect such as photographs, photo cards, notebooks, plans and architectural drawings related to specific historical buildings and construction and restoration projects. These archival materials, which bear witness to the Late Ottoman and early republican era in Turkey, reflect the conditions of the historical monuments (primarily examples of Anatolian Seljuks, Ottoman, Mamluk and Arab architecture) and the applications of architectural practices in construction and restoration as well as the social and cultural environment of the period.

The photographs and photo cards, as the main body of the collection located in 18 albums and 11 envelopes, comprised images of over 100 unique structures in over 40 cities such as İstanbul, Bursa, Konya, Damascus, Jerusalem, Gaza and Cairo ranging in the geographies of Anatolia, the Middle East and North Africa. The notebooks of the architect (16 in total), dating from 1909 to 1948, also form a valuable source for researchers as they contain a wide range of information related to architect’s restoration and construction projects, voyage notes, personal observations, architectural calculations, drawings, construction material types and their prices.

Karamanli Manuscript

Mousikē technē / Texnologia tes mougikes, MS 685, Apostolos Kōnstas, 1790s,
Suna Kıraç Library, p.1 / p.228

A Unique Treasure: A Karamanli Manuscript @ SKL

A unique manuscript in Karamanli language, “Mousikē technē / Texnologia tes mougikes”, donated by Şinasi Tekin to Suna Kıraç Library, is now accessible online through the library's digital collections website. Written by Apostolos Kōnstas, a composer and scholar on Byzantine church music, the manuscript is an important source in the category of church musicology dated back to 1790s and one of the 3 copies known to survive today. Parallel to the notation reform of 1814, the book can be considered as a guide and an analytic explanatory attempt of the old notation system in its period. National Library of Greece houses the last copy of the manuscript (code no. 1867), dated to 1820 which is a critical year for the decline of handwritten manuscripts production on Byzantine music as the first book in this field was printed in Bucharest.”

A travel guidebook from the past

A Travel Guidebook from the Past: Istanbul & Jerusalem

Where there travel guides in the old times? And what kind of information did they include? This 1660 travel guide published in Germany, says a lot about Istanbul and Jerusalem.

It is titled “Ein neue Reiss Beschreibung auss Teutschland nach Constantinopel und Jerusalem” and it was written by Salomon Schweigger (30 March 1551 – 21 June 1622), a German Lutheran theologian, minister, anthropologist and orientalist of the 16th century who provided a valuable insight during his travels in the Balkans, Constantinople and the Middle East. It consists of 75 pages, several of them folded, with sketches of the cities and a calligraphic text testifies to the author’s insightful outlook on life, institutions and society in the Ottoman empire.


A Talk About Archives: VEKAM @ Anamed

As part of the “Anamed Library Talks” events, our colleague from VEKAM Library in Ankara along with Prof. Dr. Çiğdem Varol Özden focused on Archives and the Archival work. Their talk included both the perspective of the Researcher who uses VEKAM’s rich archival material to find valuable information about Urban Planning and the perspective of the Librarian who manages an Archive and disseminates the information included in it.

Digitization Project

Digitization Projects Worth to Mention:

  1. Digitization Processes of National Geographic Archives

    With the goal of ensuring the preservation of their material, as well as increasing the discoverability for educational and research purposes with robust metadata and online access, NatGeo has undertaken the daunting task of creating a preservation-quality digital library of their vast and historic archives.

  2. Digita Vaticana: The Digitization Project of the Vatican Manuscripts from 2013-2019

    From 2013 until February 2019, Digita Vaticana was the non-profit organization established to raise funds to support the Digitization Project of the more than 80,000 manuscripts of the Apostolic Library. The original collection consists of 80.000 manuscripts, 15.000 prints, drawings and plates, 9.000 incunabula, 100.000 archival units, tens of thousands 16th and 17th century editions. Today, more than 8.000 manuscripts have been digitized and the project needs more than 15 years to be completed!

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