Connecting Archives, Connecting People

Photographs including a letter showing personal information from BIAA archive. ©BIAA_PH15368
Photographs including a letter showing personal information from BIAA archive. ©BIAA_PH15368


BIAA, Ankara, Türkiye  

BILNAS, London, UK  

Other Project Team members
  • Orhun Uğur (Digital Archivist, BIAA1 
  • Gonca Özger (Digital Repository Assistant, BIAA)  
  • Burcu Akşahin (Research Scholar, BIAA; University of York)  
  • Felicity Crowe (Archivist, BILNAS)  
  • Christopher Jacques Dolphin (Intern, BIAA)  
  • Zehra İlke Yıldız (Intern, BIAA)  
  • Fatma Betül Göğüş (Intern, BIAA)  
  • Pelin Su Uzuncagil (Intern, BIAA)  
  • Consultant: Dr. Valeria Vitale (Lecturer, University of Sheffield and Honorary Collections Officer, BILNAS)  
  • Consultant: Hakan Özdemir (Chief Digital Officer, Üsküdar University)  
  • Consultant: Rainer Simon (Independent Software Developer)

Synopsis and Position

This Project is recorded in the BIAA Digital Repository System: Connecting Archives, Connecting People Project: BIAA Project No PRJ240  

‘Connecting Archives, Connecting People’ is a new digital repository initiative led by the British Institute at Ankara (BIAA) in partnership with the British Institute for Libyan & Northern African Studies (BILNAS), both British International Research Institutes (BIRI). This project aims to widen access to archives by focusing on the concept of ‘creators’ – the people who collect, create, and interpret archival material – as ways to connect documents and information hosted in different institutions.  

Connecting information between the different Institutes’ archives was an important contribution to enriching the knowledge around the artefacts, excavations, cultural events and other materials, as it will add multiple perspectives on entities that appear in more than one collection.  

Objectives and Methods

In the first phase of the project, the BIAA will work with BILNAS to generate and curate key personal name datasets. After comparison, authority links will be added using VIAF, LCAH and Wikidata to clarify the identity of specific individuals and standardise the terminology used throughout the databases. A Linked Open Data (LOD) template will be created, along with workflow and guidance documents in English, Arabic and Turkish.  

This methodology will then be shared with the British International Research Institutes (BIRI) housing collections relating to Iraq, Italy, Greece, East Africa, the Levant, Iran and the wider Persionate world. Finally, two online workshops will be organised to disseminate results and share best practices with other galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAMs).  

Workshops and Events

  • Workshop [Watch here] Organiser: BIAA, BILNAS, WMTR Online in English, 27 September 2023    
  • Connecting Archives, Connecting People Arabic Workshop: 15 January 2024, Online in Arabic  [Watch here] Organisers: BIAA, BILNAS, WM Arabic Community.     
  • Connecting Archives, Connecting People Project Guidelines for Creating a Person Database:

English Guideline:   

Turkish Guidelines:  

Arabic Guidelines:   



  • Checking and analysing archival records for information on ‘creators’  
  • Researching similar projects to identify good practices.  
  • Preparing catalogue information for personal name datasets  
  • Comparing BIAA & BILNAS personal name datasets  
  • Linking personal name datasets with relevant authority records  
  • Creating Linked Open Data (LOD) infrastructure for common personal names data  
  • Preparing workflow and guidance documents  

Çankaya, Atatürk Blv No:154, 06690 Çankaya/Ankara, Turkey