Digitalising Turkey’s Botanical Heritage

Ilgın Deniz Can (middle) & Barış Uğurman (left) working on specimens cleaning and mounting. Cleaned specimen before & after (top right)
Ilgın Deniz Can (middle) & Barış Uğurman (left) working on specimens cleaning and mounting. Cleaned specimen before & after (top right)

Ankara, Turkey


The BIAA research centre for Anatolia and the Black Sea Region, incorporates a herbarium (Index Herbariorum code BIA). Gordon Hillman’s team started collecting specimens in the 1970s, creating a unique reference collection to support archaeobotanical research. This project will preserve this collection physically and establish a virtual herbarium containing images and information on unique and at-risk plant specimens in Turkey, available to students, researchers, and the public. This will preserve an important part of Turkey’s heritage and co-create egalitarian archiving practices that facilitate open and permanent access to collections and allow for the co-existence of multiple narratives of the past.


The process will involve collating information from hand-written notes by the original collectors of the specimens; ensuring specimens are clean and free of mould; and mounting them on standard-sized archival acid-free paper, all of which will contribute to properly preserving the specimens. The specimens will also be reidentified to ensure information is up to date, and professionally photographed. Biocultural collections are important resources for many different researchers, so the aim is to create an open access repository with Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) principles. The project progress and results will be shared with Turkish botanists via symposia and workshops.


  • To be confirmed


Current Activities 

Cleaning herbarium specimens 

Mounting specimens on archival acid-free papers 

Collating information from hand-written notes 

Upcoming Activities 

Prepare catalogue information for labels and digital repository system 

Prepare labels &mounting them on sheet 

Image capturing and preparation for digital repository system 

Ingestion and sharing datasets 

Sharing know-how and best practices with other herbaria 

Ankara, Turkey