Digitalising Turkey’s Botanical Heritage

Ilgın Deniz Can (middle) & Barış Uğurman (left) working on specimens cleaning and mounting. Cleaned specimen before & after (top right) Copyright © British Institute at Ankara
Ilgın Deniz Can (middle) & Barış Uğurman (left) working on specimens cleaning and mounting. Cleaned specimen before & after (top right) Copyright © British Institute at Ankara

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 handwritten 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 re-identified 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.   

Digitised specimen records have been uploaded to the BIAA Digital Repository and are now accessible at   

The Project was recorded in the BIAA Digital Repository System:   

Digitalising Turkey’s Botanical Heritage Project: BIAA Project No PRJ229 

The project progress and results were shared with botanists via workshops and publications. 


  • Dialogue 8 – 17 May: Nurdan Çayırezmez – Digitalising Turkey’s Botanical Heritage: Archiving Historical Herbarium in Turkey [Watch here]
  • Herbarium Digitalisation Processes and Digital Herbaria in Turkey Workshop (14-15 June 2022). Held in person at the BIAA, Ankara, Türkiye (Grant: Imagining Futures Top-up Fund)
  • Nurdan Atalan Çayırezmez, Necmi Aksoy, Ilgın Deniz Can, Barış Necdet Uğurman, Gonca Özger, Orhun Uğur, Nihal Uzun (2022) ‘The British Institute at Ankara’s Digital Repository: Botanical Reference Collections Digitisation Project’ in Heritage Turkey (12):28-30. | Download  



Cleaning herbarium specimens   

Mounting specimens on archival acid-free papers   

Collating information from handwritten notes   

Preparing catalogue information for labels and digital repository system   

Preparing labels and 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   


Photographs show members of the project team working on specimens – cleaning, mounting and image capturing. Copyright © British Institute at Ankara

Ankara, Turkey