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THE NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS IN FIELD OF INFORMATION AND DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT IN TURKEY. ALTAY, Ahmet YILMAZ, İbrahim Alpay. INTRODUCTION AND CONCEPTS. Although there are different definitions of the civil society concept , the concept has been put forward to

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ALTAY, Ahmet YILMAZ, İbrahim Alpay

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ALTAY, Ahmet

YILMAZ, İbrahim Alpay


Althoughtherearedifferentdefinitions of thecivil

societyconcept, theconcept has been put forwardto


  • Thefirst of them is the “publicspace” whichdepends on thepluralism of theinstitutions, organizations and thethoughts.

  • Thesecond is the “privacy” whichtellstheautonomousindividual moral choice.

  • As thethirddimension, there is a legal systemwhichincludes a number of basicrightsthatarerequiredtoprotect and todevelopthesocialspace.

Inthisconnection, actualisation of therightssystem in a

legal and institutionalorder and attainingbalanceto

thissystemhave a centralimportancefortheformation

of civilsociety. Thus, therightssystemmakesthecivil

society an autonomousspace in relationwiththestate.

Whilethestate is a precondition, therightssystem

creates a socialspace in orderfortheindividualto

realizehimself/herself and restrictsthescope of the

action of thestate in unisonwithcontinuingthe

presence of thissocialspace. Thestate is responsiblefor

protecting and watchingtheserights

One of themostimportantfeauters of a profession is the

members’ comingtogethertocombinetheirefforts and

tohelpthemselves in ordertosolvetheproblems. Inany

profession, theeffortsforprovidingtheinternal

cohesion and theintegration of themembers of the

professionareseen. As wellgainingstatus in front of the


areconsidered as a determiningpurpose.

Briefly, theindividualswhohave a particularformation

of expertisetrytocreate a market fortheseexpertise

fields and tocontrolthesefields (Tanık, 1984: 1581). The

professionalassociationshaveimportanttasks of

developing a profession, makingthesocietyacceptthis

profession and providingparticipation in provision of


Non-governmentalorganizationsareidentifiedto be

legal and democraticmechanismswhichtheindividuals

generatebycomingtogether and bybuilding an

organizedstructure. Theindividualscreatethese

organizations in ordertoreachsolidarity in an

individual-centeredsociety (Yerasimos, 2001: 13).

Information and Document Management is a discipline

which examines, researches and develops the methods

and the processes that provide transmission of the

information to all segments of the society in free,

uninterrupted, true, fast and neutral manners.

This discipline depends on teaching theories, methods

and techniques that enable the flow of registered

information through all social fields and that enable

delivering the information services within this process of

flow by modern standards in libraries and information


In this context, Information and Document

Management discipline aims to make the society adopt

the profession of librarianship as a form of

contemporary systems; to find solutions to the problems

of the profession; to introduce the profession to the all

segments of the society and to make the society accept

the profession.

Therefore any types of associations and non-

governmental organizations which will move the

profession to a real professionalization and a

specialization have a great importance in relation with

the future of the profession of librarianship.

The ideal purposes and the targets of an association

which is to operate in the field of Information and

Document Management are considered to be aligned as

below (Tonta, 1985: 31):

  • To bring all the individuals who work in the field of Information and Document Management or who have an interest in the field together.

  • To raise the status of the profession.

  • To promote the profession by bookstalls, conferences and meetings.

  • To arrange seminars and conferences in the field of Information and Document Management.

  • To work to develop the professional dignity and the working conditions in the field of Information and Document Management.

  • To try to make laws of librarianship.

  • To create and to publish a professional literature.

  • To study and to investigate for the development of the discipline of Information and Document Management

  • To improve vocational training by establishing suitable training institutions.

  • To improve the bibliographic researches and to publish them.

  • To study on the latest innovations in the field of Information and Document Management.

  • To make the members build a close relationship with themselves, top management, the important experts in other fields and the members of the other national and international associations.

  • To work for the standardization of the applications in the field of Information and Document Management.

  • To work for the standardization of the equipment in the Information and Document Centers.

  • To find solutions to the professional problems.

In western countries, the associations in the field of

Information and Document Management are socially

effective and also they make decisions that affect the

profession and the members of the profession directly.

These associations which reflect Western Civilization’s

understanding of the civil society aim to handle the

profession in a professional manner, to improve the

specialization of the profession and to develop the


The best example of these associations is the American

Library Association (ALA) which was founded in 1876.

ALA is the most powerful library association all over the

world and it controls all the activities in the field of

Information and Document Management; makes

decisions about the professional issues and applies these



Thefirsteffortstoestablishassociations in thefield of

librarianship in Turkeystartedwhentheunderstanding

of modern librarybegantodevelop in thecountry. The

firstattempttoestablish a librarianshipassociation in

Turkeywastheestablishment of theNationalLibrary in

1948. Adnan Ötüken, thefounder of theNational

Library, had an important role in thesefirstefforts. As a

result of theseefforts, theTurkishLibrarians’

Association (TLA) wasestablished.

In 1953, thelibrarianswholived in İstanbul, established

TheIstanbulLibrariansAssociation. Thisassociation

continueditsworkuntil 1960. But in 1961 Turkish

Librarians’ Association (TLA) gotorganized as a branch,

and as a resultTheIstanbulLibrariansAssociation

dissolveditself, aftercontinuingtoworkfor a shortwhile. On

21 Januray 1967 TurkeyLibrariesLibrarians, Officers and

Employees’ Unionwasestablished. Theaims of thisunion

weretopreservethelibrarians in terms of cultural and

economicaspects and todeveloptheprofession of


Thisunioncontinueditsworkuntil 1971 byefforts of a

limitednumber of members and thereafterstoppedits

activities. TheAlumniAssociation of theUniversity

Department of Librarianshipwhichwasestablished on

28 April 1970 madeseveralstudies on thesubject of

librarianship. Thisassociationdissolveditselfafter 12

September 1980 (Tonta, 1985: 33).


TheTurkishLibrarians’ Association ( TLA) which is the

oldest and themostfundamentalnon-governmental

organization in thefield of librarianship in Turkeywas

foundedundertheleadership of Adnan Ötüken on 19

November 1949 in Ankara.

Thepurposes of thisassociationhavebeentogatherthe

librarians in Turkeyundertheumbrella of a professional

organization, and tocreate an environmentwherethese

librarians can maketheirvoicesheard, can discusstheir

problems and can findsolutionstotheirproblems

Intheearlyyears of the TLA, theactivities of the

associationwerelimitedto Ankara. Afterthe charter

changes in 1961, the TLA gottheopportunitytoopen

branches in theprovinces and districts of Turkey. Today,

TLA has 21 branches and 1822 members.

Alsocontinuouslyworkinggroupswhichstudy on the

variousfields of theprofessionoperateunderthe

umbrella of TLA. Thecenter and thebranches of the

TLA havebeenarrangingvariousprofessional

organizationas and activities, such as conferences,

panels, trainingseminars and workshops.

One of themostimportantservices of the TLA in the

field of librarianshipprofession is thepublication of The

Journal of TurkishLibrarianship. Thejournalstarted

broadcasting in 1952 underthe name of “Bulletin of the

TurkishLibrarians’ Association” in ordertomake

scientific and professionalpublications in thefields of

librarianship, information, science and archives.

Since 1987 thejournal has beenissuedquarterlyunder

the name of “TurkishLibrarianship”. Takingplaceamong

theoldest 30 journalswhichhavebeenpublishedunder

theworldstandards in thefield of Information and

DocumentManagement, TheTurkishLibrarianship

resumesbroadcasting as a respectibleperiodical at the

international platform.

TheTurkishLibrarians’ Association, whosemission is to

increasethesociety’sawareness of thelibrarianship

professionbycreating a participative and a sharing

understanding and solidarity in thefield of information

services, has beencloselyfollowingthedevelopments in

theworld and has beensustainingitsstudiesunder a

modern, rational and progressiveviewpoint and bythe

help of itsfast-spreadingbranchesacrossthecountry

and of itsincreasingnumber of members


TheAssociation of University and ResearchLibrarians

(ÜNAK) wasestablished on 9 August 1991 in Ankara by

theregulationpreparedby 14 foundingmembersfrom

university and researchlibraries, documantation and

informationcenters and privatelibraries.

Thepurposes of thisassociationare:

  • tofollowtheresearches, studies and developments in thefield of Information and DocumentManagement;

  • tohelpdevelopthequality of theservices in thefieldsothatheseservices’ qualitiesmeetcontemporarystandards;

  • toexamine and tofindsolutionstotheproblems of the


  • tocontributetotheprofessionaldevelopment of

    theindividualsworking in thisfield;

  • and tosupportthesocial and theculturalimprovement of Turkey.

TheAssociation of University and ResearchLibrarians

has producedvariousservices and has implemented

severalactivities since it wasfounded and theseservices

and activitesare as below:

  • Toarrangeactivitiesfortraining and co-operation, such as conferences, seminars, panels, symposiums, in ordertosupporttheprofessionaldevelopment of thepersonnelworking in theinformationcenters,

  • Toedit and topublishoriginal and translatedbooks, journals and bulletinswhichhavebeenwritten on professionalsubjects and whichhaveespeciallydepended on contemporarydevelopments,

  • Toencourage and tosupporttheoriginalresearches on professionalsubjects,

  • Toprovide and tosupportprofessionalsolidarity, tocontributetothesolutions of theproblems and toadvise and toarbitratewhenrequired.

  • Toaccept and carryoutprojectsfortheinstitutionsthatrequirethishelp on professionalsubjects,

  • Tocooperatewithsimilarorganizations,

  • Tocreatesolutionstomeettherequirements in relationwiththeuse of information and communicationtechnologies in theprofessionalfield,

  • Toarrangesocialorganizations,

  • To buy, sell, orrentrealestate in ordertofinanceitspurposes.

Since it wasfounded, TheAssociation of University and

ResearchLibraries has performedscientificactivities,

has publishedreports and has madestudies; and thus

has undertaken an importanttask of announcingthe

improvements and theproblems in thefield of

librarianship and informationscience in Turkeytolarge


In April 2000, “InformationWorld”, a scientificpeer-

reviewedjournal, startedbroadcasting as theofficial

periodical of TheAssociation of University and Research

Libraries. As well, theassociationpublishedthe UNAK

Newsletter in June 1997 and created a list of discussion

which is referredto ÜNAK-List in 2001. Bycreatingthis

list, theassociationcontributedtoimprovethe

effectiveness of theprofessionalcommunication. Today

theassociation has overthan 700 members


TurkishAssociation of SchoolLibrarieswasfounded in

2000. In 2000, theschoollibrariansparticipated in the

INET-TR meeting and created a communications

platform forschoollibrarians. Undertheumbrella of

this platform, cooperation and sharingincreased and

significantsuccesseswereachieved. Thus, this platform

made a significantcontributiontoactualiseSchool

LibrariesRegulationwhichwasbroadcasted in Official

Gazette on 22 August 2001.

As a result of therequirementforactivatingthe

informationaccumulation and thestudies

thatdevelopedover time, theschoollibrariansheld a

meeting and foundedtheIstanbulGroup of School

Librarians in 2002. Thegroup has cometogethertwice a

year since 2002 and themembershavesharedtheir

experiences and knowledge, as well as lookingfor

solutionstotheprofessionalproblems. Themost


nationalconferences, whichareexplainedbelow:

  • I. NationalConference of SchoolLibrarianswhichwasperformed on 5 July 2003 underthehospitality of Robert College.

  • II. NationalConference of SchoolLibrarians: FromInformationLiteracytoLifelongLearning, whichwasperformed on 27 June 2009 underthehospitality of Robert College.

  • III. NationalConference of SchoolLibrarians: AdvancedApplications in SchoolLibrarieswhichwasperformed on 3 July 2010 underthehospitality of Robert Private Bilkent PrimarySchool.

Afterthe III. NationalConference of SchoolLibrarians,

theeffortstoestablish a schoollibrariansassociation

started and as a resultTurkishAssociation of School

Librarieswasfounded on 17 December 2010

Thebasicpurpose of TurkishAssociation of School

Libraries is tocontributetodemocratization of the

society and tosocially, culturally and economically

development of thecountry, byensuringthe

qualitatively and quantitativelydevelopment of workers

and services in libraries, information and mediacenters.

Inthiscontext, TurkishAssociation of SchoolLibraries

havebeenarrangingcollaborativeorganizations, such as

conferences, seminars, panels, symposiums and

workshopstoensuretheprofessionaldevelopment of


Themissions of TurkishAssociation of SchoolLibraries

aretomakelibrariansnationallytakepart in lifelong

learningactivities and toarrangevariousactivities in

orderforstudentstolearnlearning and totake

advantage of modern libraryservices. Inspite of being a

youngassociation, TurkishAssociation of School



Balkan LibrariesUnionwasfounded on 29 July 2009 in

Edirne bytheparticipation of 10 institutionsfrom 6

Balkan countries. Thepurposes of theunionare:

  • toincreasethecommunication and cooperationbetweenthestate, public, university, research and privatelibrarieswhichoperate in Balkans;

  • topreservetheculturalheritage in Balkans;

  • toprovidecommonaccesstoresources in ordertosharethecollections in libraries in Balkan countries;

  • and toincreasethequality of activities in relationwithInformation and DocumentManagement and archives.

Theactivities, which Balkan LibrariesUnionaimto

perform in ordertorealiseitspurposesareexplained


  • Tocarryoutworkstodeterminethecommondesires, purposes and problems of libraries in Balkan countries.

  • Torealisecooperationswithothernational and internationalassociations, organizations and governmentagencies.

  • Toarrangeactivities as meetings, seminars, workshops and projects.

  • Topublishperiodicals.

  • Tocarryoutprofessionalworks not onlyforincreasingthecooperationbetweenthelibraries in Balkan countries, alsoforincreasingthecooperationwiththeotherEuropeanlibraries.

  • Toleadthecoordination and cooperationefforts in ordertoensurethemutualshare of experiences of knowledgeprofessionals, whowork in informationcenters in Balkan countries.

TheUnion has 49 memberinstitutionsfrom 9 countries.

Withintheunionthereare 24 institutionsfromTurkey;

8 institutionsfromBulgaria; 1 institutionfromAlbania; 1

institutionfromBosnia and Herzegovina; 1 instution

fromKosovo; 3 institutionsfromMacedonia; 1

institutionfrom Moldova; 7 institutionsfromRomania

and 2 institutionsfromSerbia.


The associations and non-governmental organizations

that operate in the field of Information and Document

Management in Turkey, have been stronger day by day and

have performed important professional activities. The

activities performed by these institutions give hope for the

future. But, it is a fact that there are serious problems in field

of Information and Document Management. The non-

governmental organizations in the field of librarianship have

been performing activities to control information services, to

develop contemporary professional applications and

standards, but these efforts are inadequate.

The common problems that the associations in the field

of Information and Document Management in Turkey

encounter are explained below:

  • The individuals work in the field of Information and Document Management in Turkey don’t claim the professional associations.

  • There are financial inabilities.

  • There are problems in relation with operation and control.

  • The associations have a lack of coordination and cooperation within and between themselves.

The last problem has a great importance in term of the

future of non-governmental organizations that operate

in the field of Information and Document Management

in Turkey. In fact, the cooperation and coordination

between these associations will make them stronger. A

presence of a strong civil society platform is very important

in terms of the librarianship profession and the society. A

possible strong cooperation will make the associations come

together under the umbrella of a federation and thus the

effectiveness of these association will increase.

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