April 20, 2018

Nadia Nasr | Movers & Shakers 2007

Master Sleuth

In 2006, when Nadia Nasr needed to identify the subject, time, and place of some photos in Enoch Pratt Free Library’s (EPFL) archives, she posted them on a web site she called Maryland’s Most Wanted and invited the public to help. People who helped identify the photographs were rewarded with the title ‘Master Sleuth.’

You could call Nasr that as well. As coordinator of the Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage Project (MDCH), she’s inventoried digitization-worthy collections across the state to determine their content, age, condition, and the collection owners’ ability to carry out the project. MDCH pledges to coordinate the digitizing and ensure a permanent database of high-resolution digital files that can be copied and repurposed for the web.

EPFL deputy director Patricia Wallace says that Nasr’s efforts have made people ‘see interaction with library resources and staff in a new role and dimension.’ Certainly by retrieving historical items and displaying them online in exhibits like ‘Sports in Maryland,’ she’s created valuable research tools that also entertain the general public.

That role is a perfect match for a woman who originally hoped to work in museums. What appeals to Nasr most is the stories behind the materials she’s unearthed. ‘Sometimes we don’t know what that story is until we start poking around,’ she says.

But discovering stories is not enough. For Nasr, sharing them matters even more. That’s why she loves going around the state promoting the program and consulting with organizations that want to start their own digitization programs. ‘People’s eyes light up,’ she says, when they see the fruits of her detective work – their own lost history brought back to light.




CURRENT POSITION Digitization Supervisor, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore; Coordinator, Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage Project

DEGREES MLIS, University of Southern Mississippi, 2005

WEB SITE www.mdch.org