Dr. Maria Luisa Russo
Dr. Maria Luisa Russo is a Project Director for HMML preservation work in Bamako, Mali. She divides her time between her home base in Italy and field operations in Bamako, where she oversees the local team’s digitization work. She joined HMML in 2019. A native of Italy, Russo earned a BA in Humanities from the University of Turin, a MA in Library Management from the University of Siena, and her PhD in Humanities from the University of Turin, all in Italy. Prior to joining HMML, she co-managed a project Safeguarding the Manuscripts of Timbuktu for the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures at the University of Hamburg (CSMC), Germany, and served as a project manager and research fellow for the preservation and promotion of the Paul Kahle Fonds (archive and library), University of Turin. She continues to coordinate another research project African Voices in the Islamic Manuscripts from Mali: Documenting and Exploring African Languages Written in Arabic Script (Ajami) for CSMC.
In her HMML role, Russo oversees the local Malian teams supporting the implementation of the digitization project of Timbuktu manuscripts transferred to Bamako and engages with partner institutions at the University of Hamburg and SAVAMA-DCI (Sauvegarde et Valorisation des Manuscrits pour la Défense de la Culture Islamique).
What she enjoys most about her work: “Being actively involved in digital preservation of manuscripts and the opportunity to share and discuss ideas with colleagues highly skilled in the technical aspects of digitization that improves [every scholar’s] work.”