I worked for about six years in projects related to preservation and documentation of the cultural and natural heritage. Although I had a computer science background, my work experience increased my interest in the digitisation, investigation and preservation of cultural heritage.
This motivated me to seek more professional knowledge to widen my perspectives and to give me more ideas about heritage, then apply the knowledge in my practical work, especially in Egypt.
During my MRes year at UCL, I was researching Islamic paper in order to build a non-destructive methodology to characterize paper made in Islamic countries and survey the differences in the papermaking craft between the East and the West.
As a student doing research on heritage materials, it was important to me to apply the methodology developed in the laboratory in a real environment. My placement in the Wellcome Library to do a material survey on their Islamic manuscript collection gave me the chance to do just that, and greatly influenced my research. I had the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of my non-destructive methodology applied to a real collection.
Being in such an institution, and working with conservators who are dealing with manuscripts on a daily basis gave me the opportunity to be exposed to the needs and problems requiring more investigation. I also saw the effects of management and preservation strategies, thus broadening my perspectives in relation to my research and my plans for the future.
After finishing my MRes at UCL, I went back to Egypt to continue my work at Bibliotheca Alexandrina, applying and transferring the knowledge of heritage science I had gained. I am also preparing to continue my studies and the investigation into Islamic manuscripts through research at PhD level.