UCL Qatar


Dr Milena Dobreva-McPherson

Milena Dobreva

Associate Professor in Library and Information Studies 


Tel: +974 4000 2803

Since graduating M.Sc. (Hons) in Informatics in 1991, Milena specialized in digital humanities and digital cultural heritage in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences where she earned her PhD in 1999 and served as the Founding Head of the first Digitisation Centre in Bulgaria (2004); she was also a member on the Executive Board of the National Commission of UNESCO. In 2007 she was a guest researcher at the University of Glasgow contributing to the DELOS network of excellence in digital libraries. In 2008-2011 she worked at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and
served as the principal investigator for projects in digital preservation and digital libraries funded by the European Commission, JISC, Europeana Foundation, and the Scottish Funding Council. In 2012-2017 Milena was an Associate Professor at the University of Malta. As a Head of the Department of Library Information and Archive Sciences she spearheaded the redesign of the departmental programmes, extended them with a Master's course and supervised the first Maltese Master graduates in Library and Information Studies. Milena is a member of the editorial board of the IFLA Journal-Sage, and of the International Journal on Digital Libraries (IJDL)-Springer. 

About arriving to Qatar

This is an exciting time to arrive to Qatar, just before Qatar National Library is going to officially open in November 2017. There are many interesting narratives how collections of National Libraries around the world came into existence: for example the National Library of Scotland grew out of the Advocates Library in Edinburgh, and the National Library of Malta emerged out of the collection of books belonging to knights from the Order of Knights Hospitaller.

However, for me the story of Qatar National Library is a metaphor of the shift in librarianship we are witnessing in the last decades. Its physical home, one of the many architectural highlights in Doha, had been built as a space to host the library collection after a mass digitization process, launched with the British Library, had produced an extensive digital collection.

This increased exposure of the Qatari cultural heritage into the digital world makes it particularly interesting to contribute to the MA in Library and Information Studies of UCL Qatar, a programme which combines digital and traditional knowledge and skills with a multicultural setting. Working in an environment which is offering numerous opportunities for enhancing student experiences in exploring the digital and traditional, is conducive to my aspiration to introduce novel content into the curriculum. In addition, I am starting a seed research project which will analyse the emerging research data management practices in digital humanities in Qatar in this time of synchronous growth of both digital humanities research and large-scale digital cultural heritage collections.