Associate University Librarian and Director, Rubenstein Library

166 Rubenstein Library
Duke Box 90185
Durham, NC  27708
Phone: +1-919-668-7886

Naomi Nelson is the Director of Duke's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.  Her current research interests center on managing and providing access to born-digital materials and on leveraging the new avenues for humanities research opened by digital formats.

She served on the Research Libraries Group’s Encoded Archival Description Advisory Group and on the Digital Library Federation’s Aquifer Initiative, chaired the Society of American Archivists’ Technology Best Practices Task Force, and participated in a multi-institution NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up grant exploring approaches to collecting and managing born-digital literary materials.  She has taught the Society of American Archivists’ courses “Digitization of Archival Materials” and “Digital Libraries and Digital Archives” and with Matt Kirschenbaum inaugurated the course “Born Digital Materials: Theory and Practice” at the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School. She currently serves on the Society of American Archivists' Committee on Education and on the Professional Expert Panel for the Mellon-funded BitCurator Project. 

In a previous position at Emory University, she co-led the Libraries’ Born Digital Archives program that developed an innovative prototype researcher workstation demonstrating two ways to access the files from Salman Rushdie’s computers.  While at Emory, she also co-directed the new graduate certificate program in Digital Scholarship and New Media.


Ph.D., Emory University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (History), 2001.

M.L.S., University of Pittsburgh, School of Library and Information Science, 1991.

A.B., Duke University, 1988.

Most Recent Publications

Managing Born Digital Special Collections and Archival Materials, ARL SPEC Kit 329, Association of Research Libraries, Timothy D. Pyatt, Naomi L. Nelson, et. al., 2012.

Approaches to Managing and Collecting Born-Digital Literary Materials for Scholarly Use, White Paper to the NEH Office of Digital Humanities Level 1 Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant, Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, Erika Farr, Kari M. Kraus, Naomi L. Nelson, Catherine Stollar Peters, Gabriela Redwine, Doug Reside, 2009.

“Taking a Byte Out of Congress: Reconsidering the Research Use of Correspondence and Casework Files,” in An American Political Archives Reader, ed. by Karen D. Paul, Glenn R. Gray, and L. Rebecca Johnson Melvin, Scarecrow Press, 2009.