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March 6, 2008

OBITUARY: William Z. Nasri

William Z. Nasri, professor emeritus in the School of Information Sciences (SIS), died Feb. 22, 2008, of natural causes. He was 82.

Nasri was a member of the SIS community for more than 30 years, beginning in 1964 as a research associate while he was enrolled in the PhD program.

In addition to his doctorate in library science, awarded in 1975, Nasri earned a Master of Library Science degree in 1965 and a certificate in advanced study in library administration in 1967, both at Pitt. He retired from Pitt in 1996.

Nasri taught courses in legal, international and management issues. In the 1970s, he introduced a course in legal aspects of management and information handling, a first-of-its-kind graduate course in a library science school.

Nasri also was an expert in copyright and intellectual property law, helping to rewrite federal laws to take into account the burgeoning field of information technology.

He studied the impact of copy machines on copyrighted material, culminating in his 1976 dissertation, “The impact of reprography on the commercial publication of scientific and technical periodicals: with particular reference to the case of the Williams and Wilkins Company v. the United States.”

In addition to numerous journal articles, Nasri wrote two books, “Crisis in Copyright” (1976) and “Legal Issues for Library and Information Managers” (1987). He also served as special counsel for copyright and University copyright consultant in Pitt’s Office of the General Counsel in the 1970s and ’80s.

During his Pitt career, Nasri served on a numerous University Senate and other committees.

Outside the University, Nasri was on a number of editorial boards, including serving as assistant editor of the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science from 1968 to 1983.

In 1975 he was elected to membership in Beta Phi Mu, the library science honorary society.

In 1988, he was awarded a Fulbright senior fellowship to teach and conduct research in Rabat, Morocco.

According to “Tradition in Transition: A History of the School of Information Sciences,” Nasri spoke five languages and taught in 28 countries.

Born in Tanta, Egypt, of Lebanese parents who met in Egypt and lived there when he was born, Nasri earned a bachelor’s degree in 1952 and a law degree in 1957 from the University of Alexandria. Prior to coming to the United States, he practiced law in Egypt from 1960 to 1964.

He left Egypt in 1964 with his wife, Eunice, a nurse who had been working in Tanta, and came to Pittsburgh, her hometown.

Nasri was past president of the Oakland Rotary Club, a member of the William D. McIlroy #269 Masonic Lodge and a life member emeritus of the Green Tree Library Board.

He was an elder at the Wallace Memorial Presbyterian Church, and was instrumental in founding the Pittsburgh service organization Brother’s Brother Foundation, which works toward the advancement of developing countries.

Students at SIS and Pitt’s School of Law established the annual William Z. Nasri Award for Legal Issues in Information Handling to honor Nasri for his contributions to the field and his 30-plus years of service to the University.

In addition to his wife, Nasri is survived by his daughter, Nadine Mancini; two sisters, Elaine Azmy and Nadia Issa; a brother, Fares Nasri, and four grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made in Nasri’s name to the American Respiratory Alliance (Smooth Sailing), 201 Smith Dr., Suite E, Cranberry Township, 16066; Green Tree Public Library, 10 W. Manilla Ave., Pittsburgh 15220, or St. Clair Hospital Intermediate Care Unit, Nursing Department, 1000 Bower Hill Rd., Pittsburgh 15243.

—Peter Hart

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