The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has announced James G. Neal as the 2020 Miles Conrad Lecturer. Neal will be presented with this prestigious award on February 24, 2020 at the NISO Plus Conference in Baltimore, MD.
Neal is the University Librarian Emeritus at Columbia University, serving as University Librarian between 2001 and 2014. He is a past president of the American Library Association (2017-2018). In 2019, he was appointed a Senior Policy Fellow at the American Library Association, with a focus on copyright and licensing, and working with the ALA Policy Corps. Neal also served as a member of the NISO Board of Directors and led NISO as Chair from 2006-2008.
In announcing the award, Marian Hollingsworth, Director, Publisher Relations at the Web of Science Group (a Clarivate Analytics company) and Chair of the NISO Board of Directors for the 2019-2020 term, said, “By naming Jim as the 2020 Miles Conrad Lecturer, the NISO Board is maintaining the 52-year tradition of NFAIS recognizing the leadership and community service that recipients of this award have always embodied. Jim’s energy and erudition have fueled innovation in a variety of settings. He has a remarkable understanding of the roles and services provided by NISO members in supporting a global research community.”
The Miles Conrad Award was established in 1965 in commemoration of the organizational founder of the National Federation of Abstracting and Indexing Services (NFAIS). In support of American scientists working towards space exploration, the scholarly associations and government agencies that made up the NFAIS membership worked collaboratively to enhance the speed with which scientific knowledge could be disseminated, discovered, and acted upon. Over the course of sixty years, NFAIS has expanded its cross-disciplinary membership and played an important role in the development of online information services and resources. In 2019, NFAIS was folded into the National Information Standards Organization (NISO),) continuing a tradition of advancing the infrastructure that enables the unfettered exchange of information among the cultural, scholarly, scientific, and professional communities.
Todd Carpenter, Executive Director of NISO said, “Over the course of his career, Jim Neal has provided leadership in areas as diverse as academic computing, digital research and scholarship, licensing, and copyright. He has represented and advocated for the information community on a national as well as international level. I have worked with Jim in a variety of roles over the years, including during one of NISO’s most transformative periods, while he served as Chair during my first two years at NISO. He represents so many of the characteristics we hope to highlight and recognize with the Miles Conrad Award.”
“I feel honored to have been chosen to be a recipient,” responded Neal. “ When you review the list of previous Miles Conrad Lecturers, you become aware of so many men and women who have been innovators on behalf of the information community, leaders in government, technology, and business. The breadth of the organizations that have worked and continue to work in support of research information is amazing.”
Jim Neal is University Librarian Emeritus at Columbia University. He served as the Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University during 2001-2014, providing leadership for university academic computing and a system of twenty-two libraries. His responsibilities included the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship, the Copyright Advisory Office, and the Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research. Previously, he served as the Dean of University Libraries at Indiana University and Johns Hopkins University, and held administrative positions in the libraries at Penn State, Notre Dame, and the City University of New York.
Neal was 2017-18 President of the American Library Association. He has served on the Council and Executive Board, and was ALA Treasurer during 2010-13. He is a member of the OCLC Board of Trustees. He has served on the Board and as President of the Association of Research Libraries, on the Board and as Chair of the Research Libraries Group (RLG), on the Board and as Chair of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), and on the Board of the Digital Preservation Network. He is on the Board and has served as Treasurer of the Freedom to Read Foundation, and is on the Board and has served as Treasurer of the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). He has also participated on numerous international, national, and state professional committees, and has been an active member of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). He is a member of the Library Advisory Board of the University of the People. Within ALA, he is currently serving on the ALA Council and as chair of its Committee on Organization. He is a member of the Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness (SCOE), and has completed his service on the Executive Director Search Committee.
Neal is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, consultant and published author, with focuses in the areas of scholarly communication, intellectual property, digital library programs, and library cooperation. He has served on the Scholarly Communication committees of ARL and ACRL and as Chair of the Steering Committee of SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. He has served on the university press boards at Columbia, Johns Hopkins and Indiana. He has represented the American library community in testimony on copyright matters before Congressional committees, was an advisor to the U.S. delegation at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) diplomatic conference on copyright, has worked on copyright policy and advisory groups for universities and for professional and higher education associations, and during 2005-08 was a member of the U.S. Copyright Office Section 108 Study Group. He was chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 2017 National Conference, and coordinated the fundraising for the IFLA 2016 scholarship program. In 2019, he was appointed a Senior Policy Fellow at the American Library Association, with a focus on copyright and licensing, and working with the ALA Policy Corps.
He was selected the 1997 Academic Librarian of the Year by the Association of College and Research Libraries and was the 2007 recipient of ALA’s Hugh Atkinson Memorial Award and the 2009 ALA Melvil Dewey Medal Award. In 2010, he received the honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta. In 2015, he received the ALA Joseph W. Lippincott Award for "distinguished service to the profession of librarianship", and the Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award. And in 2016, he was awarded the Scroll of Appreciation by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA).