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.”
While at Columbia, Neal served as the Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, 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 University, University of Notre Dame, and the City University of New York.
In addition, James Neal has served on the university press boards at Columbia, Johns Hopkins University and Indiana University. He has represented the American library community in testimony on copyright matters before Congress, has served as an advisor to the U.S. delegation at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) diplomatic conference on copyright, and has worked extensively with copyright policy and advisory groups for universities and for professional and higher education associations. From 2005-2008, he was a member of the U.S. Copyright Office Section 108 Study Group.
Among his service contributions, Neal was chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 2017 National Conference, and coordinated the fundraising for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) 2016 scholarship program.
Among his many awards, Neal was selected as the 1997 Academic Librarian of the Year by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), was the 2007 recipient of ALA’s Hugh Atkinson Memorial Award, and received the 2009 ALA Melvil Dewey Medal Award. He holds an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta. He received the 2015 ALA Joseph W. Lippincott Award for "distinguished service to the profession of librarianship", as well as the Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award.
Neal received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian Studies from Rutgers University and holds two masters degrees from Columbia University, one in history and the other in library science.
About the NISO Plus Conference (niso.plus)
The conference is scheduled for February 23 – 25, 2020 at the Lord Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore, MD. The intent behind the new NISO Plus Conference is to integrate the thought-leadership tradition of the well-established NFAIS conference with the hands-on practicality of NISO. Recognizing the value of the NFAIS Conference over 60-plus years, the NISO Plus conference will build on that value in new ways, celebrating the vibrant nature of today’s information community. NISO and NFAIS formally merged in 2019.
About NISO (www.niso.org):
The National Information Standards Organization (NISO), a Baltimore, MD based non-profit association, fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfil this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works internationally with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of information standards. NISO is an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited standards development organization.