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2006-2007 Provost Lecture Series

Jim Neal

Chaos Breeds Life: Imperatives Defining the Future Relevance and Impact of the Academic Research Library

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
1:30 - 3:00 p.m.
Hemisphere Room
Hale Library

James Neal
Vice President for Information Technology and University Librarian
Columbia University

Video of the Lecture

Biographical Sketch:

Jim Neal is currently the Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University, providing leadership for university academic computing and a system of twenty-five libraries. He works with the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia (EPIC), the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), Digital Knowledge Ventures (DKV), the Office of IT Planning and Policy, and the Office of IT Research and Development. He serves on key academic, technology, budget and policy groups at the University. 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. At Columbia, he has focused in particular on the development of the digital library, special collections, global resources, instructional technology, building construction/renovation, and fundraising programs.

Neal has served on the Council and Executive Board of the American Library Association (ALA), on the Board and as President of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and as Chair of OCLC's Research Library Advisory Council. He currently is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Research Libraries Group (RLG), on the Board of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), and on the Board of the Freedom to Read Foundation. He has also served on numerous international, national and state professional committees, and is an active member of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA).

Neal is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, consultant and published researcher with a focus in the areas of scholarly communication, intellectual property, digital library programs, organizational change, staff turnover, and fundraising. He has worked on the editorial boards of journals in the field of academic librarianship. 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, and currently serves on the Board of the Columbia University Press. He has represented the American library community in testimony on copyright matters before Congressional committees and was an advisor to the U.S. delegation at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) diplomatic conference on copyright. He has worked on copyright policy and advisory groups for universities and for professional and higher education associations. He was selected the 1997 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year by ALA 's Association of College and Research Libraries.


This presentation will highlight current and future trends defining both the malaise and the vitality of the academic research library. A series of imperatives will be outlined on the urgent and strategic roles and responsibilities for the library as it advances from legacy to infrastructure to portal to commons to enterprise.