Current social science research and writing faces a number of possibilities that seem to be constrained by three major challenges. The first is the limits of the imagination; the second is knowing what kinds of data are now out there; and the third is having the tools to aggregate and mine them.
Jim Neal is president-elect of the American Library Association (ALA) and university librarian emeritus at Columbia University. He served as the vice president for information services and university librarian at Columbia University from 2001 to 2014, providing leadership for university academic computing and a system of twenty-two libraries. 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 ALA, Neal 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 serves as treasurer of the Freedom to Read Foundation, and on the board and serves as treasurer of the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). He has also participated 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 author, with focuses in the areas of scholarly communication, intellectual property, digital library programs, and library cooperation.