What is PIL?
Project Information Literacy (PIL) is a nonprofit research institute that conducts ongoing, national studies on what it is like being a college student in the digital age. We examine how college students find and use information -- their needs, strategies, practices, and workarounds -- for course work and solving information problems that arise in their everyday lives.
To learn more, read PIL's FAQ, a summary of our key research findings, or our opinion piece, "At sea in a deluge of data," from The Chronicle of Higher Education. Or read our commentary piece on fake news, misinformation, and moving forward in the so-called post-truth era,"The importance of truth workers in an age
of factual recession."
PIL AT A GLANCE
Director: Dr. Alison J. Head
Purpose: PIL is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit institute that conducts ongoing, scholarly research about how young adults conceptualize and operationalize information tasks in the digital age.
Volunteer Sample: See the 260+ community colleges, public colleges and universities, and private colleges and universities in the U.S. that have already joined the PIL volunteer sample. Read the FAQ about how your institution can join the sample, too.
Contributing Supporters have included:
IN THE WORKS
News Consumption Study: We are conducting a large-scale national study on how young adults interact with news and gather information. PIL's research is being conducted in partnership with faculty at Northeastern University and Wellesley College. Our open access report will be released in October 2018.
Our survey sample consists of responses from 5,019 high school and college students. We are also conducting a computational analysis of 1.8 million Twitter shares to learn how students use social media to interact with the news.
Our study is sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and with a grant from the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the largest division of the American Library Association (ALA).
Northeastern University Libraries and College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD), and Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) have also contributed support .
>> Read a press release about the study. For more details about how the study works, read the News Study FAQ.
The Reading List for Life: We are developing a prototype for an open access web app that lets public library users create and customize reading lists they can use for continued learning.
On June 12, 2018, we held an Ideathon WEST with public librarians at Seattle Public Library (Central). In September, we will be presenting at the Next Library conference in a session about making big data useful.
This project is part of a larger two-year project with PIL, the metaLAB (at) Harvard, and the Open Syllabus Project at Columbia University. Funding has been provided by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Templeton Foundation.
>> Read the recap from our October 2018 Ideathon EAST at METRO in New York City.
"Interactive media, bandwagon, FOMO, and engagement with AV and VR," Alison J. Head and Margy MacMillan, PIL Smart Talk interview with Shyam Sundar, March 17, 2018.
"Reading blogs to learn: Seeking knowledge from a community of strangers," Margy MacMillan, EdTech Researcher, Education Week, November 20, 2017.
"Why blogs endure: A study of recent college graduates and motivations for blog readership," Alison J. Head, Michele Van Hoeck, and Kirsten Hostetler, First Monday, October 2, 2017, Vol, 22, No. 10.
“Fake news and the next generation,” Dan Cohen and What’s New Podcast: An Exploration New Ideas and Discoveries, Northeastern University, Episode 2, September 6, 2017 (36:50 minutes).
"Posing the million-dollar question: What happens after graduation?" Alison J. Head, Journal of Information Literacy, June 5, 2017, Vol. 11, No. 1: 80-90.
"What every librarian should know about young news consumers," 2018 Annual ALA Conference, New Orleans, LA, June 23, 2018, 1 p.m. Presenter: Alison Head.
"Online pedagogy and iterative design: A conversation with PIL," Library Instruction West, Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, CO, July 19 - 20. Presenter: Alaina Bull.
"How can big data be useful in everyday life? Lessons and skills from The Reading List for Life," Next Library Conference, Berlin, Germany, September 14, 2018. Presenters: Alaina Bull and Jessica Yurkofsky.