What is PIL?
Project Information Literacy (PIL) is a nonprofit research institute that conducts ongoing, national research 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.
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. Our research is being conducted in partnership with faculty at Northeastern University and Wellesley College.
We are sending online surveys to 62,000 U.S. high school and college students to collect data about their news seeking habits. We are conducting a computational analysis of 7 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 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 an open access web app that lets public library users create and customize reading lists they can use to support continued learning.
On June 12, 2018, we will hold 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 a two-year project with PIL, the metaLAB (at) Harvard, and the Open Syllabus Project at Columbia University. We expect to have a prototype of this app that we will test in public library settings by late 2018.
Funding has been provided by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Templeton Foundation.
>> Recap from our October 2018 Ideathon EAST at METRO in New York City.
"Media and meaning-making in the fake news age," Alison J. Head and Margy MacMillan, PIL Smart Talk interview with Renee Hobbs, Director of the Media Education Lab at Rhode Island University, January 30, 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.
"The importance of truth workers in an era of factual recession," Alison J. Head and John Wihbey, Medium, April 8, 2017.
"Born digital: Finding, evaluating, and using information for today’s learners," Texas Library Association, Dallas, TX, April 5, 2018. Presenter: Kirsten Hostetler.
"How students conduct research," Purdue University Library Keynote, West Lafayette, IN, May 15, 2018. Presenter: Alison Head.
Ideathon WEST, Seattle Public Library, a day of discovery and discussion with the librarian community about The Reading List for Life, a Web app for public library users who want to keep learning, June 12, 2018.
"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.
"How can big data be useful in everyday life? Lessons and skills from The Reading List for Life," Next Library Conference, Berlin, Germany, September 12 - 15, 2018. Presenters: Alaina Bull and Jessica Yurkofsky.