What is PIL?
Project Information Literacy (PIL) is a nonprofit research institute that conducts ongoing, national studies on what it is like being a student in the digital age. To learn more, read PIL's FAQ or a summary of our key research findings.
"Kyle Jones: The Datafied Student and the Ethics of Learning Analytics": In this October 14th Smart Talk interview, PIL Scholar-in-Residence, Barbara Fister, interviews Data Doubles collaborator and LIS educator, Kyle Jones, about the double-edged sword of learning analytics and student privacy.
"Asking the Right Questions: Bridging the Gaps between Information Literacy Assessment Approaches": Is it time to re-frame information literacy assessment? In this October 2019, Against the Grain article, we introduce a typology for classifying and critiquing four levels of assessment widely used by academic librarians, while presenting reflective questions for strengthening ties among these approaches and maximizing teaching, learning, and assessment outcomes.
"How Students Engage with News": The October 2018 report from our yearlong study of students and their news engagement practices, commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and Harvard Graduate School of Education is available here.
>> Read the press release
>> Watch the findings video (2:35 mins.)
>> Read media coverage of the study
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 carry out information tasks in the digital age.
Volunteer Sample: See the 265+ community colleges, public colleges and universities, and private colleges and universities in the U.S. that have already joined. Read the FAQ about how your institution can join the sample.
Support for PIL research efforts has included:
To mark the 10th anniversary of PIL, we are currently working on a special research report on the future of information literacy among college students in today's fast-moving information environment.
Emerging scholarship from multiple disciplines will be brought together to consider today’s information environment and its most defining feature — the algorithm — the endless lines of opaque coding that make lightening-fast calculations and decisions for, and about, us that affect the course of our everyday lives in both helpful and unhelpful ways.
Qualitative findings from focus groups with 103 undergraduate students and interviews with 37 faculty at eight U.S. college campuses around the country have been completed and findings will appear in the report. Recommendations will also be provided for better preparing students as information users, sharers, and creators in the coming decade.
This research is being generously supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Harvard Graduate School of Education, ER&L, a leading library conference, and the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina.
> Read a press release about the study
> Read our Algo Study FAQ
IN THE NEWS
"7 things you should know about digital literacies," Trudi Jacobson, Debra Gilchrist, Alison Head, and Joan Lippincott, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, July 29, 2019.
"The truth Is in the network": Barbara Fister and Margy MacMillian, May 2019. PIL's Smart Talk interview with Mike Caulfield, who works to change how we think about and teach online media literacy, and directs the Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University Vancouver, and the Digital Polarization Initiative (Digipo).
"Alison Head joins Harvard Graduate School of Education and Gutman Library as visiting scholar," May 1, 2019.
"College students as news consumers," Barbara Fister, Information Outlook, March/April 2019, Vol. 23, No. 2: 6-8.
Upcoming Speaking Events
"Information in the Age of Algorithms: First Findings," Harvard Graduate School of Education, Thursday, November 7, 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., Askwith Hall, Longfellow, Radcliffe Quad. Presenters: Alison Head and Barbara Fister.
"Information Literacy in the Age of Algorithms," ER&L, Austin (TX), Sunday, March 8, 2020. Opening keynote: Barbara Fister.