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.
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 and the Association of College and Research Libraries, is available here.
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 260+ 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.
Visiting Research Scholar Program: The institutional site for the 2018/19 PIL Visiting Research Scholar Program is the University of Pittsburgh University Library System (ULS).
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 100+ undergraduate students and faculty interviews at six U.S. college campuses around the country will be included. Recommendations will 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, and ER&L, a leading library conference.
> Read the press release
> Read our algo study FAQ
> Sign up to participate in the sample
> Make an individual donation of support
News Engagement Study
In October 2018, we released our latest report, "How students engage with news." The open access report, public survey
dataset, and video are all available on news study page.
Many thanks to funders that generously supported this project: John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Association of College and Research Librarians (ACRL), and Harvard Graduate School of Education.
>> Read the press release
>> Watch the findings video (2:35 mins.)
>> Read media coverage of the study
"What's New Podcast": Dan Cohen talks to Alison Head and John Wihbey about PIL's study on college students and news engagement.
"'I use good sources when it counts for school, but am lazier at home': The critical divide between young adults’ academic and personal news engagement behaviors," Information Literacy Summit, Moraine Community College (IL), April 5, 2019. Presenter: Erica DeFrain.
"Information Literacy in the Age of Algorithms," ER&L, Austin (TX), March 8, 2020. Opening keynote: Barbara Fister.
"News digests to the rescue?" Alison Head, Barbara Fister, and Margy MacMillan, Storybench, March 15, 2019.
"Information literacy's third wave," Barbara Fister, Inside Higher Ed, Februrary 14, 2019.