About Project Information Literacy

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Project Information Literacy (PIL) is a public benefit nonprofit dedicated to conducting ongoing, large-scale research about early adults and their research habits. We conduct research about students enrolled in community colleges and public and private colleges and universities in the U.S.

Our goal is to understand how early adults conceptualize and operationalize research activities for course work and “everyday life” use and especially how they resolve issues of credibility, authority, relevance, and currency in the digital age.

Since 2008, more than 11,000 students from 57 colleges and universities across the US have been surveyed or interviewed, making PIL the largest study of information literacy ever conducted.

PIL was founded in 2008 at the University of Washington’s iSchool, by Alison Head, a new media professor, and Mike Eisenberg, co-founder of the Big6 Model, a Professor and Dean Emeritus. From 2008 through July 2012, PIL was co-directed by Alison Head and Mike Eisenberg, Dean Emeritus and Professor in the University of Washington’s Information School.

In July 2012, a new chapter began for PIL. PIL became a public benefit nonprofit dedicated to studying how early adults conceptualize and operationalize research in the digital age. At this time, we also initiated a new research initiative, the PIL Passage Studies, a series of studies investigating the critical information transition early adults go through in their lives. We are focusing our research efforts on learning more about two cohorts–college graduates (2012, 2014) and first time freshmen (2012-13).

Today, PIL is directed by Alison Head (alison@projectinfolit.org), who is also an Affiliate Associate Professor in the University of Washington’s iSchool, a Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and the Harvard Library Innovation Lab.