Project Information Literacy (PIL) Begins a New Chapter

Just got a note from Alison Head about some changes at Project Information Literacy (PIL) as well as some resources they’re making available, and thought I’d pass them on to you folks.

First, Project Information Literacy will no longer be a research study based in UW’s Information School; Alison is leaving her position as a research scientist there, and is in the process of making PIL a 501(c)3 public benefit nonprofit (aka, PIL as an educational research foundation). So PIL will be an independent entity, while Alison continues her affiliation with Harvard as a Fellow in the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and the Library Innovation Lab in Harvard Law School. She’ll become the Executive Director of a “new” PIL, and will continue as before as the lead researcher.

She is launching a new research initiative at PIL, called the “PIL Passage Studies,” a series of studies that will investigate the critical information transitions students go through in their lives. In October they’ll be releasing the first report in the Passage Studies series (which IMLS helped fund). That report will present findings from a preliminary study PIL conducted last year about how college graduates adopt and develop strategies for solving the information problems they encounter in the workplace, and how prepared their employers think they are at finding and using information. Also this fall they’ll be undertaking a new large-scale study about first-time freshmen, a cohort PIL has not previously surveyed (this study has received support from Cengage).

This summer they’ve posted a Smart Talk interview with the fabulous Librarian / Professor Barbara Fister, “Playing for Keeps: Rethinking How Research Is Taught to Today’s College Students,” about engaging college students in the research process. PIL has also signed a contract with ERIC, so that all of their full-text research reports will be available and openly accessible through the ERIC database within the next couple of months. And they’ve posted this PIL Volunteer Sample page with details for those interested in PIL study participation.

I’m champing at the bit to see the PIL Passage Studies, since past PIL studies have been chock full of great information. Having heard Alison speak most eloquently about PIL’s upcoming work several times this year, I’m that much more eager to hear about their findings.

More as it happens,

Cheryl LaGuardia About Cheryl LaGuardia

Cheryl LaGuardia always wanted to be a librarian, and has been one for more years than she's going to admit. She cracked open her first CPU to install a CD-ROM card in the mid-1980's, pioneered e-resource reviewing for Library Journal in the early 90's (picture calico bonnets and prairie schooners on the web...), won the Louis Shores / Oryx Press Award for Professional Reviewing, and has been working for truth, justice, and better electronic library resources ever since. Reach her at, where she's a Research Librarian at Harvard University.