Wow… Been away from blogging for so long I’m relieved to remember how it works! 8) *
Health literacy is a key focus for librarians who interact frequently with patients looking for information about their own health issues.
Larger, more universal information-seeking behaviors and lifelong learning strategies are topics of ongoing interest to two information scientists at the University of Washington Information School who started Project Information Literacy (PIL) in 2008. Lead researcher Alison P. Head is the Co-Director of the project along with Michael Eisenberg, professor at the iSchool. Funding is provided by the MacArthur Foundation. Here is a description of the scope of PIL from the home page:
” Project Information Literacy is a study “across” different types of campuses (community colleges, state colleges, and public and private universities) from different geographic areas in the U.S. Our goal is to help fill in some of the “missing pieces” of the information literacy puzzle and provide data that helps answer some of the following questions: 1) How do early adults (in their own words) put their information literacy competencies into practice in learning environments in a digital age, regardless of how they may measure up to standards for being information literate? 2) With the proliferation of online resources and new technologies, how do early adults recognize the information needs they may have and in turn, how do they locate, evaluate, select and use the information that is needed? 3) How can teaching the critical and information literacy skills that are needed to enable lifelong learning be more effectively transferred to college students? “
The newest progress report from PIL was published Nov 1 2010 and may be of interest to anyone who uses a real or digital library in 2010, as it describes findings from a large survey of undergraduate students from around the U.S., asking 22 standard questions about how they plan, execute and assess their research efforts for required course work.
It is 72 pages in length, and entitled “Truth Be Told: How College Students Evaluate and Use Information in the Digital Age“, available free and online for anyone to read. Following is an excerpt from the introduction:
“ … In this  report, we continue our investigation by asking how students evaluate information and use information once they have found it. What difficulties do students encounter with course-related and everyday life research from start to finish? We collected data to answer these questions by administering a student survey in the spring of 2010 to 112,844 undergraduates. Our findings are based on a collective sample of 8,353 students enrolled at 25 U.S. colleges and universities “.
I was interested to read these “background” questions that Dr. Head and Dr. Eisenberg wanted to learn more about:
Their work is of practical value to anyone who uses – or works in – an academic library.
Also see a video about Project Information Literacy on YouTube, at this link.
*My daughter told me to stop using Smiley Faces, but that “it’s OK because I don’t know any better”.