Alison Head is a Research Scientist in the Information School at the University of Washington and the Executive Director of Project Information Literacy (PIL), a public benefit nonprofit dedicated to conducting ongoing, large-scale research about college students and their research habits and strategies in the digital age. Since 2008, PIL has studied over 11,000 students on 60 U.S. campuses (including Harvard College). PIL has investigated how college students conduct research and find information for their coursework and for dealing with the demands of their everyday lives.
In 2012, PIL launched "The PIL Passage Studies," a series of in-depth investigations about young adults and the critical information transitions they experience in their lives. PIL's latest Passage Study report (2013) investigated the challenges today’s college freshmen face, and the information-seeking strategies they develop, use, and adapt as they make the critical information transition from high school to college.
PIL researchers are currently working on a large-scale study about lifelong learning, funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS). The study investigates how recent college graduates find, evaluate, and use information for lifelong learning once they leave campus, particularly in areas such as staying competitive in the workforce, engaging in civic affairs, and personal development.
In 2011, Alison began at the Berkman as a Fellow and a Fellow at the Harvard Library Innovation Lab. Alison earned her Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley in Information Science and was a Visiting Scholar, studying Human-Computer Interaction at Stanford University. During 1997 - 2007, she taught as the Roy Disney Visiting Professor in New Media at Saint Mary's College of California.