Alison Head


Alison J. Head, Ph.D. is 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. She is also a Fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a Fellow at The Library Innovation Lab at Harvard Law School, and an Affiliate Associate Professor at the University of Washington's Information School.

The ongoing PIL research study seeks to understand how U.S. college students conduct course-related and everyday life research and find and use information in the digital age. PIL is the largest scholarly research study (by sample size) about information literacy in the U.S. that has ever been undertaken. In 2012, PIL launched "The PIL Passage Studies," a unique series of studies about the challenges college students face as they transition from one complex information landscape to the next.

From 2008 through July 2012, PIL was directed by Alison (then a research scientist at the University of Washington's Information School) and Michael B. Eisenberg, the Dean Emeritus and a Professor at the University of Washington's Information School. Through the years, the study has been supported with contributing funds from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Gale/Cengage Learning, ProQuest, Cable in the Classroom, and Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Alison's academic areas of interest include information-seeking behaviors of early adults, information literacy and lifelong learning, Web adoption and diffusion, human-computer interaction, and usage of social media for collaborative learning. Alison is the author of two books about interface design and usability: Design Wise: A Guide for Evaluating the Interface Design of Information Resources (CyberAge Books, 1999) and On-the-Job Research: How Usable Are Corporate Research Intranets? (Special Libraries Association, 2002).

She has a Ph.D. in Information Science from U.C. Berkeley's Information School, a Masters in Journalism from Boston University, and studied Human-Computer Interaction at Stanford University, as a Visiting Scholar.

EDUCAUSE Publications