The Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries (ERIAL) Project aimed "to understand how students do research, and how relationships between students, teaching faculty and librarians shape that process": there was also a particular focus on use and conceptions of the library. The project has been "a collaborative effort of five Illinois universities: DePaul University, Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU), Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS)." The website is at http://www.erialproject.org/
The research approach was qualitative, including interviews, diaries, concept mapping and other data collection methods (see http://www.erialproject.org/project-details/methodology/)
Results are now being published:
- Some materials from conferences on the project website: http://www.erialproject.org/publications/presentations/
- A forthcoming book: Duke, L. and Asher, A. (2011) College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know. ALA Editions. ISBN 978-0-8389-1116-7
- An article highlightlighting key points from the book: Kolowich, S. (2011) What students don't know. Inside Higher Ed, 22 August.
They also developed:
- A Libguide for students
- Asher, A. and Miller, S. (2011) So You Want to Do Anthropology in Your Library? or a Practical Guide to Ethnographic Research in Academic Libraries. ERIAL Project.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Busy bee, August 2011