Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries

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

The research approach was qualitative, including interviews, diaries, concept mapping and other data collection methods (see

Results are now being published:

- Some materials from conferences on the project website:

- 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

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