Carol L Tilley‎ > ‎ | research

Below you'll find information about some of my areas of scholarly interest. If you're curious about my publications and presentations, check out my profile on

Children, Comics, and Print Culture
This project—supported in part by an Arnold O. Beckman Award from the University of Illinois' Campus Research Board—expands my existing investigation of comics from the perspective of readers, a much-neglected group in both contemporary and historical research. Comics readership among young people peaked in the mid-20th century with levels reaching near 100%, yet there has been little scholarly investigation of this phenomenon. My goal for this project is to complete a single-author monograph that will provide a coherent examination of the social and cultural role of comics in United States' children's print culture throughout the twentieth century.

CoBRA - Comic Book Readership Archive
My colleagues Kathryn La Barre, John Walsh, and I are working to build a digital archive of materials related to comic book readership and fandom, focusing initially on materials collected from Marvel Comics publications from 1961-1973. This digital scholarly portal will eventually allow scholars to learn more about comics readership more broadly via data gathered from fan mail, fan club publications, membership rolls, contest entries, fanzines, convention records, and more. Our initial work on CoBRA is supported by Indiana University's New Frontiers in the Arts & Humanities Program as well as from the Institute for Advanced Study at Indiana University.

Folktales, Facets, and FRBR
My colleague Kathryn La Barre and I are working to understand how three distinct user groups—scholars, practitioners, and lay people (including children)—seek out and use folktales and related resources. Our goal for this research is to create better access to these materials through the development of enhanced bibliographic records structures. The methods we are employing include cognitive task analysis via semi-structured and simulation interviews as well as facet analysis.

Bibliographic records for folktale resources frequently omit indicators of the rich, cultural heritage these items represent and provide only minimal access to their intellectual contents. Record enhancements may incorporate existing folktale classifications such as the Aarne-Thompson tale-type index and controlled vocabularies as well as current developments in cataloging practices and standards such as FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records).

An early phase of this research was funded by an OCLC / ALISE Research Grant award. We have presented results of this project at conferences including the iSchools' iConference, the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), the International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO), and the American Folklore Society. Although this project remains ongoing, you can download and read a preliminary report, which we deposited at IDEALS, or check out our 2012 article in JASIST (Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology).

School Librarianship: Literacy and Technologies
I have long-term interests in inquiry-based learning, information skills instruction, and critical literacy. Although my work in these areas is not based on original empirical research, I contribute understanding to the field of youth studies librarianship by synthesizing key empirical studies and advancing thoughtful arguments on topics such as texting, cognitive apprenticeship, and reading engagement. I have published numerous articles in School Library Monthly (formerly School Library Media Activities Monthly) and Knowledge Quest. Take a look at my advocacy article from 2011 in School Library Monthly, "The True Value of the Work We Do."