Information capture: a key element in information behaviour

Andrew K. Shenton (School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Publication date: 7 September 2010



The paper aims to highlight the role of information capture within the scope of information behaviour (IB), especially with regard to young people in academic contexts.


The examination is based on insights from the pertinent literature and the author's considerable experience of working with youngsters.


A range of forms of information capture can be identified. The process may take place at several points in the overall spectrum of IB and have various causes. Although information capture and note‐making are sometimes considered to be very similar and, on occasion, the terms are used virtually synonymously, there is strong evidence to suggest that they are actually quite separate and should not be confused.

Research limitations/implications

Work for the paper does not involve the undertaking of new, specially conducted research. Illumination is gained purely from the reading of source material and the author's reflection on his professional experience in schools.

Practical implications

After ascertaining the motivations behind capturing behaviour, it may be possible to identify deficiencies in students' skills, some of which may be remedied through teaching. Conversely, where capturing behaviour forms part of exemplary IB, educators may well consider instructing other students in the appropriate strategies.


The paper is unusual in covering an aspect of IB that is frequently overlooked in models. Although the article's principal readership is intended to be academics and information professionals, it should also be useful to teachers keen to learn more about how their students tackle assignments.



Shenton, A. (2010), "Information capture: a key element in information behaviour", Library Review, Vol. 59 No. 8, pp. 585-595.

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