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Using screen capture to study user research behavior

Bonnie Imler (Penn State Altoona, Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA)
Michelle Eichelberger (Genesee Community College, Batavia, New York, USA)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 6 September 2011




The purpose of this paper is to report on how researchers at Penn State University used video screen capture technology to learn more about student usage of the library's databases.


The process of identifying and implementing a novel way to capture and analyze the human‐computer interaction is outlined and discussed.


Because of the drawbacks associated with both formal, direct physical observation of research participants and videotaping participants, video screen capture technology is chosen as a better way to track human‐computer interaction.

Practical implications

Video screen capture technology is an inexpensive, user‐friendly way to enhance electronic resource usability studies in any library. Research files can be easily exported into coding software for data analysis.


The paper examines a new, non‐invasive way to capture student research behavior. It shows how any library could use this same technology to conduct research on how their resources are being used by their user population.



Imler, B. and Eichelberger, M. (2011), "Using screen capture to study user research behavior", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 446-454.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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