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      Cueing Digital Memory: How and Why do Digital Notes Help Us Remember?


      People and Computers XXII Culture, Creativity, Interaction (HCI)

      Computers XXII Culture, Creativity, Interaction

      1 - 5 September 2008

      Memory, Prosthetic memory, Digital memory, Notes, Handwritten n otes, Remembering

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          People are aware of the fact that their memories are fallible. As a result, they spend significant amounts of time preparing for subsequent memory challenges, e.g. by leaving themselves reminders. Recent findings suggest, however, that people's ability to prepare for subsequent retrieval may not always be effective. This paper looks at the efficacy of memory strategies in the context of digital and paper-based note-taking. Prior research has claimed that (a) notes may not always be useful in promoting later retrieval; (b) taking notes may distract people from effectively processing important information. We examined pen and paper note-taking as well as a new generation digital note-taking device ChittyChatty, finding that notes help memory in two ways. First they provide cues that help people retrieve information that they might otherwise forget. Second the act of taking notes helps people to better focus on incoming information even if they never later consult these notes. Finally we found differences between different note-taking strategies. People who take high quality notes remember better than those who focus on exhaustive documentation; taking large volumes of notes decreases the efficiency of retrieval - possibly because it is more time consuming to scan extensive notes to find relevant retrieval cues.

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          Author and article information

          September 2008
          September 2008
          : 153-161
          The University of Sheffield

          Recent Court, 211 Portobello Street

          Sheffield S1 4DP, UK

          +44 (0)114 222 2666
          © Vaiva Kalnikaité et al. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. People and Computers XXII Culture, Creativity, Interaction

          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit

          People and Computers XXII Culture, Creativity, Interaction
          Conference Liverpool John Moores University, UK.
          1 - 5 September 2008
          Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
          Computers XXII Culture, Creativity, Interaction
          Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
          Self URI (journal page):
          Electronic Workshops in Computing


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