Abstract Understanding the information accessing activities of engineering designers has been a topic of considerable interest both to industrialists and researchers alike in forming the basic requirements and specification for document management systems, engineering database management systems and information delivery systems. As part of this effort studies have been undertaken to establish how the designers themselves access and distribute this information. However, such studies have been specific to the host country in which the research was originated and comparisons with the wider design community across the world have not possible to establish or quantify. This paper will present the salient findings and observations of a global comparison between engineering designers working within the UK and USA. It is based on two questionnaire surveys, one undertaken in each of the two countries, where over 300 designers were questioned. Thus, it is anticipated that this paper would serve to enhance the management of information and the associated information delivery systems on a world-wide basis.