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I just found a wonderful keyboard shortcut. Press Ctrl+Shift+PrtScr and the mouse cursor will turn into a cross which allows you to mark a rectangle of the screen (by left click-hold, drag, release -- you will see a visual rectangle) and it will save that part of the screen into the copy&paste buffer.

Now, while that is very useful, I can't seem to figure out which program is responsible for this feature. My question is: how do I find which mechanism (software) is catching my keystroke?

I am running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

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Here are two interesting resources for your answer : Configure custom keyboard shortcuts on Ubuntu and Assign Custom Shortcut Keys on Ubuntu Linux

I wonder why you haven't googled it for this question! However, hope this helps and best of luck. Please report here if you find it not useful (better is voting down) or vice versa.

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I did google it but it didn't turn up anything useful. I don't know if you misunderstood my question, or if I misunderstand you. I am not trying to assign a keyboard shortcut. I am trying to figure out which mechanism (software) is catching a specific keystroke. In this case Ctrl+Alt+PrtScr in a pretty standard Ubuntu/Unity setup. –  holmb Sep 5 '13 at 17:56
    
Please go through the second link to understand properly. Metacity is probably your answer. –  Subhadeep Sep 5 '13 at 17:58
    
In the global_keybindings section for Metacity I find that PrtScr maps to run_command_screenshot and Alt+PrtScr maps to run_command_window_screenshot, and those commands can be found to use the gnome-screenshot utility within the keybinding_commands section. This, unfortunately, does not answer my question. –  holmb Sep 5 '13 at 19:11
    
In my Google search before posting this question I did find, among other non-solutions, help.ubuntu.com/community/KeyboardShortcuts. I am familiar with the PrtScr and Alt+PrtScr shortcuts from before. –  holmb Sep 5 '13 at 19:14
    
Err, in my first comment to your answer I accidentally wrote "Ctrl+Alt+ṔrtScr", it should say "Ctrl+Shift+PrtScr" as in the question. Just so there is no confusion on which key-combo I am talking about here. :) –  holmb Sep 5 '13 at 19:35
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