Collection Thinking is a volume of essays that thinks across and beyond critical frameworks from library, archival, and museum studies to understand the meaning of "collection" as an entity and as an act. It offers new models for understanding how collections have been imagined and defined, assembled, created, and used as cultural phenomena.

Featuring over 70 illustrations and 21 original chapters that explore cases from a wide range of fields, including library and archival studies, literary studies, art history, media studies, sound studies, folklore studies, game studies, and education, Collection Thinking builds on the important scholarly works produced on the topic of the archive over the past two decades and contributes to ongoing debates on the historical status of memory institutions. The volume illustrates how the concept of "collection" bridges these institutional and structural categories, and generates discussions of cultural activities involving artifactual arrangement, preservation, curation, and circulation in both the private and the public spheres. Edited and introduced collaboratively by three senior scholars with expertise in the fields of literature, art history, archives, and museums, Collection Thinking is designed to stimulate interdisciplinary reflection and conversation.

This book will be of interest to scholars and practitioners interested in how we organize materials for research across disciplines of the humanities and social sciences. With case studies that range from collecting Barbie dolls to medieval embroideries, and with contributions from practitioners on record collecting, the creation of sub-culture archives, and collection as artistic practice, this volume will appeal to anyone who has ever wondered about why and how collections are made.

chapter |24 pages


Collection Thinking

part 1|101 pages


chapter 1|8 pages


chapter 2|15 pages

Incautious Stewardship of Library Collections

Creating Collections Where They Don't Exist, Losing Collections Where They Do

chapter 3|11 pages

Indexing Intimacies

The Affective Collections of André Breton and Samuel M. Steward

chapter 5|16 pages

Edible Enigmas

Food Riddles and Enigmatical Bills of Fare 1

chapter 6|28 pages

A Variantology of Research Collections

The Residual Media Depot

chapter 7|7 pages

Situationist Stuff

Collection as Explanatory Accumulation

part 2|88 pages


chapter 8|8 pages


chapter 9|17 pages

Audible Collections

What Remains of Voices on the Radio

chapter 10|16 pages

Collection as Biography

The Pierre and Annie Cantin Collection

chapter 11|11 pages

“The Relics … What Are They?”

Locating Florence Nightingale in Her Childhood Library

chapter 12|15 pages

Creating, Collecting, and Curating

Mothers Pass Down Barbie Traditions

chapter 13|12 pages

Collecting Copies

The Fabiola Project by Francis Alÿs

chapter 14|7 pages

Audio Aficionados

The School of Collecting Very Old Sound Recordings

part 3|112 pages


chapter 15|9 pages


chapter 16|15 pages

Made to Move

Convent Embroidery Collections and Communities of Care

chapter 17|16 pages

Collect Them All (Again)

Digital Collection as Nostalgic Incentive in Fire Emblem Heroes

chapter 18|17 pages

Off the Grid

Exploring the Human Networks in Underground Art Making and Collection Building

chapter 19|18 pages

Finding Fireweed

Magazine Metadata as Archive of Feminist Movement

chapter 20|14 pages

The People and the Text

An Inclusive Collection

chapter 21|4 pages


Revisiting Raging Dyke Network