“Where Paths Cross”: Designing for Collaborative Collections

Amelia Abreu, USA

Drawing on an approach that combines ethnographic design research and archival theory, this paper examines how collecting practice is rooted in online (and offline) social life, material collecting and social relations. Through examining two collaborative collecting practices in particular: style blogging and web archiving, we reveal how systems of collaboration, content production, curation and community ownership emerge through interactions between collections and the sociotechnical environment. This project builds on existing design research and extends its relevance to the question of collecting. It also contributes to conversations on labor by emphasizing the various work processes involved in collaborative collecting.  Collections and collecting serve as a means understand the ways that content production, labor and social relationships are shaped in interactive environments.