Every sound art collection contends with or presents various different themes: colonialism, modernity, history, feminism, activism, globalization, and so on, and focuses on a specific time, place or medium. They can be compared to notable examples within their respective field, in order to illustrate how each is distinctive from its peers. The process of collecting is determined in many ways by collection type, and the social and historical circumstances from which these particular collecting traditions emerged. While notable collections may often be perceived primarily as an expression of social and economic standing, the intensity and dedication with which distinctive collectors have built and researched their collections indicates that a motivation more complex than self-aggrandizement underlies the process. Collectors may be inspired by a variety of concerns that include aesthetics, historical interest, the thrill of the hunt, conservation, education, activism, or the desire to elevate social status. Whatever their personal concerns, notable collections are united by their ability to convey something larger than themselves, and articulate human experiences.