One characterization of the past hundred years of social science is that we have been steadily or endlessly (depending on your belief in progress) been dissolving the individual into the social. Maurice Halbwachs (1994) and Mary Douglas (1986) argued that the heretofore quintessentially individual act of remembering was always inextricably collective. Critical theorists and social scientists such as Jonathon Culler (1982) and Howard Becker (1982) have argued that great literature and art in turn are group productions. For educational theory, Vygotsky inter alia uncovered the irremediably social nature of learning. CSCW has as a field situated itself very comfortably within this collectivist movement – from the work of Twidale et al. (1995) a decade ago on the collaborative nature of browsing, through the articles in this special issue exploring social learning mediated by artifacts.