We owe the continued survival of many, if not most, traditions present in England today to the activities of individual collectors. While many of these collections constitute the heart of various traditions, collecting is still an activity enjoyed by many associated with the folk scene across England. Private collecting necessarily requires the use of ‘field devices’ such as cameras, video cameras, sound recorders, etc. Some choose to use ubiquitous gadgets such as smartphones, while others opt for specialist, complex and expensive equipment. The possible reasons for making a private collection are numerous: it may be a hobby to photograph, or record a type of event or style of tradition; it may be to create a historical record for posterity; it may be for personal learning; it may be ‘something to do’ while family members participate; it may be a way of engaging for those unable to engage in other ways; it may be related to being a fan of a particular group or individual. The reasons for collecting anything are complex and heavily influenced by personal considerations. However, recent advances in technology – including the development of small digital handheld devices, and home digital storage and online platforms for sharing – have made private collecting an increasingly accessible option for any individual.