Let X be a set, κ be a cardinal number and let ℋ be a family of subsets of X which covers each x ∈ X at least κ-fold. What assumptions can ensure that ℋ can be decomposed into κ many disjoint subcovers?
We examine this problem under various assumptions on the set X and on the cover ℋ: among other situations, we consider covers of topological spaces by closed sets, interval covers of linearly ordered sets and covers of ℝⁿ by polyhedra and by arbitrary convex sets. We focus on problems with κ infinite. Besides numerous positive and negative results, many questions turn out to be independent of the usual axioms of set theory.