Unique and Distinctive Collections: Opportunities for Research Libraries

TitelUnique and Distinctive Collections: Opportunities for Research Libraries
AuteursPeach, Caroline, Mike Mertens, and Alison Cullingford
InstituutResearch Libraries UK

The unique and distinctive print and non-print heritage collections held by research libraries in the UK and Ireland are valuable resources with the potential to contribute to institutional goals for research, learning and public engagement. In recognition of this, Research Libraries UK (RLUK), the leading representative body for research libraries in the UK and Ireland, dedicated a strand of its 2011–14 strategic plan to exploring the ways in which libraries can maximise the potential and impact of unique
and distinctive collections (UDCs).
This report, an output of the UDC strategic strand, aims to inform a debate about UDCs and provide a roadmap towards achieving greater awareness of the potential of UDCs to support the objectives of research libraries and their parent organisations by:

Proposing a definition and means of identifying UDCs
Examining the ways in which UDCs can contribute to institutional mission
Exploring the challenges of developing and managing UDCs at a strategic level
Highlighting existing good practice and examples of innovative use of UDCs for re-use throughout the UDC community

This report brings together the work of the UDC strand to appraise the opportunities available to maximise the potential and impact of unique and distinctive collections. It includes findings from the OCLC/RLUK survey on special collections and archives in the UK and Ireland and the Hidden Collections (HC) reports, alongside a wider body of evidence from published literature, and the contributions of members of the UDC community.
The report and its recommendations are intended to be of use to library directors in research libraries, to UDC managers, and to RLUK as indications of directions for collaborative action. It is hoped that many of the recommendations will inspire members of the UDC community to contribute information and case studies to the forthcoming web resource, the UDC Hub, as part of a collective approach to maximising the potential of UDCs.

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  • 24-07-2015