Shifting Gears: Gearing Up to Get into the Flow, Second Edition
by Ricky Erway and Jennifer Schaffner, with a foreword by Merrilee Proffitt
In 2007, directors, administrators and curators of special collections in libraries, archives and museums came together for a forum—Digitization Matters: Breaking Through the Barriers—to discuss how to advance digitization of primary sources, in light of efforts at the time toward mass digitization of books. The report Shifting Gears: Gearing Up to Get into the Flow reflected the ideas and discussion at the forum around the growing expectation that library materials (especially special collections) would be available online, the importance of prioritizing this work as an essential service of libraries and archives, and ideas for how to scale up the digitization of special collections.
Now, ten years after the first edition, that need and importance has only grown.
As Merrilee Proffitt writes in the foreword: "The special collections community has begun to grapple with the special challenges of 'born digital' collections. Unique and distinctive collections have been recognized as being an important part of a research library, perhaps the thing that will set libraries apart from one another in the future. … Amidst this change, we continue to seek how we can effectively digitize special collections and improve discovery and access, no matter the portal or platform. It is not only critical that our collections are made available on the internet, we must provide them frictionless passage to the environments that our communities seek them."
Shifting Gears is being republished on its tenth anniversary as OCLC Research and the OCLC Research Library Partnership reconsider their work agenda around unique and distinctive materials, and this report, along with additional work, will provide a framework for community action.