Most libraries are not yet fully prepared to manage and provide access to these dynamic forms of knowledge. But clearly they are here, challenging our thinking and our technical capacity. Special Collections The second information type I would like to address as evoking a holistic framework is special collections. Most of our collections funding is devoted to licensing electronic publications, and most of those publications are academic journals. And most of what we buy is being bought by everyone. And this often extends far beyond ARL libraries. In Canada, the Canadian Research Knowledge Network collaborative acquires a similar selection for every institution of substantive size. State and provincial cooperatives extend access to core journals even further. Approval plans address most selection for undergraduate study in most fields, and they do it better and more economically than we can, and we all achieve similar results. Our archives and special collections remain our opportunity for playing a distinctive role in documenting culture, science, industry, government, and the human experience. Important changes in both curatorial practice and teaching and research interest have increased the educational value of these holdings, and digital technologies have provided a means to extend our impact worldwide. ARL has in recent time endorsed the value of this component of our collection, and there has been expressed interest in increased support within our institutions. This may not yet have happened frequently, in part because traditional managerial autonomy and distinctive practice has impeded the kind of synergies to which we would aspire. Special collections can become an increasingly central element of our libraries—but special collections must first become a central element of our libraries. A new alignment is necessary, incorporating special collections, staffing, and expertise into the common asset base of the library. First, mission alignment both with the broader library and with the university mandate as well is needed. Procedurally, unified discovery is essential. Regardless of the description methods or systems employed, we owe our users the capacity to find related materials within our holdings, whether published, unpublished, RLI 277 5 Rebalancing the Investment in Collections ( C O N T I N U E D ) DECEMBER 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC Special collections can become an increasingly central element of our libraries—but special collections must first become a central element of our libraries.