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From the RLUK Web Site:
This project aims to maximise the potential of unique and distinctive collections (UDCs) in RLUK libraries. Traditionally known as special collections, UDCs are common and prominent features of large research libraries and have helped define their identities and patterns of use. Such collections may consist of all types of documentary material: manuscripts and archives, books, pamphlets and periodicals, maps, graphic materials, sound and moving image material, as well as born-digital and digitised collections. Individual items may be unique or distinctive, but often these qualities derive from their gathering into larger collections or links to the history of the institution, region or research strengths.
See Also: RLUK Appoints a new Unique and Distinctive Collections Project Manager (September 16, 2011)