Shift registers are available in several flavors:
• Serial-in, Serial-out (SISO) units like 7491 have serial input and output.
• Serial-in, parallel-out (SIPO) units like 74164 have serial input, parallel output.
• Parallel-in, Serial-out (PISO) units like 74165 or 74166 (etc. – just search for shift register in a list of 7400 series integrated circuits or other series) have parallel input, serial output.
Other variations: The 7494, 7495, and 7499 have serial and parallel input, parallel output. The 7499 also has serial output. The 7494 and 7499 can shift right or left. (Most of the models listed earlier only shift one direction.)
Anyhow, by using an appropriate shift register, along with a bunch of resistors and diodes, it is possible to read lots of switches. As suggested in another answer, you might want to ask about how to do that.