The National Collection is a statutorily accrued and preserved archive repository of the national imprint. Printed matters, video and audio recordings intended for distribution in Finland received as legal deposit copies as well as Finnish online and e-materials are deposited in the collection.
The National Collection contains printed materials from the early-1800s to today. For the period preceding the legal deposit act of 1919, it must be the most complete archive collection of printed matters. In the late-1900s and 2000s, new kinds of materials have been taken into the sphere of legal deposit copy rights: video and audio recordings have been deposited in the National Collection since 1981 and online materials since the beginning of 2008 pursuant to a law that entered into force at that time.
In addition, the National Collection contains materials published abroad in Finnish, materials published by expatriate Finns abroad or materials related to Finland.
The National Collection provides researchers and other individuals interested in Finnish history, culture and society with source materials and information sources.
The significance of the National Collection to research and information retrieval is emphasised especially with regard to materials that are not preserved or acquired elsewhere . Hard to come by "grey literature" includes various non-commercial publications (such as reports, memoranda, seminar and meeting publications, technical specifications and recommendations, official publications, business publications and ephemera) as well as publications with limited circulation (such as author's editions and some scientific literature).