The National Library of Finland plans and develops its operations in cooperation with its customers and key stakeholders.


Description ecosystem

We record description data related to our materials to make information retrieval possible. Description data is a part of the description ecosystem.

All parts of our description ecosystem will be renewed in the next few years:

  • the structure and grouping of description data
  • description operations partners
  • description tools

The renewal of the description ecosystem will also affect information retrieval.

New description targets

International standards determine what is selected as a description target at libraries. Like national libraries of many other countries, the National Library of Finland has taken into use the international RDA (Resource Description and Access) description standard, which steers towards describing universal targets, such as works, operators and places, and to link these description data together. This way description and information retrieval will become increasingly networked internationally.

International and national description repositories, such as national bibliographies, thesauri and registers, will be rearranged as a result of the change in description targets. Description data repositories are nodes in the description data network. As information retrieval becomes increasingly diverse, the role of the steering description data repositories will increase. They make information retrieval more comprehensive.

New cooperation partners

The rearranged description data repositories will also enable new partnerships in the production of description data. Alongside library and publisher cooperation, new description partnerships are being created with archives, museums and research in the description of operators related to the materials. Public administration as a whole, cooperates in the production of various thesauri. Our internationally most important cooperation partners are other national libraries, which are responsible for the description of publications and related operators in their countries.

In addition to the increased efficiency of description data production, cooperation aims at improving the quality of description data, which is reflected in the relevance of information retrieval.

Change in description tools

New cooperation methods will also bring about changes in description data production processes, which requires renewal if description tools. Integrability and modularity are required from information systems and description interfaces. During the work process, a person drawing up a description should be able to utilise information decentralised in various systems using a single work interface. In addition, cooperation partners will require work interfaces tailored for their own processes.

Current tools are not easy to integrate or modulate. Production tools corresponding to the new description needs are not yet available internationally.  In the future, one possible solution for developing these tools could be a development partnership between libraries, archives and museums.

National support during change

We will be renewing our description services during the next few years. It is our aim to increasingly highlight those national expert services, which promote the implementation of change in the description ecosystem in Finland. In order to consolidate cooperation, the operations of national description expert networks, such as  Description standard group  Kumea, will be activated further. Networked description data requires networked operations.

Digital humanities as co-operation

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The National Library of Finland participates in research projects and cooperates with international research infrastructures.

The National Library of Finland participates in research projects and cooperates with international research infrastructures.

The cooperation aims at improving the preconditions of cultural and social research, bringing our materials widely accessible to scholars and developing services required by research in interaction with the scholarly community.

Partnership projects engage in long-term development cooperation beneficial to all project parties.  Cooperation with research projects is diverse by nature: digitisation of materials for research use, precision acquisition of research materials, development of methods and tools as well as support in research material management and preservation.

Examples of ongoing and finished projects:

In the COMHIS project, digitised newspapers are studied with the help of, for example, text-mining and the quality of digitised materials is improved.

The duty of the Research Centre on Digital Information Management Digitalia  is to improve the usability of the materials and to promote the availability of information and its utilisation opportunities.

Digitisation projects born out of research needs include the Digitisation Project of Kindred Languages and its follow-up project Digitisation Project of Minority Languages as well as Classics Library and Fragmenta membranea.  

Open science as co-operation

Openness is the strategic goal of the National Library of Finland. The National Library of Finland especially promotes open access. We are an expert in open access issues, provide open publication archive platform services and promote open access, for example, by negotiating with publishers.

Open science refers to bringing scientific outcomes, in other words data and publications and, to a larger extent, scientific processes and communications freely available for everyone.

  • Open access refers to open availability of scientific publications. Instead of subscription fees, the publication business rationale may be based, for example, on fees paid by the contributors.  Open publication archives, which can publish a parallel version of material behind payment wall, improve the availability of materials subject to fees.
  • Open data is freely accessible data. The easy re-usability of data improves the impact of science and investments made in it.
  • Open scientific practices boost research and improve its quality. Researchers may, for example, receive feedback and criticism from other researchers already during the research.
  • Open science also usually entails utilisation of the open source code .

As an expert in metadata, the National Library of Finland develops description practices vital for research data management and dissemination.

The National Library of Finland uses open source code extensively in service provision and supports development communities.

Further information:

Transfer of digital cultural heritage as co-operation

The statutory duty of the National Library of Finland is to preserve the priceless national, published cultural heritage materials permanently. We materials available for research and other use, as well as distribute materials online as extensively as possible.

We promote digitising and, through it, the visibility, equal availability and usability of our unique collections.­

The key selection criteria related to materials to be digitised are the perspectives of the comprehensiveness, preservation, demand and content of the materials.

Digital collections promote, in particular, new kind of research, teaching, public use of materials and creative operations.

We plan and develop digitisation and services together with our customers and partners. For example, we cooperate with scholarly communities, other libraries, archives, museums, publishers and copyright organisations.

Our goals

We aim at improving the usability of materials, opening them up for use and developing research tools and methods.

In our cooperation agreements, we aim to ensure as extensive public use of digital materials as possible.

We integrate our services with expedient national and international infrastructures and services.

Moreover, we take into account in our digitisation activities:

  • That digitised materials are reliable and authentic.
  • Permanent and sustainable availability, searchability and usability of digitised materials.
  • Preservation of original materials by offering replacement recordings.
  • New digitised information products created during the digitisation process enabling the utilisation of the content of the materials in new ways.

More information: