Description of the service and instructions


Description of the service and instructions

The National Library of Finland has a shared duty with the publishing industry to jointly preserve all Finnish publications for academic and public access. This preservation applies to printed materials, sound and other recordings as well as digital publications and other online material. The work is based on the Act on Collecting and Preserving Cultural Materials, 1433/2007 (available in Finnish and Swedish). 

The goal is to preserve Finnish publications and to ensure their present and future availability for researchers and the public. Legal deposit collections furthermore preserve materials which would otherwise become quickly unavailable or that other libraries do not collect. 

Materials are described in the national bibliography Fennica and in the national discography Viola, as applicable. Both can be accessed through the National Library’s search service. Preserved materials are available to the public at the National Library and other legal deposit libraries. The distribution of legal deposit collections across Finland supports regional equality. 

Annual statistics of Finnish printed publications and recordings are based on the number of legal deposit copies received. 

You can read the brochure of the Legal Deposit Office on Doria

Books, magazines, serial publications, sheet music and maps are distributed to the collections of all legal deposit libraries. Newspapers as well as sound and other recordings are stored only at the National Library. Ephemera are stored at the National Library and the Turku University Library. 

Online materials archived by the National Audiovisual Institute (KAVI) can be accessed on the legal deposit workstations at all legal deposit libraries, the Library of Parliament or the National Audiovisual Institute. 


  • the manufacturer, if the publication or recording is manufactured in Finland 
  • the publisher, if the publication or recording is manufactured abroad but intended for distribution in Finland. 
  • the importer, if the publisher has no office in Finland 
  • for online materials, the online publisher must provide the legal deposit copies. Distributors, online bookstores and online music stores are also considered online publishers. 

Frequency of submissions

Legal deposit copies of material manufactured in Finland must be submitted to the National Library quarterly in January, April, July and October. Material manufactured abroad must be submitted within 30 days of the import date of the material. When necessary, different deposit schedules can be negotiated. 

Online material must be deposited within 60 days of the National Library having notified the online publisher of the legal deposit requirement. If the request pertains to online content which has not yet been published, the 60-day period begins from the publication date. A regular submission schedule may be agreed separately (e.g., annual, semiannual or quarterly). 

Packing lists

According to the Act on Collecting and Preserving Cultural Material (1433/2007), a packing list in duplicate must be attached to each delivery. One copy will remain at the National Library and the other will be returned to the sender with a note of successful delivery. The list must include the standard identification numbers, quantity and intended deposit period of the submitted printed materials and recordings. 

Packing lists can be found on the Forms page.

Please note

  • The depositor is responsible for all costs, including shipping. 
  • The National Library can, upon application from the depositor, grant exceptions to the deposit requirements regarding the number of copies deposited, for example, if the print run is exceptionally small. 
  • All printed material and recordings must be provided complete and in the form in which they are distributed. 
  • Large posters and maps must be delivered within or rolled around a protective tube. 
  • All legal deposit copies must indicate the year of production. 
  • If the publication is deemed confidential according to the Act on the Openness of Government Activities 621/1999 (available in Finnish and Swedish) or other legislation, this must be indicated in the delivery. Public access to confidential material is restricted according to the Act. 
  • If the obligation to submit legal deposit copies is neglected, the liable party may be subject to a conditional fine to enforce compliance with the legal deposit responsibility (Act on Collecting and Preserving Cultural Materials 1433/2007, section 27). 

Number of deposit copies

Number of legal deposit copies to be submitted by material type

Six copies:
Customer magazines
Staff magazines
Free newspapers (see also newspapers, below)
Member magazines
Publication series
Conference publications (with articles)
Nautical charts
Sheet music
Exhibition publications (with articles)
Updatable loose leaf publications
Family associations’ newsletters
Statistical publications

Two copies:
Price lists
Announcement papers
Lists of publications
Plans (e.g., town and provincial plans)
Conference programmes
Municipal reports
Instructions and user guides
Board games
Tabloid headline posters
Advertising papers
Programmes (e.g., for theatre performances, exhibitions, or sports competitions)
Guides (e.g., user, staff, study, and service guides)
Games (e.g., board, card, and role playing games)
Telephone directories
Activity books
Crossword puzzle publications
Sudoku publications
Brief statistics publications
Financial statements
Annual reports
Action plans
Collective agreements
Election advertisements
Insurance terms
Financial reports
Colouring books

One copy:
Video games
Sound recordings (music and speech)
CD and DVD-ROM recordings

Publications exempt from legal deposit:
Prints on fabric or objects
Invitations to family celebrations (e.g., wedding, funeral, and birthday invitations)
Business cards
Wrapping papers and packing materials
Reprints that are identical to a previous edition
Graphic arts originals
Printed publications and recordings intended exclusively for distribution abroad