Service description

Fennica - the Finnish National Bibliography is a database dedicated to Finnish publication activities.

It contains information on books from 1488, newspapers form 1711, series, maps, audiovisuals and electronic materials.It also has advance information on forthcoming publications and on materials published outside of Finland that relate to Finland or are written by a Finnish author.The database also has information on small publications.

In addition, the Fennica database includes a list of new titles as well as a list of fiction and non-fiction missing from the National Collection.

The database in based on the materials provided pursuant to provisions in the Act on Collecting and Preserving Cultural Materials (Laki kulttuuriaineistojen tallettamisesta ja säilyttämisestä1433/2007) and it complies with international recommendations on national bibliographies.

The database grows annually by approximately 16,000 monograph and 700 continuing publication titles.The database comprises approximately 900,000 books and other monograph records (printed or electronic materials), approximately 73,000 continuing publications (journals or serial publications) and approximately 52,000 maps.

Fennica is also the collection catalogue of the National Collection.

References to Finnish printed sheet music and music recordings can be found in the Viola database and article references from the Arto database.

Joining the service
  • Free of charge

Fennica can be used free of charge.

Copy cataloguing is conducted using the Z39.50 and SRU interfaces, through which libraries will be able to select individual data records or small record sets. These interfaces will make bibliographic records available in both the traditional MARC file transfer format and the MARCXML format.

Utilising the interfaces requires prior knowledge of library systems, since they have not been developed for use by the general public. Unlike interfaces such as OAI-PMH, the copy cataloguing interfaces have not been developed for large-scale transferring of records either.

Standards used

ISBD, RDA (from 2016), MARC21, ISSN, ISBN, SFS 4900 (in search elements), ISO 9 (in other description)

Contact information
Service address
Kansalliskirjasto
Background information

Finland's first national bibliography, Finnish literature 1544–1877, was drawn up in the 1870s as a basis for collections of the National Library of Finland, and it was subsequently complemented to reach up to the 1900s.The work was edited by the Finnish Literature Society, which continued the publication of the national bibliography by editing the serial publication Finnish Literature between 1901 and 1938.The first bibliography of Finnish literature in Swedish, Katalog öfver den svenska litteraturen i Finland, covers the years 1886–1938. From 1939, the national bibliography has included all literature published in any language in Finland.

The automatised production of the national bibliography was started in 1978. Since then printed bibliographies and index cards have almost entirely been transferred to the Fennica database.   

The National Library of Finland gets the materials belonging to the national bibliography on the basis of the Act on Collecting and Preserving Cultural Materials (Laki kulttuuriaineistojen tallettamisesta ja säilyttämisestä1433/2007).The choice of materials to be described is made comprehensively on content-based reasons regardless of the record medium of the materials. 

National bibliography work complies with the guiding principles of the international umbrella organisation, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).

IFLA gives the content recommendations for national bibliographies, based on which it is the aim to present a varied and representative picture of national publication activities.Materials in the national bibliography are described in such a way that the bibliography can be used as a source of statistical and other research on Finnish publication production.

The aim is to keep descriptions harmonised by maintaining the uniform quality of the records.

The national bibliography provides the standard forms of bibliographic and content descriptions of the publications and personal and communal name forms occurring in the publications.

National bibliographical description level definition (in Finnish)

Description and description criteria of online materials (in Finnish)

Service users
  • Organisations
  • Enterprises
  • Private individuals
Steering responsibility

The National Library of Finland

Organisation model
  • Service is developed as part of basic operation of National Library
Index terms: 
Key words