Service description

Viola is the Finnish national discography and the national bibliography of sheet music.The database contains references on Finnish sound recordings since 1901 and Finnish sheet music since 1977. Viola database contains information both about musical publications and single works and pieces.In all, Viola contains approximately 1,056,400 cataloguing records.Approximately 55,000 records are added each year to the database. 

In addition to the National Library of Finland, Viola contains references to the music collections of eleven other information providers, including international sound recordings and sheet music. Active information providers include the Global Music Centre and the Finnish Jazz & Pop Archive JAPA.

Joining the service
  • Free of charge

Viola 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


Contact information
Service address
Background information

The cataloguing of sound recordings at the National Library of Finland started in 1998.Information pertaining to older Finnish sound recordings is from the catalogues of the Finnish Institute of Recorded Sound (1901–1973), Yleisradio's Fono database (1974–1997) and the Musti database of the University of Jyväskylä (1983–1992).The information has been supplemented at the National Library of Finland.Part of the information related to the most recent recordings continues to be obtained from Yleisradio (2000–2008, 2011–).

Viola by numbers (March 2016):

123,828 music recordings of which 759,067 are individual tunes, 25,500 sheet music publications containing 100,243 individual tunes and 5,030 music manuscripts.


Information providers and library codes

The National Library of Finland, FI-NLD

Global Music Centre, FI-Gmc

The Finnish Jazz & Pop Archive, FI-Japa.


In addition, the following information providers have described their materials in VIOLA:

Helsinki University Library, Musicology

Jyväskylä University Library

University of Jyväskylä, Department of Music

Sibelius Academy

University of Tampere, Music Studies

Theatre Academy Library

Turku University of Applied Sciences Library

Turku University, Musicology

National Repository Library

Åbo Akademi University, Sibelius museum.

Service users
  • Organisations
  • Private individuals
  • Enterprises
Steering responsibility

The National Library of Finland has the steering responsibility.

The service is developed as a basic function of the National Library.

The National Library of Finland collaborates with Yleisradio in producing the national discography.

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