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 1.1 million cataloguing records. Approximately 30,000 new 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 Music Archive Finland.

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

ISBD, RDA (since 2016), MARC21, ISBN, ISMN, ISRC, SFS 4900 (in access points), ISO 9 (other description).

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 (September 2018):

126,512 music recordings of which 756,702 are individual tunes, 25,407 sheet music publications containing 112,797 individual tunes and 5,145 music manuscripts.


Information providers and library codes

The National Library of Finland, FI-NLD

Global Music Centre, FI-Gmc

Music Archive Finland, FI-Japa

Åbo Akademi, Sibelius museum, FI-Asm

In addition, the following information providers have before 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 and National Repository Library.

Service users
  • Organisations
  • Private individuals
  • Enterprises
Steering responsibility

The National Library of Finland has the steering responsibility.


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