Progress Report

Society/Corporate:Helsinki University Library - The National Library of Finland
Name:Hakala, Juha
Phone:+3589 191 44293
Fax:+3589 753 9514

Mission Statement

Helsinki University Library is the National Library of Finland, its task being to serve as the national service and development unit and to be responsible for promoting library co-operation within the country and internationally. In its own field the library has responsibility for the maintenance of the collections of the cultural heritage of Finland and of other collections of national relevance as well as the dissemination of information and the provision of information services based on these collections.

Computer Networks and Connectivity

a.In General HW, SW:

FUNET network is used for data communication between universities, polytechnics and other research institutions. See for more information.

International connections are based on NORDUNET network. Connections to public & school libraries utilise diverse domestic Internet providers.
b.New HW, SW; connectivity upgrades:
The capacity of the FUNET & NORDUNET networks is frequently updated in order to meet the needs of increasing traffic.

Library Automation

a.In General HW, SW:
The Digital Library of Finland (the "Triangle") consists of three modules, which are all in production starting April 2006: ILS (Voyager), the Portal software (MetaLib) for accessing remote and local databases and other electronic resources such as serials, and the Digital Object Management System (ENCompass). The goal is that these three applications will communicate and work seamlessly together, as well as with other applications, via API's and using open standards. To facilitate this, a set of helper applications has been developed and/or implemented. These include YAZ Proxy to improve Z39.50 server functionality, BookWhere Z39.50 client to maximize the efficiency of copy cataloguing, and USEMARCON for format & character set conversions. Due to these supporting tools, the triangle works relatively well, but there is still a lot of room for development, especially in application interoperability and also in workflow design.

Voyager is in use in all university and polytechnic libraries and in some special libraries. There are altogether almost 60 Voyager databases, 29 for the Linnea Consortium (Universities and some special libraries) and 28 for the AMKIT Consortium (Polytechnics). Linnea share a Sun E10000 and V880 servers and AMKIT a Sun Fire48000 server, all of them outsourced to CSC, Center for Scientific Computing. There is also a cluster of 8 V240 servers, used as a Web front end with two Alteon switches.

MetaLib licences cover all universities, polytechnics and public libraries. There is just one instance of the software installed on Sun 4800 server. Usage of this national portal has grown rapidly during year 2005. An interesting feature is emergence of regional union catalogues, where all kinds of libraries participate, over the traditional sectoral barriers.

By April 2006, ENCompass is used by five universities and four polytechnics. Nine collections, including collected papers of former president Urho Kekkonen, are in production and five others under preparation. ENCompass runs on Sun V880 server, hosted by CSC.

In all, these applications  have thousands of simultaneous users during the peak periods, most of them utilizing the library system, but the popularity of other applications is growing as well.
b.New HW, SW; others:
Voyager upgrade (to Unicode release) made the application much heavier load to the server. Therefore it was necessary to install a new V880 server for one of the five domains in Sun E10K.

The present hardware environment is rather complex (five application servers, 10 other servers, five different disk subsystems). Late 2005 Linnea2 consortium launched a project which aims at modernisation of the Sun E10K server, but this initiative will also investigate the possibility of consolidating the present servers, and ways of increasing the usage of the hardware acquired by our host, CSC. For instance, library servers could use back-up tools and disk subsystems acquired and owned by CSC.

CSC has been hosting the library servers since 2001. Our experiences from this are very positive. Outsourcing server maintenance seems to be a good choice, provided that one has a trusted partner. In our case, libraries are now able to concentrate on applications (which is complex enough in our present environment) and leave UNIX expertise to others.

Union Catalog

a.Software used:
Linda, the Union Catalogue of Finnish University Libraries, is using Voyager Universal Catalogue software. The other union catalogues, Manda (Union Catalogue of Finnish Public Libraries) and Viola (Union Catalogue of Finnish Music) use the general Voyager software.
b.New features:
In order to facilitate Z39.50- and SRU/SRW-based copy cataloguing from Linda, YAZ Proxy has been implemented on top of the database's Z39.50 server to add new functionality to the service and improve its efficiency and reliability. In co-operation with Index Data, new functionality has been added to the proxy.

Digital Library

a.Based on your production of digital documents::
The Finnish Historical Newspaper Library 1771-1890 is available in the Web for free (see In 2007 the Newspaper Library will contain 165 titles and approximately 900 000 pages. About 130.000 digitized pages of ephemera dating from 19th and early 20th century from the legal deposit collection were made available for free in 2005.

The Elektra database contains more than 11 000 full-text articles from circa 30 Finnish scientific journals. (see This service is not free.

Helsinki University Library maintains E-thesis (, the service via which the dissertations of Helsinki University are available for free.

Urho Kekkonen's collection contains in full text and as references the 4682 published texts of the former president. Writings of Urho Kekkonen and seven other ENCompass collections are available at
b.If so, what is new in your digitalization programmes:
Large scale digitisation of music is starting in 2006-2007. Initially the work will concentrate on c-cassettes from 1970s and 1980s.

Microfilming and  conservation centre has recently completed a new system and work flow for digitization and post-processing of serials. This process relies on the one hand on off-the-shelf applications, and on the other hand applications and best practices developed by or for us. The end result of the process is data in METS XML format.

New in-house Databases

About 130.000 digitized pages of ephemera dating from 19th and early 20th century from the legal deposit collection were made available for free in 2005.

Electronic document delivery

The Linnea2 consortium (consisting of university libraries and some special libraries) decided in March 2006 to launch an ILL & EDD implementation project.

Research and Tehnology Development Products

Helsinki University Library and Index Data recently launched a project which aims at developing a tool for harvesting service descriptions from databases available via the Internet. Semantics and syntax of these descriptions will be based on NISO Z39.92 draft standard.


Helsinki University Library is actively involved with international standardization efforts, including ISO, NISO and Dublin Core Metadata Initiative.