Keeping print collections alive:
long tail management of print
library materials in Finland
Finnish library network
NRL - background: why established, governance
Development in 25 years
Impact for libraries
Success or not: digital era
polytechnic libraries (25)
University, polytechnic and public libraries are open for all citizens.
Universities get main part of their funding from the government and
they decide independently about the funding of libraries.
Polytechnic universities get funding from both the government and
Finnish library network
provision of electronic resources. Main actor in this is
the National Electronic Library (FinELib),
digital library development. The National Digital
Library – a project of the Ministry of Education and
print material availability and preservation. This is the
duty of the National Repository Library.
Centralised collection services for
Finnish academic libraries
The National Digital Library started in 2008 as a
project of the Ministry of Education and Culture. It
has intensified co-operation between libraries,
archives and museums. The National Digital Library
aims at better provision of digital resources and
developing long-term preservation of these
National Digital Library
Preservation of printed cultural heritage is guaranteed by
legal deposit system.
The Act on Deposit and Preservation of Cultural Material
(2007) covers Finnish cultural heritage in all formats.
The National Library has full legal deposit rights.
There are five other university libraries with limited rights.
The use of this material is possible only within these
The National Repository Library in an institution that
guarantees access to all materials in its collections to all
founded on March the 1st, 1989.
Collection space problems in university libraries
Zero growth collections
National Repository Library
The basic function of the NRL is to receive, store and offer
material for the use of other libraries. The NRL serves
university and special libraries as well as public libraries,
and acts as a connecting link in the library network.
The National Repository Library (NRL) is a resource shared
by all Finnish libraries and information service centres. The
NRL is the most economic way of storing library material.
Because of the NRL, the need for extra shelf space in
libraries throughout the country is decreased and can be
Aims and functions
The NRL’s activities are directed by a Board whose
members are appointed by the Ministry of Education
and Culture for three years at a time. The members
represent different library sectors. The Board was
established in order to develop interaction between
the NRL and other libraries in Finland. This is
important, since the library has no framework
organization of its own.
Monographs: 1,58 million items
Periodicals: 100 500 titles; 1,5 million volumes
Other: more than 500 000 dissertations
Biggest ILL services centre in Finland
In 2012 sixty per cent of the materials borrowed from
university libraries were delivered by NRL.
All Finnish university libraries as well as all municipal
libraries and almost all other public libraries are NRL’s
loans and electronic copies of articles are free of
Book scanners with colour
PDF files via e-mail. PDF files preserve all the formatting,
the graphics as well as the colours of the original
Electronic copies of articles will be delivered to the
customer within 24 hours of the request.
Use by library types
90 % to research libraries
43 % of all requests
Union catalogue of Academic Libraries: Melinda (Aleph)
Local catalogue for holdings information and control of
lending: Vaari (Voyager)
All databases free of charge
NRL helps them to control collection space and make
NRL preserves and keeps available important
research material (long tail) and acts as a national
interlending and document delivery centre,
NRL can be used as a tool for collection management
in an individual library.
NRL has three impacts for libraries.
Long tail, Chris Anderson
Avoidance of unnecessary duplication
Extending the range of material available
Cheap land / location
Cheap storage mathods
University libraries have transferred more than 81 000
shelf metres. Space savings in university libraries is
minimum 19 000 square metres. Because libraries can
also discard locally material that already is in the
repository, the space savings are much bigger
Total amount of transfers from libraries is 134 shelf
kilometres of books and periodicals
(Research libraries have books in open collections usually
4,33 shelf meters/square metres)
For unversity libraries: 19 000 square metres
Average annual rental costs: 205 euro/square metre
Theoretical savings: 3,9 million euros / year
Impact: savings in space
Library premises, m2 Closed stacks, m2
1990 2012 1990 2012
134 796 149 314 39 557 41 136
52 231 87 774 28 649 35 402
82 565 61 540 10 908 5 734
premises in university libraries
elements to ensure mutual interoperability between
libraries, better cooperation
joint library automation systems
the National Repository as the hub for the resource
sharing of printed materials
digitization projects (being especially implemented by
the National Library)
policy work in order to define the roles and
responsibilities of each of the libraries.
To the future
Two Finnish universities that have recently merged from
previous universities have invested in digital collections. Both of
them - Aalto University in Helsinki area and University of Eastern
Finland – are multi-campus universities that are building their
collections mainly on digital basis. Both of them have almost
completely outsourced their printed collections to the NRL.
Efficient outsourcing requires good database facilities so that
the libraries can easily find whatever they need.
It also requires efficient logistics that provides libraries with easy
access and fast delivery of requested material. This means digital
delivery whenever possible and fast postal services combined
with services free of charge.
Due to economic pressures the University of Eastern Finland
library had to get budget cuttings and reduce the costs of
premises at least 5 per cent.
As more and more of the needed publications are published
digitally the need to hold print collection locally was discussed.
The library decided to radically resize the Kuopio Campus Library
and its premises were reduced almost to the half of the size.
As a result there were new options to offer better premises for
the students. And in spite of leaving only a small printed
collection locally available, the number of loans remained almost
the same as before. At the same time the use of the digital
collection expanded constantly.
Structural development of universities
The teaching and research environment in Finland i
2020: university and polytechnic libraries in a digital
the Repository should prepare for increasing
transfers and develop its services to be fast and
Need to transfer materials to the NRL
by academic libraries
The NRL has been actively involved with international repository
library co-operation and in keeping up the discussion of the role
of print repositories in a digital era. A special institution is Kuopio
conference series, which has already four times collected
librarians from all over the world to discuss problems and views
around preservation and availability of print collections.
The Finnish model of keeping print material available in digital
time is a solution that has gradually developed from a storage
facility whose main aim was to make savings for academic
libraries in collection facilities. It is now an important part of
resource provision and as such a guarantee for the sustainability
of the digital copy
The National Repository Library of Finland, by Kari Paakkinen and Pentti
Vattulainen. Alexandria, vol 22, 2/3, 2012
The teaching and research environment in Finland i 2020:university and
polytechnic libraries in a digital service network, by Kristiina Hormia-
Poutanen et al. Library Management, vol 32, 8/9, 2011
Managing the life cycles of the document and collections in Finnish
Academic Libraries, by Ari Muhonen et al. Library Management, vol 31, 8/9,
From the centralized national collection policy towards a decentalized
collection management and resource sharing co-operation – Finnish
experiences by Ari Muhonen et al. Library Management, vol 35. 1/2, 2014
Even more information
Theme: Collection scenarios
The role of print in library service provision in the
What can we do? What should we do?
NRL participates also in