Getting started

As the default, the basic search searches all resources. Search results from local collections and international databases of electronic material are displayed in separate tabs.

The search covers all resources in the National Library’s scientific collections, the National Collection and the collection of the music library as well as data on Finnish articles and electronic resources.

With the basic search and advanced search, you will find printed and electronic books, printed and electronic journals, articles from electronic journals, links to databases, sound recordings, printed music, manuscripts as well as other catalogued resources.

First, limit your search, for example, by selecting Books or Journals from the drop-down menu. There are other possible restrictions, such as language. This will refine your search results. It is also possible to limit your search results after the search.

As you begin to type the title of a book or journal, the system will try to predict your term by offering options (autocomplete) which may feature your search term.

If the system does not offer the title you want, either type in the full title or use an asterisk * for a partial word search. Quotation marks around a title (e.g., “forest researcher”) typically generate a more precise search result.

If search words are separated by spaces, the search results are the same as when using the AND operator, i.e., the search results contain all the search words you have entered. For example, Alasuutari Watson will return the same results as the phrase “Alasuutari AND Watson”.

From the search results, you may click on the title to enter the page of the book or journal. Location and availability as well as the reservation status are at the bottom of the page.

Basic search

Partial word search

You may cut the search term at the end with an asterisk: *. The searches

introduction to soci*

will retrieve the forms: “test”, “tests” and “tester”.

An * in the middle of a search term indicates one or more characters:


will retrieve the forms behavior and behaviour.

The search term cannot be cut at its beginning.

Phrase search

If you only want results with a specific word or phrase, type the word or phrase within quotation marks “ ” (phrase search):

”medieval cultural history”
 ”University of Helsinki”

Typing a single search term within quotation marks, for example,


only retrieves results with the word history, not results with the word historical.

Search by title

Type the beginning of the title into the search form:


OR use an asterisk:


Using quotation marks makes the search more specific:

"Muumilaakson tarinoita"

You can narrow the search results with the Narrow Search filters in the right-hand sidebar.

Search by author

Type the author’s name into the search form:

Last name First name


First name Last name

If you want to restrict your search results to only works by a specific author, write the author’s name in quotation marks:

”Last name First Name”

In Advanced Search, you can focus your search on the Author field. This search also uses the same format:

”Last name First name”

You may also search with an organisation name:

”University of Helsinki”  


”Red Cross”

You can narrow the search results with the Narrow Search filters in the right-hand sidebar.

Search by topic

Type words which are relevant to your topic into the search field. You can use the Finnish ontology service Finto to find keywords.

If you want to search with an exact term, write the word inside quotation marks. For example,


will only retrieve results which feature the word “care”, not “careful” or “childcare”.

You can also search for a person or an organisation:



”Red Cross”

ISBN/ISSN search

To search for a book by its ISBN, type in its identifier with or without dashes:




Search for a journal or serial publication with its ISSN:




You can narrow the search results with the Narrow Search filters in the right-hand sidebar.

Connecting search terms

Words typed into the search field will be interpreted as being connected with the AND search operator. If you wish to employ other search operators, the operator (e.g., OR, NOT) must be typed between the search terms in UPPERCASE. If you use two or more operators in a search phrase, distinguish search terms defined by different operators with parentheses ( ).

For example:

surrealism NOT (sculpture OR painting)

You can also select Boolean operators from a drop-down menu under Advanced Search.


If you use the AND operator, the search will retrieve records which feature all terms in the search field. For example:

Alasuutari AND Watson

The OR operator expands your search results to include all records/references which feature at least one of your search terms. For example, if you are looking for non-fictional literature on specific people, you could search for

memoir* OR biograph*

or if you are investigating the Crimean War,

 “Crimean War” OR “Oolannin sota” OR “Charge of the light brigade”

The NOT operator excludes those records from the search results that include the term following the operator. For example, if you are looking for information on surrealism but are not interested in references discussing it in art or sculpture:

surrealism NOT (sculpture OR painting)

The NOT operator cannot be used in single-term queries. For example, the following query will produce no search results:

NOT surrealism

Narrowing the search results

Use the Narrow Search menu to refine the search results by format (book, recording, etc.), collection (National Library, Helka libraries), year of publication or language. You may use several criteria to narrow your search. The search delimiters yielding the most search results are displayed at the top of the menu.

Advanced search

Search fields

The Advanced Search page has several fields in which you can enter search terms and phrases, and use various search operators. You can also select Boolean operators from a drop-down menu.

Adjacent to each search field is a drop-down menu, from which you can select the field of the relevant record (title, author, etc.). If necessary, you can target each term of your search to a different field.

The Match menu

The Match menu defines how to handle a query with several search fields:

  • With all of these (AND) — Retrieves records that match the content of all search fields.
  • With any of these (OR) — Retrieves records that match the content of one or more search fields.
  • With none of these (NOT) — Retrieves records which do not feature the content of any of the search fields.

Click on Add Search Field to add as many search fields to the form as you require.

Search groups

Search groups are needed for queries which cannot be answered with a combination of search fields. For example, if you are looking for Indian or Chinese history, connecting the terms "India", "China" and "history" using "With all of these (AND)" leads exclusively to results discussing both India and China. If you select “With any of these (OR)”, your search will retrieve all resources which discuss China, India or history in general.

With search groups, you can group search fields together and create more nuanced searches. The “Add search group” link adds a new group of search fields, and “Remove search group” removes a group. To define the relationships between search groups, use the “ALL Groups (AND)” and “ANY Groups (OR)” search operators. The above example concerning the history of India or China can be implemented with search groups as follows:

  • Add the terms “India” and “China” to the search fields of the first search group, and define the relationship between the search fields by selecting “With any of these (OR)” from the Match drop-down menu.
  • Create a new search group and add the term “history” to its search field.
  • Define the relationship between search groups as “ALL Groups (AND)”.

The search fields can be combined by search group using Boolean operators (beneath the search groups).

Searching international e-materials

This search is similar to the basic search, except that

  • the search cannot be narrowed by collection, and
  • the volume of search results can be great. You can narrow the search results with the Narrow Search filters in the right-hand sidebar. You can also sort your search results according to various criteria with the Sort menu.

To navigate to the basic search from the e-material search, click on the home icon.

Some databases cannot be accessed through Finna, and any searches concerning their content must be made in the databases’ own interface. Exact, discipline-specific searches should be made through the interfaces of the databases.

To find a specific database:

  1. If you know the title of the database, type it into the basic search field (e.g., Acta Sanctorum or “Acta Sanctorum”), and narrow the search format to Database.
  2. If you do not know the title of the database, you can search for a list of databases containing entries related to a specific discipline by typing the name of the discipline (e.g., archaeology) in the basic search field and narrowing the search to Databases.
  3. Alphabetical list of databases

Accounts and registration

Registered users can save searches, comment on content and reserve material with their library cards.

Logging in to search service

You can log in by clicking on Login at the top of the page and choosing one of the following three options:

  • All users can create a Mozilla Persona account. You can link your own library card to your account.
  • Students and staff of Finnish institutions of higher education can use the institutional login. You can add your National Library library card (Helka card) to the service after logging in.
  • Library card

Account functions:


You can add records to your favourites using the pin-shaped button on the search results page or the record page. You can sort selected records into lists of favourites, export records to Refworks, email records or print them in MARC format.

Saved searches, search history and new entries alert

You can save your most recent searches either on the search results page or by selecting Save for the most recent searches under your saved searches. Saved searches appear at the top.

You can use the new entries alert to receive emails about new records either weekly or daily.


You can view information about your loans and renew loans.

Reservations and requests

Browse your reservations and requests with your library card. You can also cancel your reservations.

You can lock your reservation temporarily. This ensures that you don't have to pick up the reservation eg. during your holiday.


See the fees accrued on your library card, e.g., late fees or fees for forfeited reservations. See Helka fees.

Library cards and adding your library card

Use the Add link to add your library card.

My information

You can change your email address and set reminders for expiration dates.

Contact your library to change your contact information.

Changing your PIN code or password

You can change your password or PIN code under My information.

Cyrillic characters

How to search for Cyrillic characters

Material written in a Cyrillic alphabet is entered into the database using Cyrillic characters. The entries retain the old orthography and grammar.

With Cyrillic search, you can use contemporary Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Macedonian, Bulgarian and Serbian characters which are supported by Windows.

In a Cyrillic search term, an individual character may be replaced with two per cent signs (%%).

For the most extensive search results, use a transliterated search.

Search using transliteration

The search is conducted using a regular keyboard with a Latin alphabet. One Cyrillic character corresponds to one Latin character. The transliteration complies with the ISO 9 standard, but diacritical marks are not necessary.

Deviations from national transliterations:

е = e Ельцин = El'cin
ж = z жизнь = zizn'
з = z Заварзин = Zavarzin
й = j Толстой = Tolstoj
х = h Хармс = Harms
ц = c Цветаева = Cvetaeva
ч = c Чехов = Cehov
ш = s Шолохов = Solohov
щ = s Щедрин = Sedrin
ъ = " объект = ob ekt (haussa " on korvattava välilyönnillä!)
ы = y Лыков = Lykov
ь = ' Гоголь = Gogol' tai Gogol
ю = u юность = unost' tai unost
я =a Яков = Akov
њ = n Његош = Negos
љ = l љубав = lubav
ђ = d Ђинђић = Dindic
ћ = c ћуприја = cuprija
џ = d Караџић = Karadic
Ѣ = e мѢра = mera
Ѳ = f Ѳетъ = Fet"
ѵ = i Сѵнодъ = Sinod"


You can send feedback via email to the customer service of the National Library or use the general feedback form to give feedback on the user interface or technical issues.

If you have feedback on the content or on metadata relating to material in the service, click on Send Feedback on the page of the relevant record. This way the feedback will be sent to the correct person.