Collection policy

The aim of the library’s collection policy is to support the University of the Arts Helsinki in meeting its goals.

General information on the collection policy

Purpose and aim of the collection policy

The aim of the Uniarts Helsinki Library’s collection policy is to support the University of the Arts Helsinki (Uniarts Helsinki) in meeting its agreed-upon goals. The purpose of the policy is to describe which resources are selected and acquired to the Library and how the collections should be evaluated and developed. In this policy, the term ‘resources’ refers to all material, both printed collections and electronic resources, provided by the Library.

In its collection policy, the Library will take into account the priorities for education and research that have been stated in Uniarts Helsinki’s strategy.

Uniarts Helsinki’s mission

In accordance with its strategy, the primary mission of Uniarts Helsinki is to provide the highest level of education in the arts, to engage in research and artistic activity, and to make an impact on society. Uniarts Helsinki’s vision for 2025 is Art creates the future.

Uniarts Helsinki Library’s mission and library customers

The Uniarts Helsinki Library’s mission is to offer high-quality library and information services in order to support studying, teaching, research and artistic activities in accordance with Uniarts Helsinki’s strategic objectives. The Library fosters information on art and acts as the source of, and medium for, information and creativity. The Library is the living memory of Uniarts Helsinki’s operations, providing access to knowledge and art. The Library’s resources and services are easily accessible to everyone interested in Uniarts Helsinki’s fields of arts.

Uniarts Helsinki Library’s resources

The Uniarts Helsinki Library’s high-quality resources enable the top-level artistic work, studies, teaching and research that Uniarts Helsinki engages in. The aim of the development work is to provide nationally and internationally acclaimed resources that are both up-to-date and historically significant and that focus on the fields of arts offered at Uniarts Helsinki. The special characteristics of Uniarts Helsinki’s fields of arts (performing arts, fine arts and music) are taken into consideration in cataloguing and content description of the resources.

The Uniarts Helsinki Library’s resources serve not only Uniarts Helsinki, but the Finnish art sector in general, with the emphasis on performing arts, fine arts and music.

Evaluation of the resources

The resources are evaluated by monitoring statistics and economic development and by conducting customer surveys.

The Library’s resources are developed and evaluated regularly with the help of customer feedback and acquisition suggestions, and by following Uniarts Helsinki’s education, research and artistic activities. Historical continuity and the characteristic practices of using art material are taken into account when developing the Library’s collections.

The expertise of the library staff plays a central role when evaluating the Library’s resources especially in order to ensure the quality and historical continuity of the collections.

Collection policy guidelines

General principles for the development of the collections

The collections are developed regularly in support of Uniarts Helsinki’s education, research and artistic activities. When selecting the material, the Library will make use of the acquisition suggestions received from the library customers, as well as the expertise within Uniarts Helsinki, such as that of the teaching and research staff. The Library keeps up to date with the performance and publishing activities of different fields of arts. The Uniarts Helsinki Library’s collections are supported by resources and services of other cultural memory organisations.

The collections are developed systematically, all the while taking into account the Library’s financial resources. The total costs of the materials include the acquisition price and provision and maintenance costs, which vary between materials and which are considered when selecting materials.

Principles for selecting material

When acquiring new material, the objective is to treat all fields of arts equally and to take into consideration the teaching within the different fields of arts. The Library Units aim to avoid overlap in their resources.

The selection and availability of collections in the libraries of the neighbouring areas are taken into account when purchasing new material.

A large share of Uniarts Helsinki’s art-related material is in print. At the moment, approximately 70% of the Uniarts Helsinki Library’s acquisitions are printed material. Approximately 30% of the Library’s acquisitions are electronic material (databases, e-journals). The Library aims to increase the share of its electronic resources and digital collections. The Library finds it important that printed and electronic resources are developed as one unit.

When selecting the format (electronic, printed) of the new material, the Library will take into account the needs of teaching and research in the field of arts, in particular.


Uniarts Helsinki’s Language Policy (Finnish, English, Swedish) is taken into account when making new acquisitions. Material produced in other languages are acquired when deemed necessary.


In accordance with the university’s strategic guidelines, journals that are available online will be prioritised more and more when selecting new material and making acquisitions.


When purchasing printed books, the Library will take into consideration the special characteristics of book collections in different fields of arts, with the emphasis on the historical perspective on art.

Course material

Course material is acquired in support of instruction.

The phrase ‘course material’ can be understood in various ways at Uniarts Helsinki.

Course material in the field of music may refer to e.g. sheet music material (performance examinations).

Course material in the field of fine arts is mainly printed material, such as exhibition publications and artist monographs. Course material in the field of performing arts is mainly printed material.

Sheet music

Sheet music is essential material that enables and supports instruction and artistic activities. The standard repertoire forms the basis of the sheet music collection, but the Library will also take special note of new releases of sheet music and Finnish sheet music. The Library will analyse the development of sheet music distribution online and provide more digital alternatives along with printed sheet music in accordance with user demand.

Audio-visual material

The Library’s audio-visual resources include music recordings, artist documentaries, theatre, dance and films. The audio-visual material, available in different formats, can be borrowed or viewed in the Library’s facilities. Recordings and materials of moving image are also available via streaming through databases.

Recordings/audio material owned by Uniarts Helsinki have been digitised and stored in the institutional repository Taju. Image material produced at the Academy of Fine Arts is stored in the DIA Image Database. The format of the material should represent the best possible technical quality. The quality criteria for long-term storage is also taken into consideration.


A central and frequently used part of the collections are printed plays and handouts of plays. New acquisitions are added to the collections on a regular basis. The Library also provides access to Finnish and international play databases.

Special collections

The Uniarts Helsinki Library is in charge of storing and maintaining significant special collections in the field of arts (link to the special collections).


The Uniarts Helsinki Library is in charge of providing access to approved theses. The Library aims to increase availability so that as many theses as possible will be available online in the institutional repository Taju.

Unpublished theses can be read at the library if the author has not given the permission for open access publishing.

Open Access

The Uniarts Helsinki Library supports Open Access of material published by Uniarts Helsinki. Full-text materials produced at Uniarts Helsinki, such as dissertations, theses, artistic research, researchers’ articles, publication series and learning material, are stored in the institutional repository Taju. Open Access publications are an addition to the Library’s collections.

Donations and publication exchanges

Material added to the Uniarts Helsinki Library’s collections must be considered beneficial to the studying, teaching, research and artistic work done at the university. The Library accepts donated material that may either complement the existing collections or replace items that show signs of wear and tear. The donated material must be in good condition or historically valuable. Decisions on donations are made on a case-by-case basis. A Donation Form is signed on the donation. The material will become the Library’s possession, and the Library may use the material in whatever manner that it sees fit.

The Uniarts Helsinki Library also regularly exchanges publications with other libraries. At the moment, the exchange of publications is particularly frequent with libraries that operate in the field of fine arts.

Storage, removals and maintenance

The most central works in the field of arts are kept in the Uniarts Helsinki Library’s collections. Therefore, the Library’s material offers an in-depth perspective on art, representing a range of different eras from the past to the present.

Items are removed from the collections at the Library’s discretion after reviewing the qualities and use of the items based on the following criteria: the content of the publication is not connected to the Library’s study fields or other operations, outdated or incorrect content, item is used infrequently, or poor physical condition of the item. The aim is to replace the publications that have been removed from the collection with a more up-to-date edition or publication. Publications that are in poor condition but difficult to replace will be repaired, if possible. Removed items will be sent primarily to the National Repository Library, if the storage of the material is considered of national significance. If it’s not possible to send the material to the National Repository Library, the items may be sold at the Library’s stock sale or disposed of accordingly.

Use of collections

The printed material of the Uniarts Helsinki Library is available for loan and use at the library units.

Meta data are produced to meet the library customers’ information retrieval needs.

The availability and accessibility of the material at the Uniarts Helsinki Library are improved by developing the information systems both internally within the organisation and in collaboration with external partners.

The remote use of electronic resources acquired by the Library is available, in accordance with the licence, for Uniarts Helsinki’s students and staff by using the university username. Library customers who aren’t students or staff of Uniarts Helsinki may use the Library’s e-resources in the Library’s facilities.

Material selection and acquisitions

The Uniarts Helsinki Library’s material selection and acquisitions are determined within the library units due to the art field specific prioritisation. Special attention shall be paid to the most recent publications.


The owner of the Uniarts Helsinki Library’s collection policy is the library director.

The head of the library collections team is in charge of updating the collection policy. The collection policy shall be reviewed whenever necessary, but at least every two years.