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About Helka


Helka is Helka-libraries' shared collection and circulation service.

The Helka catalogue includes collections of Helsinki University Library, Institute for the Languages of Finland, The Finnish Heritage Agency Library, Finnish Literature Society, Library of the Labour Movement and Baltia-kirjasto.

National library's collections are searchable through National library's web site: National Library

Libraries' websites and contact information:

Helka libraries

Helka has roughly 2 million references from printed and electronic publications, e.g books, journals, serials, theses and electonic material. A small part of materials has limited accessibility.

Besides references Helka has information about availability, loan periods and reservation status. With Helka library card you can renew your loans, reserve materials which are on loan and check own customer information.

Helka's article search allows you to search articles from international periodicals and other resources. If the article is included in e-resources which the library acquires and you are inside the university network, you can read the article straight away.

The help page guides you to do better information search in the Helka.

Helsinki university library is in charge of Helka administration

Customer service: kirjasto (a t) , p. (02941) 23920.

Technical administration: helka-palvelut (a t)

Helka's website is part of national Finna system.

Helka library card

Helka library card can be acquired from the customer service of any Helka-library. The card is instantly ready to use. The first card is free.

A valid ID card must be presented when collecting the library card. A valid ID card, passport or driving license are acceptable proofs of identity.

The card holder must be over 15 years old and

  • -Have a Finnish indentity document (passport, identity card, driving licence). F
  • -Must have a permanent address in Finland. Poste restante is not an acceptable address.

Staff and students at the University of Helsinki can get a Helka card even if they do not have a Finnish identity document.

The customer can only have one Helka library card. University of Helsinki personnel id card can also be activated to function as a Helka card. Frank student card cannot be registered to function as a library card.


The Helka library card is a personal card. Owning the card means that you are responsible of any material which have been loaned with the card.

The Helka card has to be with you every time you loan, renew or make reservation in the library service desk.

The loans must be returned to the same Helka library where they have been loaned from. The card enables self service borrowing and also reservations and renewals in the Internet.

When acquiring the Helka card you will pledge to follow the rules of every Helka library you use.

Helsinki university library: library terms of use

At the same time your customer information is attached to Helka's customer registry.

The card holder is responsible of to inform library of changes in name, address, phone number or email address.

You can sign in to see your personal information in Helka's registry.

Lost library card

You have to inform immediately the library if you have lost your library card to prevent any potential misuse.

The substitutive card is not free. You can check card price from the the price list.

Helka reminders

Helka libraries send reminders for their customers. The customer must obey the due dates and collect the books regardless if he/she get the reminder. Sending the emails will not succeed always and if sending email fails, it won't be sent again.

Due date reminder will be sent

  • - when customer information data have customer's email address
  • - three days before due date
  • - at least two weeks long loans.

Reminder of arrived reservation will be sent

by email, if customer information has email address. Otherwise reminder will be sent by paper letter. It is worth to follow the upcoming reservations through Helka site, because library charges reservations which are not collected.

Request to return the material

The first request to return the material will be sent when the loan is not returned up to the due date. Reminder will be sent by email if customer information has email address. Otherwise it will be sent by paper letter. Overdue fees will be counted from the due date.

The second request to return the material will be sent, if the loan is not returned 14 days after the due date. The reminder will be sent by paper letter. The customer will lose borrowing rights until things are clear. In the end debt collection agency will handle the unreturned loans.

Client register data file

When acquiring the Helka card you will pledge to follow the rules of every Helka library you use. At the same time your customer information is attached to Helka's customer registry(person file description).

Data types included in the file


  • Identity number - borrowers rights and obligations can be carried out, if borrower can be identified unambiguously.
  • Customer group - different groups have different rights to library's collections.
  • Contact information is needed for Helka reminders to work. The customer has to make sure that contact information is up-to-date.
  • Permanent address in Finland is a requirement to be a customer in Helka library.
  • Temporary address can be included to your contact information for fixed period. Helka letters wil be sent to the permanent address when the fixed period is over.
  • Phone number(s) can be included to your contact information. The libary can call to the customer in special cases.
  • Email address can be added to your contact information. In that case part of the Helka letters will be sent electronically. The library will not guarantee that email is delivered: e.g. library will not resend an email which is not delivered because of full email folder.

You can check your data in the registry by visiting any Helka-library.

Changes in the customer file

You are responsible of keeping your customer information up-to-date in the library system.

You can inform the changes in your contact information via web form in the customer information page. The data will be updated in a few working days.

In an urgent situation please contact Helka library. If your name or identity number has been changed, please present the correct documents in any Helka library personally.

Removing data from the file

Addresses which have been proven to be incorrect (also email addresses) will be removed from the customer file.

Customer information is removed from the register every year. Your data will last in the registry about three years from the last loan.

Description of the Helka client register data file

Data file controller

Helsinki university library PL 53
00014 University of Helsinki
Phone: +358 2941 23920

Data file contact person

Nicola Nykopp, IT Manager
Helsinki university library
PL 53
00014 University of Helsinki
Phone: +358 2941 40769

Regular sources of data

Personal information is received personally from the customer in the library. Additionally user data is received from the University of Helsinki student registry in the case user has given permission for that. Contact information can be examined in University of Helsinki student registry and city administrative court.

Regular disclosure of information

No information will be disclosed to parties outside the systems necessary to produce library services. The library sytem website uses Finna: see Description of the Finna client register data file.

Name of data file

Helka Customer Register

Reason for maintaining the data file

This register has been established to govern customer data and maintain the unambiguity of client identities.

Data file usage

This register will be used to govern personal information and addresses for the purpose of borrowing the library material. The registry is used also to contact the customer: to send the notices of arrival and to collect charges of unreturned material.

Data types included in the file

  • User Identification Information
  • Personal identification number or passport number
  • First and last names
  • Relation to the University
  • Address in Finland, telephone number, email address
  • Loan transaction information