Helka Guide: Helka Guide

This guide presents search tips in the Helka database.


Helka logo



Helka is the joint catalogue and lending system of all Helka libraries, that is: Helsinki University Library, Institute for the Languages of Finland, The Finnish Heritage Agency Library, Finnish Literature Society, Library of the Labour Movement and Baltia-Library.

Helka contains:
  • Library collections:
    • Printed and electronic resources (books, journals and databases) acquired by the Helsinki University Library and other Helka libraries.
  • International articles:
    • International e-articles and e-books (also references without access to full text, references to articles and e-books library has not acquired)
    • International articles search includes most of the databases library has bought but not all (e.g.PubMed, Scopus,​ ProQuest Databases and many other large international databases are included in the search)
  • Theses and dissertations at the University of Helsinki (digital theses are also in Helda, the digital repository of the university)  
  • Open Access resources 

Please note that the e-resources licenced by the Helsinki University Library can be accessed remotely with the University of Helsinki username only. Helka may also contain references without access to full text. 

Helka's short address is helsinki.fi/helka/en 

Search in Helka

Helka basic functions
Search books

You can search both printed and e-books in Helka. If there are several versions of a book (printed book, e-book, several editions) you can see all the versions via link "See all versions".
When seeking books you can tweak your search results by choosing "Available online" (e-books), "Held by library" (printed books) or "Open Access" (e-books online open for all).

Journal Search

Use the following options to find journals:

  • Enter a journal title in the search box.
  • Use the "Journals by category" option to browse journals.
Database Search

To search for databases you can do the following:

  • Enter keywords in the search box. You'll get the database link.
  • Browse databases by category. See the list of field specific and multidisciplinary databases for your field of study.

See more search tips

How to Start

Some tips when you start using Helka
  • Truncate your search terms to get all word variations (e.g. librar* -> library, libraries...) 
  • Target your search to relevant materials (Library catalog, International articles) and use filters to limit your search results (Tweak your results). 
  • Sign in to renew your loans, make reservations, pay fines and fees, change your pin code and see your Helka customer information See sign in instructions.
  • Check your reservations in your Helka customer information to see when the material is ready for collection. You will also be notified by email when the material is available. See instructions: Request material

See more search tips

Digital Helka library card now available

How to get the Helka library card

Read more about how to get the Helka library card on Helsinki University Library website.

Digital Helka library card now available

All Helsinki University Library customers now have access to a digital library card. You can use the digital card at the self-service lending machines instead of a physical card.

You can access the digital library card by logging in to the Helka database. On mobile devices the card can be found behind the three dots in the top right-hand corner. When using a computer, the card can be found on the My Account page.   

Customers outside of Helsinki University need to have a physical Helka card before they can use the digital card. Helsinki University Students and staff need either a physical card or a digital card activated via the Studies Service for the digital card to be visible also in Helka.  

Read more about the Helka card on the website Library card and borrowing rights

How to open your Helka card on a mobile device    

All Helsinki University Library customers can use the digital library card by logging in to the Helka database.  

  1. Log in to Helka.   

  1. Click on the three dots in the top right corner of the page to display the barcode of your library card.  

  1. Show the barcode to the reader at the self-service lending machine. 

Read more on the library webpage.