Yead of induction: 2021
Custodian: Finnish Literature Society
Collection of archived publications of the Finnish Literature Society (1834–)
The Finnish Literature Society (SKS, established in 1831) is the oldest, still operating publisher in Finland, whose publications have provenly shaped the Finnish language, as well as Finland’s national identity and cultural understanding ever since 1834. The collection of archived publications draws a unique picture of the significance of language and literature in building a nation, the development of the literary culture, and trends in humanistic science and non-fiction literature over nearly 200 years from the beginning of the 19th century until today.
Now, at the beginning of the 2020s, the collection of SKS publications makes up more than 100 shelf metres, located in the festival hall of the main building built and completed for the society in 1890 and in the society’s book warehouses. In addition to the editions of Kalevala, Finland’s national epic, the collection includes all 34 volumes of Suomen Kansan Vanhat Runot (a collection of Finnish Kalevala-type poetry), collected matriculation examination texts, which have become the yardstick of Finnish language education at schools (1948–2017), and the national biography consisting of the small-scale biographies of thousands of Finnish people. The collection also draws a concrete picture of the development of Finnish literature, as it includes the first editions of Finnish national author Aleksis Kivi’s Seitsemän veljestä from 1869–1870, a number of research publications studying Kivi’s production and, as the most recent addition, the text-critical editions of Aleksis Kivi’s works prepared in the 2010s.
The Finnish Literature Society is still an active publisher, and its archived collections are accumulated whenever the society publishes new works. What makes the collection so unique is its long-term and long-spanning accumulation, based on the tradition of European scientific societies, in society and in time.
Publication processes and library collections are increasingly going online. SKS has also modernised its publication operations to support open science, and it will publish all of its new science books as openly accessible online resources from the beginning of 2021. Nevertheless, the society sees a cultural and societal value in printed books and collections of printed books. This is why SKS will continue to increase its archived collections with printed versions of its online publications.
By having the collection of its publications included in the Memory of the World register, SKS wants to show its appreciation and support for the preservation of the diverse global documentary heritage – also in non-digital format.