Frequently asked questions - FAQ
Using library services (library card, reservations, reminders etc.)
The Learning Centre is open to all. Persons in age 15 and older may register as customers. Registration requires a valid ID with a picture and a postal address in Finland. Visiting researchers and exchange students have a right to obtain a library card regardless of the above conditions.
Aalto University Learning Centre - Term of use.
In Aalto-Primo, you can make a reservation for a book only when all the items are on loan.
You cannot reserve short loans (24 h loan) or items that you already have borrowed. Please read more.
No, the library card does not expire.
Customer data is stored for as long as the customer uses Learning Centre services, or for as long as the customer has outstanding obligations, such as unreturned loans, unpaid late fees or debts that have been turned over to a collection agency for handling. In other cases, the data is erased three (3) calendar years after the customer’s last transaction.
If necessary, however, the library card can be easily restored by re-registering at our customer service.
Yes you can. During building’s closing hours, loans can be returned to a drop-box. The book drop-box is located on Otaniementie side (the café entrance on the 1st floor).
Library system automatically sends a reminder to the customer's email the day before the due date, as well as a return request right after the due date. The second return request is sent 15 days after the loan's due date. In situations where, despite reminders, the loans are more than a month (35 days) late, the customer is prohibited from borrowing and the matter is transferred to a collection agency.
You can check the upcoming due dates in Aalto-Primo by logging in to your account.
The reminders sent do not mean that the responsibility for returning or renewing the item(s) will shift from the customer to the Learning Centre. Aalto community's reminder messages are sent automatically to Aalto University e-mail addresses. Other customers must ensure that their email address in the register is up-to-date.
Yes, you can. The Learning Centre is open to all customers, not just to Aalto community.
After your Aalto username expires, you can login to Aalto-Primo either by a personal e-mail address that you provided for the library system or alternatively, you can activate your login to Aalto-Primo with your library card number and Aalto-Primo password. Please see the instructions here.
Staff authorization is granted for the full duration of employment (+ 7 days). Student authorization is granted for four (4) months after graduation or the end of their right to study. Read more.
What is Aaltodoc ? (metadata and conducting searches)
Aaltodoc is a publication archive of Aalto University. Aalto University’s publications and theses are registered on Aaltodoc. Aaltodoc is also a forum for electronic publishing.
It is good to aknowledge that the coverage of Aaltodoc’s search results is based on the quality of the metadata. Aaltodoc’s metadata is partly collected from previously used registers which have had different reguirements for the quality of metadata. Additionally, the names of schools, departments, programmes, and majors have changed over time. Consider these facts when conducting searches on Aaltodoc.
Information about the publications and theses of the former Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki University of Technology and University of Art and Design Helsinki can be found from Aaltodoc. Besides research reports and theses Aaltodoc also includes articles, study materials, annual reports, and seminar reports.
An updated version of Aaltodoc will be published in 2023. We hope that this modern interface will help customers to utilize Aaltodoc’s resources better.
Actually, Aaltodoc’s basic search searches for the search terms from all the metadata fields, abstracts, and PDF files available on Aaltodoc.
Currently Aaltodoc does not support searches with the names of the majors. This will be fixed in the updated version of Aaltodoc. The name of the major is recorded in Aaltodoc’s metadata field called dc.programme.major. When searching with a major, write in the basic search box: dc.programme.major: “name of the major inside quotation marks”
dc.programme.major: “Photonics and Nanotechnology”
You can use company’s name as a search term. Aaltodoc’s basic search looks for search terms from all the metadata fields, abstracts, and PDF files available on Aaltodoc. Some companies have forbidden students to use the company’s name on the thesis or metadata. For this reason, it might not be possible to find all the theses made for a specific company.
Information about the theses of the former Helsinki School of Economics and Helsinki University of Technology is registered to Aaltodoc. This metadata comes from the previous registers of these schools as it was originally registered. Theses of University of Art and Design Helsinki have been registered to library catalog and can now be found on Aalto-Primo.
Information about a missing archive copy is added to the thesis metadata on Aaltodoc or Aalto-Primo when discovered. The theses collection is vast and for this reason it has not been systematically checked to find missing theses or missing information.
What is Aalto Thesis Database?
Aalto Thesis Database is a remote desktop connection to Aaltodoc’s restricted access collection of master’s, licentiate, and doctoral theses files.
Currently Aalto Thesis Database is available on the workstations at the Harald Herlin Learning Centre. All our customers can login to the workstations and access the Aalto Thesis Database.
Via Aalto Thesis Database you can read the thesis file or print it to paper. You cannot download or send the file, or copy, or modify the content.
Information services for archived theses
Approved theses are public documents. This means that we (Aalto University) must provide access to the theses to whomever wishes to read them. It is Learning Centre’s responsibility to archive the theses and to provide access to the theses. From the year 2020 all theses have been archived only in electronic format.
BIZ and ARTS students can give permission to publish their bachelor's theses on Aaltodoc.
CHEM, ELEC, ENG and SCI students cannot give permission to publish their bachelor's theses on Aaltodoc due to a joint policy of schools of technology in Aalto University.
There are two ways to access Aaltodoc’s restricted access collection of master’s, licentiate, and doctoral theses files:
- First, you can come to the Harald Herlin Learning Centre and read or print the thesis on paper on Learning Centre’s workstations via remote desktop connection named Aalto Thesis Database
- Second, you can request the thesis file from us by email [email protected]
Locked bachelor´s theses are available:
- on the Learning Centre’s workstations via Aaltodoc or
- you can request the thesis file from us by email [email protected]
General Data Protection Regulation (GDBR) regulates the collection and use of personal data. We do not have the right to collect the contact information of authors or share the contact information collected for other purposes.
Use of locked bachelor's theses is located on the Learning Centre’s workstations. This policy is agreed with the legal services of Aalto University. Copyrights of the authors prevent us from expanding this policy outside the Learning Centre.
But our plan is to make the Aalto Thesis Database (access to master’s, licentiate, and doctoral theses files) more available for Aalto University students. The Aalto Thesis Database will be available in the workstation classrooms at campus and via Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).
Aalto University faculty and staff can now download Aalto Thesis Database from the Software Self Service Portal (Windows workstations). Aalto Thesis Database is a remote desktop connection to Aaltodoc’s restricted access collection of master’s, licentiate, and doctoral theses files.
Our future plan is to provide access to the collection of digitized reports of the Helsinki University of Technology via Aalto Thesis Database.
The requested theses files are usually sent to the customer on the same day or the next working day. If you do not get our reply with the file, please send the request again. In some cases, the thesis file has been too big to send via email and for this reason the system failed to send the reply message and attached file.
Depending on the thesis type there are different ways to access the PDF file when using the Learning Centre’s workstations.
First, you login to the workstation with your Aalto University credentials or with a shared username and password. Second, you open:
- browser (Firefox or Edge) and go to Aaltodoc if you are looking for bachelor´s theses. Search for the thesis in Aaltodoc and open the PDF-file.
- Aalto Thesis Database remote desktop connection to Aaltodoc if you are looking for master’s, licentiate, or doctoral theses. Search for the thesis in Aaltodoc and click the link named Access to electronic archive copy from the thesis metadata.
Theses and copyrights
Author is the copyright owner of the thesis. Copyright holders possess the exclusive rights of distribution and public display of the original work.
Author is the copyright owner of the thesis. For this reason, we need a permission from the author to publish the thesis online on Aaltodoc.
We cannot loan the printed archived copies of theses because we do not have the author’s permission for loaning. Additionally the theses are essential and unique public documents for Aalto University.
Aalto University’s policy is to publish, with permission from the author, only the compiling part and not the articles or essays on Aaltodoc. You can ask for the original thesis file by email from [email protected].
Facilities and equipment
There are hundreds of locations available for our customers and groups of varied sizes in the premises.
The thorough renovation of the library building designed by Alvar Aalto during the years 1964-68 and finished in 1970 was completed in the year 2016. After that the building has served as the Harald Herlin Learning Center of Aalto University. More extensive changes in connection with the protected building were possible only in the current K-floor that formerly served as storage places. In other respects, the library building with its furnishings designed by Aalto had to be preserved as well as possible in their original form.
The reading room situated on the second floor of the learning center is meant to be the quietest working space in the building. This is explained by the signs attached to the glass wall of the room. We will add more signs there. The entire second floor is meant to be a peaceful area where you can work. We hope that our customers do as they are expected to do and take other people into consideration. A more loudly interaction is possible on the first and K-floors of the building.
No, but Aalto University students and staff can enter the Learning Centre's 1st and K-floors between 7am - 12pm using an activated access token.
Printed theses can be read everywhere in the Learning Centre. Electronic theses can be read at all shared workstations in the Learning Centre.
Water bottles can be filled in the toilet on the 1st floor of the Learning Centre. The door is marked with a picture of a water bottle.
Aalto Space mobile application makes finding and booking facilities easy for all users of the campus’ facilities. The map in the app helps users to navigate inside the buildings.
In addition, the information board about the locations of the meeting and group work spaces of the building can be found in the lobby of the Learning Centre and near the 1st floor entrance.
The Learning Centre does not hand out usernames and passwords for its workstations.
User IDs needed for shared workstations can be found on the base of the computer or at the edge of the screen. Locations of all available shared workstations in the Harald Herlin Learning Centre can be found here.
From all the floors can be found spacious garbage bins for organic, energy and paper waste, which provides our customers excellent opportunities to maintain cleanliness of indoor spaces. The amount of garbage bins will be increased in the future. To maintain cleanliness, the first floor of the learning center is suited for the enjoyment of one’s own snacks and beverages, whereas to the second and K-floor you are allowed to bring only a drink bottle.
It should also be clear that if a customer decides to move around the furniture of the Learning Center, then he/she will return them back to their original places before leaving the Learning Center. This does not belong to the duties of the limited amount of personnel of the Learning Center or of the cleaning staff.
The temperature is according to set standards – that is about 21-22 degrees.
Changes will be made to the space during the spring and summer of 2024. And in that context the future use of the space will be considered. The hybrid stage has been in trial use at Makerspace and will move elsewhere in the future. In august there will be arranged a workshop where the future usage of Makerspace will be planned.
The student representatives will be called to the workshop and the results of this customer survey will be considered.
We are exploring the possibility to add more phone booths on the first floor and on the K-floor. Phone booths are prohibited on the second floor because of preserving and protecting architectural heritage of Alvar Aalto.
The operating logic of electrical compact shelving is such, that you have to press the arrow that points to the space in between where you want to get to. Not the arrow in which direction you want the shelf to move. We added instructions for use of the electrical shelves.
There are six standing height work tables in K-floor Makerspace. Also, there are two tables on the second floor.
The tables in front of the compact shelves at Makerspace will be renewed during the coming weeks. At the same time number of sockets will be increased. In the reading room on the second floor there is a socket under every study table.
We do have indoor plants on the first and second floors. The K-floor is so dark without any natural light that plants do not flourish there.
Material and information retrieval
The Learning Centre is open to all customers. A prerequisite is to register as our customer. The library card also works after graduation from the university and borrowing from our printed collections is possible for everyone.
Aalto University students or faculty members can access all licensed library resources, such as scientific articles, databases and e-books, wherever and whenever by logging in with Aalto username. Other customers can use our materials via workstations at Learning Centre.
Read more: Use of e-resources
In Aalto-Primo basic search you can target your search to specific scope. The default option is "Search for books, journals and theses". You can also start search by choosing the needed scope from the drop-down menu: "Search for international articles", "Search Aaltodoc publication archive" or choose "Search everything"
- Search for books, journals and theses - (Library purchased books, e-books and other material listed in library catalog)
- Search for international articles - (Central discovery index= a vast collection of e-articles or article references, also references to books/e-books/other resources)
- Search Aaltodoc publication archive - (Consists of full text materials produced by the university, such as theses, reports and research materials)
- Search everything (blended search for all the scopes in Aalto-Primo)
In Advanced search you may also make a lot of other choices. You may choose if your search term appears in the title field, author field or subject term field. You may search with exact terms, combine your search words by selecting AND/OR/NOT from the drop down menu. You may select time, language, and publication type limits etc.
Meet an information specialist is a personalized guidance session about information retrieval for one or multiple customers at a time. Request an appointment to meet an information specialist according to your field:
In addition, you can also study information retrieval skills independently when it suits you: Guide to information retrieval. We also organize orientation on library services for the new students: Learning Centre for new students.
Not all e-books are available for library use. Many e-books are only sold to individual users, not libraries. We favour e-books over print books in book acquisitions whenever it is possible.
Both printed and e-books can be found in the Aalto-Primo. You can search for the book by the name or the author, or by key words etc.
The shelving location of books in printed collections can be found by clicking on the library map in Aalto-Primo's search results (marked with a red dot).
Video instructions on how to search for various materials e.g. course books, e-books, theses, magazines, articles and databases can be found in three languages (en/eng/ swe) in the Learning Centre for New Students guide.
Don't forget to get to know the Aalto University Learning Centre's Resource guides.
Do you need a book or article that is not part of the Learning Center collection? We can order it for you to borrow from another library as an interlibrary loan. Alternatively, Aalto University staff and students can also make an acquisition proposal to the library.
If you feel there is something missing from our collections, suggest a new title (available with an Aalto user-id).
Please note, that acquisition proposals are considered in relation to the library's collection development policy and the available funds.
We are developing our collections based on customer feedback. New materials have already been acquired for the collections, based on the customer survey held in the beginning of the year 2023. More info and acquisition proposal form: https://www.aalto.fi/en/harald-herlin-learning-centre/suggest-a-new-title-for-the-library-collections
Please note, we obtain to our collection mainly newer material in the fields of study and research at the Aalto University. The older materials are usually supplied as interlibrary loan from other libraries.
When acquiring new material for the library, the shelves will at some point become full, in which case deletions must be made from the collections.
According to the general practice of Finnish libraries, we always check material availability status in the National Repository Library located in Kuopio, to see if the book to be removed from our collections is already there. If not, we will send it to NRL.
The basic function of the NRL (The National Repository Library under the Ministry of Education and Culture) is to receive, store and offer material for the use of other libraries via interlibrary loans.
You can order books and journal articles from other libraries in Finland and abroad via the interlibrary service.
In particular, the National Repository Library (NRL) collection has a wide range of older journal volumes and a wide selection of literature in all fields. Ordering material from the Repository Library is free of charge for Aalto University students and staff.
More information: Order items from other libraries.
No, we charge according to our pricelist.
Aalto University students are entitled for free of charge interlibrary loans from other Finnish libraries if a printed book you requested is not owned by any library in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Please check this condition before sending us an interlibrary loan request.
Donation of books
We accept book donations to a limited extent.
In general, only newish/recent literature on Aalto's research and teaching topics can be included in the collections. Please contact us in advance by email and give us detailed description about the material.
Please note that Learning Centre decides which books will be included in the collection and how the books will be placed. Donated material will not be returned, even if it is not included in the Learning Centre’s collection.