Channels for information retrieval

Where you should look for information is defined by your information need.

Are you looking for a specific book? You should search the Helka database, where you can find printed and electronic materials acquired for the Helsinki University Library’s collections. Do you want to search for a book in several libraries at the same time (for example, in libraries of all higher education institutions)? Use the search service.  

Are you looking for research articles? You can search for international articles in Helka with a title or the name of a journal. You should search for domestic articles at If you cannot find the article in electronic format, the journal can also be found as a printed version in the library. Use Google Scholar to find more openly published articles.  

Do you want to see which journals have been acquired for the library? With Helka journal search, you can search for journals by category. You can also browse the e-journals ordered by the library by their subject area in the visual user interface of the BrowZine service, where you can collect journals and articles from your field of science to your own journal shelf. 

Are you looking for theses? You can search for printed and electronic theses of the University of Helsinki through Helka. In addition, you can browse electronic theses in the University’s digital repository Helda. Theses from other higher education institutions can be found at  

Do you urgently need new information on a particular topic and do not need to comprehensively map the information published on the topic? You should start your search from the Helka database or the open network, for example, from Google Scholar.  

Are you exploring what has been said about the topic, for example, for your thesis? You should search for information from the scientific databases of your field. Use research guides to find the best databases for your subject.  

Use the Helka database search to find the databases that the library has subscribed to. The search will be more comprehensive when you search several different databases for different scientific information sources. 

The following chart shows different information needs with suitable information-retrieval channels that will often turn up useful information sources. The information in the graph is also shown in the text above.

What you are looking for  => Where to find it
A certain book  => Search for Helsinki University Library collections:

  • Helka database (both printed and e-books)

Other libraries:

A certain article  =>
  • You can find the library’s electronic articles in Helka.
  • Use Google Scholar to find more Open Access articles.
  • If you cannot find the desired article in electronic format, search for the name of the journal in Helka. A printed version of the journal may be available in the library.
E-journals by topic => Search for Helsinki University Library collections:

  • With BrowZine you can browse e-journals by topic. You can keep your journals and articles in one place and access them later.
  • With the Helka journal search, you can search for journals by category.
Specific database => Helsinki University Library collection:

Theses => University of Helsinki theses:

Theses from other universities:

You need new information about a certain subject quickly, but you do not need to chart everything that has been published about it.  => Helka database or the open web e.g. Google Scholar.
An overall mapping of everything that has been written on the subject  =>
  • Find information in the databases for your own field. Use field-spesific research guides to find the best databases for your subject.
  • Search broadly – e.g. for articles, research reports, scientific books and theses in various databases.