The National Archives of Finland Strategy 2025
The National Archives of Finland is the leading expert and information service organisation in the management of the lifecycle of public information and a broad infrastructure for scientific research. The National Archives advances the transfer of official and private materials in electronic format, the customer-driven digitisation and diverse use of cultural heritage documents, data management based on artificial intelligence and modern scientific methods, open access to data and sustainable development.
The values of the National Archives of Finland are based on internationally recognised human values, as well as the ethical principles of the archival sector and the research community. The key values guiding the operations of the National Archives are:
- Openness and confidentiality
In 2025, the National Archives of Finland will provide its customers with diverse and secure electronic services that make use of the opportunities offered by AI and semantic systems.
It will be a globally advanced and active organisation that develops and utilises new ways to use and archive public information sustainably and cost-effectively. It preserves nationally valuable analogue and digital cultural heritage documents for the next generations. It will strengthen the expertise and professional pride of its personnel and advance cooperation with stakeholders and ethical operating methods that support sustainable development.
The changing operating environment
Finland strives to become a pioneer in digitalisation and IT development, both in public and private sectors. The goal is to make Finland’s public sector the best in the world. Operations will be developed in a more customer-driven direction by improving shared services in the public sector and the engagement of customers in their development. Public services should be digitally available to people and companies by 2023. A shared development and service strategy will be defined for the public sector.
A key requirement when developing public activities and services on customers’ terms is that information flows as smoothly as possible between data systems in the public sector. This requires that information is only collected once, after which it is openly accessible to all authorities. Public organisations will open public interfaces to their data systems. This will reduce administrative silos and the multiple saving of single information. Furthermore, this will improve the effectiveness of public services and reduce costs. Customers will have quick and reliable access to the services they need. Customer service will be provided in shared service outlets in the public sector.
Laws and the development of administration will aim towards digital services, the ability to reform and sustainable development. The communication issued by the European Commission in the spring of 2018 regarding common European data area offers opportunities for new business and innovation, strengthens democracy and civil society, improves the effectiveness of administration and diversifies the data resources available to education and research. The competitiveness of both the EU and Finland will be improved by providing open access to public and private data.
The EU will advance common European solutions for data management and ensure the permanence and reliability of digital data. The goal is that public and private services are easily available to users online by using the one stop shop principle. Digital data produced in the public sector will be centrally available for societal decision-making, scientific research and people’s data needs in accordance with harmonised principles. The common European practices for data management and archiving set by the EU for its member states will also be implemented in Finland.
In national and international operating environments, the requirements set for sustainable development will be in an increasingly important position. The development of the national economy, Finland’s competitiveness and the stability of the public economy will enable the goals to be reached. However, the state’s high debt ratio will make it more difficult to invest in large-scale changes. This is why changes require public operations to be made even more productive by improving shared strategic planning and shared services. A broad and long-term open access to public and private data will produce significant financial and societal benefits. Interoperability will also extend to archived data and to data systems of archives that serve people and the authorities.
The management of the data lifecycle will be central and regulated. The National Archives of each member state will be responsible for the central management of the data lifecycle in accordance with international practices, as well as for the archiving of societally and scientifically important data and its availability for different purposes. The National Archives of Finland will develop and implement information management in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and its Information Management Board. A successful implementation will significantly increase the reliability of public data accessible to researchers and decision-makers and strengthen the societal impact of archived data.
Modern digital methods will modify research and service processes and set requirements for the permanence of material in usable format. The effective use of large masses of data calls for expertise in and the use of AI, semantic methods and other modern data management tools both in research and the production of services. Advanced computer reading will revolutionise the ways of searching for data from large data volumes. Separating data from its platform and new opportunities to merge and analyse data will especially change traditional research not only in human and social sciences, but in other scientific fields, as well. Digital materials and electronic publications will comprise the basic model for producing and using scientific data.
Making archived data available for research in electronic format and for everyone will extend through all layers of society: trust, engagement, democracy, non-discrimination, continuous learning and the production of wellbeing services.
National Archives – modernisation and engagement
1 The most essential party to the lifecycle management and archiving of public data
Strategic goal 1.1. Clear steering responsibilities for the lifecycle management of records and data.
Steering related to the management of public data, long term preservation and archiving at the National Archives of Finland will cover the entire lifecycle of records and data. Archived (permanently preserved) records and data will be defined at the beginning of the lifecycle of records and data so that its weight as evidence, reliability and maintenance can be secured by documenting different data processing phases and by producing the metadata required to verify the availability and accessibility. Steering activities and the authorisation to issue regulations will comprise part of information management steering covered by the Ministry of Finance.
The National Archives will participate in the preparation of the Information Management Board’s recommendations. Cooperation in the development of the lifecycle management of records and data will also extend to universities.
Strategic goal 1.2. Digital archiving is the primary archiving method in the public sector.
The National Archives of Finland will advance digital archiving in the public sector by deciding on records and data to be archived in the public sector and by mass digitising the archived materials of the government.
Preparations for decisions on archived materials will be based on the appraisal and disposal policies and strategies, as well as on criteria for determining the cultural-historical value. Decisions made by the National Archives and its acquisition policy for private materials will secure a comprehensive, equal and sufficient view of society and its different parties. The determination of archived materials will take into account the requirements set out in data protection laws and national and international guidelines that support good data management practices.
The National Archives will mainly receive archived records and data in digital format. The digitisation of materials that are received in analogue format and fall outside the scope of the mass digitisation roadmap will be advanced by establishing a specific central unit that nationally develops and implements the digitisation and management of special materials. The systematic transfer of born digital records and data will be started after the electronic archiving service is available. The services provided by the National Archives will enable authorities to directly search for their own data.
Systematic and sufficient funding for mass digitisation will be ensured in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education and Culture. The purpose of mass digitisation is also to ensure that there is no need for the construction of additional archiving space in the public sector.
Strategic goal 1.3. The transfer of private archives valuable in terms of research and cultural history, a straightforward distribution of responsibilities between archives and shared operating methods ensure a diverse and reliable overview of Finnish society and its parties throughout history. The transfer of electronic private materials and the digitisation of analogue materials increase the availability of materials and support societal impact.
Alongside official archives, private archives comprise an important channel in documenting society. Materials from private archives will be received by government subsidised archives, municipal and university archives, as well as a group of other archives. Government subsidy decisions for which the National Archives of Finland is responsible and the opportunities offered by the Advisory Committee on Private Archives for the national coordination of the procurement policy will support all sectors and increase their effectiveness and purposefulness.
An increasing volume of materials will be received in electronic format. It will be necessary to receive digital materials so that a genuine and probative overview of current and future society can be formed. Electronic materials are created by using several different programs, and making them available in an easy and standard manner will call for investments in new expertise and new operating methods. The digitisation of received and archived analogue materials will increase the availability of private archives and prevent their marginalisation, while the operating environment prefers electronic data management and publication.
Strategic goal 1.4. The Archives Act will be amended to correspond to the needs of the digital public sector. International models form the basis of the new foundation. The right of the National Archives of Finland to purchase or copy nationally significant private materials will be secured by maintaining the current authorisation provided in the Archives Act.
When amending the Archives Act, the steering and regulatory responsibilities of the National Archives of Finland will be clarified, the position of the electronic archives service as a shared public sector service will be defined and criteria for operating as an archive that supports public interests will be prepared. When preparing the new act, the principles and specifications defined for legal amendments in Sweden and Norway, as well as the fulfilment of common European practices of data management and archiving, set by the EU as a goal for its member states, will be addressed.
The needs for additional resources at the National Archives will be identified, and any additional resources will be secured. The right of the National Archives to acquire, purchase or copy private archives that are made available for sale or face the risk of destruction will also be maintained in the amended Archives Act. If exercised actively, this right will strengthen the opportunities of the National Archives to preserve central documentary heritage for future generations.
2 A pioneer in digital archives services
Strategic goal 2.1. 95% of customers of the National Archives of Finland can use online services as the only service channel. Secure and easy-to-use services available in multiple channels are developed together with partners and customers.
Online services will comprise the primary service channel of the National Archives of Finland, and their use will be increased even further during the strategy period. The National Archives will boldly use responsible AI to enable the diverse use of materials and automated ways of producing metadata. With regard to development activities, any changes in international research and technological development will be monitored actively. Nordic and European cooperation will be closer, especially in the recognition of handwritten text and in other content recognition.
Service design will be a key focus area during the strategy period. It helps to make services simple, attractive and visually harmonious. The user-friendliness of services will be developed together with customers and stakeholders.
The National Archives will work closely with other memory organisations in the development of digital services to ensure the interoperability of services. During the strategy period, the suitability of the AHAA system as the long-term metadata system of the National Archives and the use of solutions based on semantic web technologies in rapidly changing data management will be identified.
When amending the Archives Act, the role of the National Archives as a national producer of metadata services for archived materials will be defined. This requires additional resources.
The National Archives will ensure the continuity of its services during different incidents and prepare for increasing security threats.
Strategic goal 2.2. Online services of the National Archives of Finland support opportunities to search for and analyse data and data masses.
Search functions and the use of content-recognised materials and register data will be developed in a data-based direction. Service production will also address the development of opportunities to merge and use archived register data in cooperation with universities and research institutions. Permit practices will be changed to correspond to the needs of the research process. The ability to merge various registers data and its easy use in research and societal decision-making processes will be improved together with research organisations and key agencies and other parties in the sector.
Content recognition will be facilitated by the expertise of stakeholders and the opportunities offered by crowdsourcing.
Strategic goal 2.3. Retroactive digitisation corresponds to the needs of researchers and research projects. The National Archives of Finland advances customer and voluntary digitisation and offers digitisation as a paid service, particularly to public organisations. Crowdsourcing and volunteers are used while taking into account the security of the documents and the sufficient expertise needed from the individuals.
On an international scale, the National Archives of Finland has a large volume of digitised material, which has, in turn, enabled participation in national and international projects that advance the modern availability of materials. The retroactive digitisation of previously received materials will be systematically directed to correspond to the needs of researchers and research projects. Furthermore, a model will be built for ensuring cooperation and interaction in the prioritisation of different materials. Services will be offered actively to advance paid digitisation services and the digitisation of private materials. Digitisation activities will be distributed to all locations of the National Archives in stages. The goal is to secure the digitisation of regionally valuable materials for the needs of different user groups.
Photographic materials will increasingly attract different user groups. Their retroactive digitisation, providing them with metadata and open online availability will be advanced in cooperation with genealogists and other partners. The National Archives will approach foundations so that they would address in their funding policies the importance of digitisation and the diverse opportunities to use digital information in research, education and culture.
3. Broad infrastructure for scientific research
Strategic goal 3.1. The National Archives of Finland is engaged in active national and international cooperation with universities and other bodies in the development of digital research processes.
The National Archives of Finland will actively participate in national and international research projects that develop the use of digital materials in research. Cooperation projects will particularly use the expertise of partners that increases the diverse use of materials and improves the services of the National Archives. This calls for participation in funding applications and proper expertise in the preparation of funding applications and in project management.
Projects will result in research infrastructures, the effective use of which requires cooperation with universities and research institutions. The purpose of the national infrastructure policy is to set responsibilities for the development and maintenance of the infrastructures required by research. The National Archives will produce an operating model for the transfer of research databases and for their connection to the service production of the National Archives.
Strategic goal 3.2. The National Archives of Finland monitors the development of research data management and improves the visibility and availability of its materials in different scientific fields.
As a result of content recognition, digital materials of the National Archives of Finland will produce data for research in different scientific fields. Climate change and the challenges set by sustainable development increase the need for an interdisciplinary approach and long-term time series of various materials. The National Archives will be engaged in close cooperation with universities in the development of research infrastructures and the generation of data-based research opportunities and operating methods suitable for different approaches.
Stakeholder activities and targeted communication will advance the visibility and use of materials.
4. A competent organisation that develops its expertise in the long term
Strategic goal 4.1. The financial standing of the National Archives of Finland is solid and easy to forecast, enabling the long-term planning of operations, finances and HR policy so as to support the fulfilment of strategic goals. Paid services and external project funding account for at least 20% of the salary and expense budget on an annual level.
Operational and financial monitoring will be continuous and systematic, providing members of the management and the management team with up-to-date information about the status of operations and finances, as well as about the fulfilment of the goals set. The engagement of the personnel in the management team will be expanded. This will generate a stronger shared overview of the goals and productivity of the National Archives of Finland among the entire personnel.
Administrative services will offer services proactively to different functions. A significant part of the resources of the National Archives will come from projects outside the scope of government budget funding. The National Archives will strengthen its project competence even further and focus its resources on the acquisition and management of external funding. The effectiveness of the use of facilities will be improved by means of external partnerships, addressing the principles of sustainable development, without endangering the preservation of nationally significant documentary cultural heritage.
Strategic goal 4.2. The competence and training of the personnel focuses on the management of the digital operating environment, networked operating methods and the ability of the National Archives of Finland to carry out its services on a national scale.
Digitalisation will change the tasks and competence requirements of the personnel of the National Archives of Finland. A competence survey based on strategic guidelines will be conducted at the beginning of the strategy period, on the basis of which the recruitment of new employees and training provided for the current personnel will be determined. Members of the management will be provided with training regarding change management and a coaching approach, so that they can support employees during changes, identify any individual development needs and develop the activities of the National Archives as a whole based on strategic guidelines. Management will focus especially on the flexible use of resources between service areas.
Introduction provided for new employees will be based on mentoring. Personnel training will focus on increasing digital capabilities and project competence, as well as on communication skills. The National Archives will strengthen its working community and support wellbeing at work.
Alongside digital services, traditional reading room services will continue throughout the strategy period, while digitisation services, the digitisation of information service processes and the further development of electronic services will shift the focus determinedly towards electronic services.
Cooperation with the public sector and other archives services will increase to secure service resources and customer service. Savings will be allocated to analogue information services. Administrative services will emphasise the use of shared government services and cooperation with other public sector bodies. Furthermore, administrative services will develop procurement skills to support the goals of substance service areas Resources will be allocated appropriately and cost-effectively based on national and international surveys and peer reviews.
Strategic goal 4.3. The goal of the National Archives of Finland is that no new archives spaces are built for analogue materials in Finland. This goal can be achieved by receiving materials in digital format, mass digitising public sector materials and digitising previously received materials retroactively. The fulfilment of this goal is supported by a straightforward operating method for deciding on materials to be discarded and materials to be archived permanently on the basis of their cultural-historical and scientific value. Material management and effective logistics support purposeful operating methods.
The logistic material management system of the National Archives of Finland will extend to all analogue materials. The facility management program of Senate Properties will be used to plan and schedule the receipt and logistic planning of archived materials at a national level. During the strategy period, the National Archives will identify the usage rate and financial capacity of its analogue services. The use of facilities will be advanced by seeking partnerships from the public sector and by producing shared services with them.
A decrease in the Veikkaus lottery surplus will have an impact on government subsidies channelled through and by decision of the National Archives. The National Archives, together with government subsidised archives, will produce a development plan based on the financial situation for the appropriate merger of the services of these parties and for shared facility solutions.
Strategic goal 4.4. Goals of sustainable development are addressed in all activities.
Global warming is a serious threat that endangers humanity as a whole. Combating it calls for determined solutions that support sustainable development. The National Archives will improve the effective use of its facilities on national and local levels. Furthermore, the National Archives will implement the strategy prepared by the government for shared public services in all its facilities.
Internal meetings will be held via remote connections. Videoconferencing systems will be used as largely as possible, also when holding meetings with external stakeholders.
Strategic goal 4.5. Internal and external communication provides customers, stakeholders and employees with a reliable, updated and positive view of the operations of the National Archives of Finland.
External communication by the National Archives of Finland will be active and interactive. Its key purpose is to improve the visibility of the materials and services of the National Archives. Communication supports the management of the National Archives and advances the fulfilment of strategic goals.
The aim of internal communication is to encourage different locations to communicate their operations actively. Each location will have an appointed person responsible for communication, whose task is to transmit information about key events and the advancement of stakeholder activities throughout the National Archives and locally.
Online communication will be the primary communication channel at the National Archives. The use of social media services will be developed systematically. A public dialogue is part of the research culture and supports the image of the National Archives as an organisation that follows its ethical values and research principles.
Planning will focus on ethical communication in a polarising society where two extremes often clash. The goal of all communication activities is to spread a strong image of the National Archives as a reliable organisation and a provider of customer-driven services with a good reputation. Successes will be evaluated regularly by participating in peer reviews and customer feedback processes in the public sector.
Read the online version: The National Archives of Finland Strategy 2025