National and University Library of Iceland

Landsbókasafn Íslands – Háskólabókasafn (English: The National and University Library of Iceland) is the national library of Iceland which also functions as the university library of the University of Iceland. The library was established on December 1, 1994 in Reykjavík, Iceland, with the merger of the former national library, Landsbókasafn Íslands (est. 1818), and the university library (formally est. 1940). It is by far the largest library in Iceland with about one million items in various collections. The library's largest collection is the national collection containing almost all written works published in Iceland and items related to Iceland published elsewhere. The library is the main legal deposit library in Iceland. The library also has a large manuscript collection with mostly early modern and modern manuscripts, and a collection of published Icelandic music and other audio (legal deposit since 1977). The library houses the largest academic collection in Iceland, most of which can be borrowed for off-site use by holders of library cards. University students get library cards for free, but anyone can acquire a card for a small fee. The library is open for public access.

The library main building is called Þjóðarbókhlaðan. It is a prominent 13,000-square-metre (140,000 sq ft) red and white building near the main campus of the University of Iceland and the National Museum of Iceland. The building took 16 years to complete, finally opening in 1994, the year of the Icelandic republic's 50th anniversary.

Landsbókasafn Íslands – Háskólabókasafn
TypeNational, academic
Items collectedBooks, newspapers, journals, sound recordings
Legal depositYes


Safnahúsið, where the National Library of Iceland was from 1908 to 1994

The first national library of Iceland, Íslands stiftisbókasafn, was established at the instigation of Danish antiquarian Carl Christian Rafn and the Icelandic Literary Society in 1818, and the first books of the library were gifts from Icelanders and Danes. From 1825 the library was housed in the loft of the newly renovated Reykjavík Cathedral and in 1848 the first national librarian, folklorist Jón Árnason, was hired to manage it. In 1847 the manuscript collection was started with the purchase of a large collection of manuscripts from the estate of bishop Steingrímur Jónsson. On the occasion of the 1000th anniversary of the settlement of Iceland in 1874 the library received many gifts and in 1883 Jón Árnason estimated the total number of volumes in the library at 20,000.

In 1881 the library moved into the new house of parliament, Alþingishús, and in 1886 the first Icelandic print law establishing the library as a legal deposit library was passed by the Alþingi. After this the library grew fast and on its 100th anniversary in 1918 it counted 100,000 volumes. In 1906-1908 a special building, Safnahúsið, was erected to house the National Library, the National Museum, the Icelandic National Archives and the Icelandic Natural History Museum.

The library of the University of Iceland was formally established in 1940 when the university moved into the Main Building. Before that time the individual departments had their own libraries. At the time it was debated whether it was practical to develop two academic state libraries in Iceland and so in 1947 a committee was established to decide on a division of tasks between them. Soon, a merger of the two libraries was proposed and in 1956 a new committee was set up to prepare for this eventuality. It seemed clear that a new specially designed building close to the university would be required. The idea was that this new library building, Þjóðarbókhlaðan, would be opened in 1974, on the 1100th anniversary of the settlement of Iceland. The two libraries began working towards this end and through UNESCO library experts were consulted as to the requirements of the new building.

As the year 1974 drew near it became increasingly clear, however, that the Icelandic state would not be able to construct the building in time. The 1973 Oil Crisis, among other things, resulted in a worsening of the state's finances meaning that most of the ideas for the anniversary year had to be significantly reduced or scrapped. A groundbreaking ceremony for the new library was planned, instead of an inauguration, but even this was postponed until 1978 when construction finally began. Initially the building project proceeded well and in 1983 the building was complete on the outside. However, significant funds were needed to complete the interior and for the next ten years the large building stood empty. Attempts were made to finance its completion with a special supplement on property tax, but most of that income was used for other expenses. Finally in 1991 the new government of Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn and Alþýðuflokkurinn made it a priority to complete the building and on December 1, 1994, it finally opened.

While a lot of debate surrounded the building of Þjóðarbókhlaðan at the time, it resulted in vastly improved consultation, study and research facilities for researchers, university students and the general public in Iceland. The combination of the two libraries in one building resulted in an accessible library where users have direct access to the academic collection and reference works on the shelves while the national and manuscript collections are available for on-site consultation in a separate reading hall. While the study facilities of the University of Iceland have improved a lot since 1994, the library main building remains very popular with students.

From 1888 to 1979 the National Library published a list of new books acquired each year. In 1979 this was replaced by the Icelandic National Bibliography, containing an overview of Icelandic published books each year. In 1991 the two libraries implemented a joint online public access catalog system, Gegnir, gradually replacing the card catalogs. Since 2001 this system has been implemented nationwide for all public libraries in Iceland and is managed by a consortium. As of 2008 Gegnir can also be consulted via the European Library.

Since 1996 the library has engaged in several large digitisation projects providing open access to antique maps of Iceland (1998), — journals and newspapers (2002 in collaboration with the National Library of the Faroe Islands and the National Library of Greenland), - a catalog and digital library of manuscripts (in collaboration with the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies and the Arnamagnæan Institute) and the online Icelandic National Bibliography (2008) among others.

The library signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities in September 2012.[1][2]

Administration and roles

The roles of the National and University Library are defined with a special law dating from 2011 and related regulations. The library is defined as an independent higher education institution under the Icelandic Ministry of Education, Science and Culture which commissions the library board, consisting of seven members, and the National Librarian.

Administratively the library is divided into five sections; conservation, services, communication, acquisitions and administration. The section heads form the library executive board, along with the National Librarian.

The library has the duty to collect and catalog all published Icelandic print, electronic and audio material for preservation and continued access. It is to manage its extensive manuscript collection and ensure the continued conservation of all the materials it collects. The library collects materials partly through receiving the legal deposit from publishers and partly through acquisitions and gifts.

The legal deposit is defined in a special law dating from 2001 where the collection of electronic material published on the World Wide Web is defined as being one of the tasks of the library. Currently, the library collects snapshots of all web pages within the Icelandic top-level domain .is using the Heritrix web crawler.

The library is the ISBN and ISSN national center in Iceland. It is also the national center for interlibrary loans. It has the role of coordinator for the national OPAC, Gegnir.

The library has the duty to provide information and library service to the general public. It has a special duty to support the needs of teaching and research at the University of Iceland. The library manages subscriptions to scientific databases and electronic journals for the university and administers the office for national access to bibliographic databases and electronic journals,, jointly financed by the Icelandic state and a consortium of Icelandic libraries, schools and research institutions and companies.


Reference section

The reference section of the library contains reference works, manuals, encyclopedias, dictionaries and bibliographic registries etc. for on-site consultation. Within the reference section there are also computers for consulting the OPAC and for general use by guests. As these are part of the Internet of the University of Iceland, they have access to all electronic reference works that the university subscribes to in addition to the library subscriptions. The same applies to the wireless Internet hotspot available in the whole building. Part of the collection of reference works is available in the reading hall of the national and manuscript collections.

National collection

The national collection comprises all Icelandic published material in print, electronic or audiographic form collected through the legal deposit or acquired by other means. The library actively collects materials relating to Iceland published elsewhere and not subject to the Icelandic law on legal deposit. This equally applies to materials published online. This way, the library has created the most complete collection of Icelandic materials available anywhere in the world which it conserves, stores and makes available for on-site use in a special reading hall it shares with the manuscript collections. Access to highly valuable and rare items is restricted, but the library usually tries to make these available through its digital imaging production line. Within the national collection there are some private collections of individuals that are stored separately.

Manuscript collections

The library manuscript collections contain some 15,000 items, the oldest vellum manuscripts dating from around 1100 and are among the earliest examples of written Icelandic. Most of the collections are paper manuscripts, the oldest ones dating from the end of the 16th century. The youngest items are collections of manuscripts and letters, including electronic materials, from contemporary people which include some of Iceland's most prominent literary figures such as Halldór Laxness. The manuscript collections of the library can be consulted in a separate reading hall where the items are provided by request for on-site use. Some of the manuscripts are cataloged in registers which are available in digital form on the library website. The library is currently working on creating an online catalog for manuscripts jointly with the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies in Reykjavík and the Arnamagnæan Institute in Copenhagen.

Audiovisual collection

The audiovisual collection of the library is available for on-site use using special facilities, screens and headphones, provided by the library. The collection includes materials that are part of the national collection as well as a large collection of international materials, records, films, television programs etc. The main emphasis of the collection, however, is to collect all Icelandic material and make it available to library guests.

Academic collection

The bulk of the academic collection consists of materials from the original library of the University of Iceland. It contains international scientific works and textbooks along with literary works in many languages, including a large collection of translations of Icelandic literature. By request, the library reserves textbooks used in courses taught at the University of Iceland to ensure that they are available for on-site study. Most of the academic collection, however, can be borrowed for off-site use by holders of library cards issued by the library. Students at the University of Iceland get such cards for free. Parts of the collection are available in two library branches on campus.

See also


  1. ^ "Berlin Declaration: Signatories",, Munich: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, retrieved 17 July 2018
  2. ^ "OA in Iceland". Open Access in Practice: EU Member States. OpenAIRE. Retrieved 17 July 2018.

External links

Coordinates: 64°08′34″N 21°57′02″W / 64.14278°N 21.95056°W

Column (typography)

In typography, a column is one or more vertical blocks of content positioned on a page, separated by gutters (vertical whitespace) or rules (thin lines, in this case vertical). Columns are most commonly used to break up large bodies of text that cannot fit in a single block of text on a page. Additionally, columns are used to improve page composition and readability. Newspapers very frequently use complex multi-column layouts to break up different stories and longer bodies of texts within a story. Column can also more generally refer to the vertical delineations created by a typographic grid system which type and image may be positioned. In page layout, the whitespace on the outside of the page (bounding the first and last columns) are known as margins; the gap between two facing pages is also considered a gutter, since there are columns on both sides. (Any gutter can also be referred to as a margin, but exterior and horizontal margins are not gutters.)

FM Belfast

FM Belfast is an electro-pop band from Reykjavík, Iceland.

Its members include Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir, Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson, Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason, Egill Eyjólfsson and Ívar Pétur Kjartansson. (e. is a digital library run by the National and University Library of Iceland which hosts digital editions of historical Icelandic and Danish manuscripts "dating back hundreds of years" from the Icelandic Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies and the Danish Den Arnamagnæanske Samling


Heimskringla (Icelandic pronunciation: ​[ˈheimsˌkʰriŋla]) is the best known of the Old Norse kings' sagas. It was written in Old Norse in Iceland by the poet and historian Snorri Sturluson (1178/79–1241) c. 1230. The name Heimskringla was first used in the 17th century, derived from the first two words of one of the manuscripts (kringla heimsins, "the circle of the world").

Heimskringla is a collection of sagas about Swedish and Norwegian kings , beginning with the saga of the legendary Swedish dynasty of the Ynglings, followed by accounts of historical Norwegian rulers from Harald Fairhair of the 9th century up to the death of the pretender Eystein Meyla in 1177. The exact sources of his work are disputed, but included earlier kings' sagas, such as Morkinskinna, Fagrskinna and the twelfth century Norwegian synoptic histories and oral traditions, notably many skaldic poems. Snorri had himself visited Norway and Sweden. For events of the mid-12th century, Snorri explicitly names the now-lost work Hryggjarstykki as his source. The composition of the sagas is Snorri's.

Hænsa-Þóris saga

Hænsa-Þóris saga (Old Norse: Hœnsa-Þóris saga; Icelandic: Hænsna-Þóris saga; "The Saga of Hen-Thorir") is one of the sagas of Icelanders.


Kjárr, or Kíarr, is a figure of Norse mythology that is believed to be the reflection of the Roman Emperors. In Old Norse sources, he appears as a king of the Valir (Celtic/Romance southerners) who were the people of Valland (the Celtic/Roman south).Many scholars have suggested that the name is derived from Caesar, but the route it took to Scandinavia is not clear.

Magnús Blöndal Jóhannsson

Magnús Blöndal Jóhannsson (8 September 1925 - 1 January 2005) was an Icelandic composer, pianist and conductor.

Magnús studied with Franz Mixa and Victor Urbancic at the Reykjavík College of Music (1935–7, 1939–45) and with Bernard Wagenaar and Marion Bauer at the Juilliard School (1947–53). He was active as répétiteur and conductor at the Icelandic National Theatre (1956–61), and was a producer at the Icelandic State Broadcasting Service until 1974; he was also a founder member of Musica Nova in 1959. After a period in the USA (1977–87), he took up residence again in Iceland.

In the 1950s and early 60s Magnús was at the forefront of the Icelandic avant garde. His Fjórar abstraksjónir (‘Four Abstractions’, 1950) for piano was the first Icelandic 12-note composition; he was also a pioneer in electronic music, composing his Elektrónísk stúdía for woodwind quintet, piano and tape in 1958. In 1971 he stopped composing for almost a decade; this extended silence was eventually broken with his Adagio (1980) for strings, celesta and percussion, which marks a significant stylistic shift in his music. Like the works which followed, it abandons his earlier experimental style for a more simple, neo-romantic lyricism.

In 1995 Jóhannson handed over his works to the National and University Library of Iceland for preservation.

Works (selective list):

Ballet: Frostrósir [Frostwork], dancers, chbr orch, tape, lighting, 1968

Orch: Punktar [Points], orch, tape, 1961; Adagio, str, cel, perc, 1980

Inst and tape: Fjórar abstraksjónir [4 Abstractions], pf, 1951; Ionization, org, 1957; Elektrónísk stúdía, ww qnt, pf, tape, 1958; 15 Minigrams, fl, ob, cl, bn, 1960; Samstirni [Constellations], tape, 1961; Sonorities III, pf, tape, 1972; Solitude, fl, 1983; Sonorities VI, vn, 1989

Songs, incid music, music for film and TV


In Germanic mythology, Myrkviðr (Old Norse "dark wood" or "black forest") is the name of several European forests.

The direct derivatives of the name occur as a place name both in Sweden and Norway, and related forms of the name occur elsewhere in Europe, most famously the Black Forest (Schwarzwald), and may thus be a general term for dark and dense forests of ancient Europe.The name was anglicised by William Morris and later popularized by JRR Tolkien as Mirkwood.

Outline of Iceland

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Iceland:

Iceland – sovereign island nation located in the North Atlantic Ocean between continental Europe and Greenland. It is considered part of Northern Europe. It is the least populous of the Nordic countries, having a population of about 329,000 (January 1, 2015). Iceland is volcanically and geologically active on a large scale; this defines the landscape in various ways. The interior mainly consists of a plateau characterized by sand fields, mountains and glaciers, while many big glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Warmed by the Gulf Stream, Iceland has a temperate climate relative to its latitude and provides a habitable environment and nature.

Renewable energy in Iceland

About 85% of the total primary energy supply in Iceland is derived from domestically produced renewable energy sources. This is the highest share of renewable energy in any national total energy budget.In 2016 geothermal energy provided about 65% of primary energy, the share of hydropower was 20%, and the share of fossil fuels (mainly oil products for the transport sector) was 15%. In 2013 Iceland also became a producer of wind energy.

The main use of geothermal energy is for space heating, with the heat being distributed to buildings through extensive district-heating systems. About 85% of all houses in Iceland are heated with geothermal energy.In 2015, the total electricity consumption in Iceland was 18,798 GWh. Renewable energy provided almost 100% of electricity production, with about 73% coming from hydropower and 27% from geothermal power. Most of the hydropower plants are owned by Landsvirkjun (the National Power Company) which is the main supplier of electricity in Iceland.

Iceland is the world's largest green energy producer per capita and largest electricity producer per capita, with approximately 55,000 kWh per person per year. In comparison, the EU average is less than 6,000 kWh.


Safnahúsið (the Culture House), formerly Þjóðmenningarhúsið, is an exhibition space in Reykjavík, Iceland, which houses an exhibition, Points of View, drawn from various national museums and other cultural institutions. It has been part of the National Museum of Iceland since 2013. The director is Markús Þór Andrésson. The building, Hverfisgata 15, was constructed to house the National Library and at one time also housed a number of other museums.

Skemman (est. 2007) is an online digital library of research publications in Iceland. The National and University Library of Iceland in Reykjavík currently operates the repository. It was overseen by the Teachers' Training College from 2006 to 2009. Contributors of content include the Agricultural University of Iceland, Bifröst University, Hólar University College, Iceland Academy of the Arts, National and University Library of Iceland, Reykjavik University, University of Akureyri, and University of Iceland.

Sölvi Helgason

Sölvi Helgason (August 16, 1820 – November 27, 1895) was an artist, philosopher and drifter in Iceland in the 19th century. If he hadn't been arrested, we might not know anything more about Sölvi than folk tales about his life. He never went to school, but was known to always be painting and writing. It is posited from his writings that he was mentally ill and suffered from paranoia; he was known to accuse people of stealing his work. He often referred to himself by made-up names as well as names of playwrights, artists, musicians and philosophers: Sókrates, Plato, Sólon, Melanchthon, Sölvi Spekingur, Sjúlvi, Húsfriður, Sjúlvi Hinn Vitri, Húmboldt, Spinoza, Göte, Hegel, Schiller, Schott, Newton, Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci, Vasco da Gama, Kant, Lamertine, Skagfjörð Norðlandíus, Beethoven and Shakespeare. Sölvi was convicted several times for vagrancy, falsifying his traveling papers or passport and for petty theft. He was often flogged and spent three years in prison in Denmark. Today approximately 100 of Sölvi's artworks and manuscripts are in the collection of the National and University Library of Iceland and the National Museum of Iceland.

The Horse Gullfaxi and the Sword Gunnfoder

"The Horse Gullfaxi and the Sword Gunnföder" is an Icelandic fairy tale, included by Andrew Lang in The Crimson Fairy Book (1903). It was adapted from "das Pferd Gullfaxi und das Schwert Gunnfjödur", a German translation by Josef Poestion in his Islandische Märchen (1884). Poestion acquired the Icelandic text from his contact, "Prof. Steingrimr Thorsteinsson".

This tale was the only one in Poestion's book that he did not derive from Jón Árnason's Íslenzkar Þjóðsögur og Æfintýri Vol. 2 (1862–64), and hence the only one not orally sourced. The Icelandic text, "Sagan af hestinum Gullfaxa og sverðinu Gunnfjöður" was in the manuscript JS 287 4to, dated 1857-1870, now in the possession of the National and University Library of Iceland. The Icelandic text was eventually published in volume 4 (1956) of the full expanded edition of Jón Árnason's collection.There are a number of other Icelandic tale specimens in the collection that feature a horse or sword of similar names: Glófaxi og Gunnfjöður, Sagan af hestinum Gullskó og sverðinu Gullfjöður, Þorsteinn karlsson og hesturinn Gullskór, Hesturinn Gullskór og sverðið Dynfjöður. The variants give different names of protagonists, featured motifs, etc.

A retold version of it by Ruth Manning-Sanders under the title "Sigurd the King's Son" is in her anthology, A Book of Ogres and Trolls (1972). (also known as Tí, and is an open access digital library run by the National and University Library of Iceland which hosts digital editions of newspapers and magazines published in Iceland, Faroe Islands and Greenland as well as publications in their languages elsewhere, such as Canada which had a large influx of Icelanders in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The project was initially sponsored by the West Nordic Council and launched its web interface under the title VESTNORD in 2002. The web interface has since undergone two major revisions, in 2003 and 2008. With the last revision a decision was made to gradually convert images from the DjVu image format to the more common PDF. Hence, part of the collection can be viewed with the DjVu plugin and part with a PDF reader.

The digital collection covers material from the 17th century to the early 21st century and offers users the ability to collect bookmarks on their free account for ease of use as well as do a text search on the majority of the collection. As of February 2009 there were more than 2,6 million images in the archive of which 2 million had been OCRed.

Initially the aim was to limit access to newspapers published before 1930 to avoid questions of copyright but shortly afterwards the project made an agreement with Morgunblaðið to scan and publish all of their issues to the year 2000. This agreement was followed with others involving both current and defunct newspapers published in the 20th century. Newspapers published after 2000 are usually sent to the library in digital format. The general rule, depending on agreements with each publisher, is to make these available 2–3 years after their initial publication.

Transport in Andorra

Andorra is a landlocked country in Europe, whose transport infrastructure is largely road-based.


Tíminn (English: The Time) was an Icelandic daily newspaper founded in 1917. It had close ties with the Icelandic Progressive Party but after years of financial difficulties, the party severed all ties with the paper in 1993.It merged with the newspaper Dagur in 1996, becoming Dagur-Tíminn. Its last edition came out on 28 August 1996.

Þórdís Gísladóttir

Þórdís Gísladóttir, also Thordis Gisladottir, (born 14 July 1965) is an Icelandic children's book author, poet, novelist and a translator.

She is known for her children's stories about Randalin and Mundi and her poetry has also been well received. Þórdís has worked as a project manager and university teacher at the University of Iceland and the Uppsala University in Sweden, been a web editor for the Nordic Council and she has translated 17 books and a play for the Reykjavik City Theater, edited a journal about children's literature, written about literature for the Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen and made radio programs for The Icelandic National Radio. In 2010 Þórdís Gísladóttir received the Tómas Guðmundsson Award for her first poetry work Leyndarmál annarra ("Secrets of Others"). Her second book of Poetry, Velúr (2014) and her children's books Randalín, Mundi og afturgöngurnar (2015) and Doddi - bók sannleikans (2016), coauthored with Hildur Knútsdóttir, were nominated for the Icelandic literature prize. Her fourth book of poetry Óvissustig (2016) was nominated for The May Star (Maístjarnan), a poetry award given by The Icelandic Writers' Union and The National and University Library of Iceland for the best poetry book of the year.

Þórhallur Gunnarsson

Þórhallur Gunnarsson (born November 11, 1963) is an Icelandic actor and television personality. Þórhallur has a B.A. degree in acting from the Iceland Academy of the Arts and an M.A. degree in television journalism from Goldsmiths, University of London. He was employed on a permanent basis at Borgarleikhúsið theater in Reykjavík from 1996 to 2000 and has worked for RÚV radio, and the Icelandic television channels Sjónvarpið, Skjár einn, and Stöð 2. Þórhallur was head of television of RÚV, as well as serving as the editor and host of Sjónvarpið's highly rated news/talk show Kastljós. Additionally, he has taught acting and engaged in work as a director. He is currently the head of TV productions at the Icelandic production company Sagafilm.

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