Development Projects | National Library of Estonia

Development Projects

The vision of the National Library of Estonia is to be a new generation library and a driving force for other Estonian libraries. Taking that into account, the National Library has launched several development projects.

Books on the Move

Our innovation project Books on the Move has set out to bring the lending service into the 21st century. The project is driven by the wish to encourage better use of the physical book collections, and render this body of knowledge relevant and conveniently accessible to the contemporary user. The idea behind the project is as simple as it is ambitious: to make the physical book collections across different Estonian libraries and library systems discoverable in one easy search, and to enable quick delivery of the desired book to the user.

The user, upon finding the book they need, simply clicks "order", without having to consider the location of the book. An algorithm picks the most fitting, most expedient copy across all participating library holdings and library systems. With the help of our logistics partner, the book is then delivered to the user, either to a postal locker, local store or directly to an address indicated. Library lending becomes conveniently integrated into the users’ daily routines. Remote loans will no longer be interlibrary transactions – the physical book becomes mobile in Estonia, and the broader library network will serve as the home library for the user.

As a result of the project, we are creating a platform for the libraries, and a website and mobile application for the end user, where one may seamlessly navigate the features of discovery and delivery: find and order books, manage and monitor orders, set delivery preferences, retrieve information on due dates, pay for delivery and settle overdue fines, and recommend books to friends.

The project runs from 2019 to 2021. The Project Board is led by Kristel Veimann, with Jane Makke, Villu Lõhmus and Heleen Karja serving as Board Members. All relevant parties to the new lending service (libraries, users, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education and Research, local municipalities) are included in the project through various advisory bodies. The Project Manager is Marii Väljataga.

Books on the Move is funded by Enterprise Estonia and their Innovation Procurement Program in the amount of EUR 333,332.50.


Business and Detail Analysis of the Digital Archive 

The analysis phase will determine the exact project timetable, solution architecture, profitability and opportunities for creating automatic open data support and open data packages. As a result, an analysis about new services of the digital archive is created and a readiness arises to acquire and introduce all the necessary software components in the next phase of the project. 

The wider benefits of the development project are as follows: 

  • Estonia’s printed heritage will be available to use digitally for future generations. The project will improve the quality of the National Library’s digital archive service, allowing the proper preservation and convenient use of its objects for other memory institutions, researchers and a wide range of readers. 

  • The National Library digital archive provides storage services for memory institutions. The new digital archive creates conditions for other memory institutions to preserve their materials in the National Library digital archive. 

  • Simpler and more convenient administration. The new digital archive will be simpler to administer, reducing the amount of manual labour. 

  • Possibility to interface new services. The new digital archive allows new services to be interfaced through APIs, thus, it is possible to reuse the digital archive objects in other information systems. 

  • Facilitates the development of Estonian science. The new digital archive creates a prerequisite for conducting research (incl. data and text mining, digital humanities, data science) based on the text corpora in the digital archive. 

  • Supports the conservation of viable Estonian cultural space. The availability of literature, graphics, periodicals and archived websites published in Estonian or related to Estonia will improve. 

The project consists of two phases: the business and detail analysis (starting autumn 2018) and the development project (expected to start in 2020). Eva-Maria Artus is the project manager. This project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. 


Ask us / AI for replying to information requests

The project is part of a project launched by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Government Office to develop and use artificial intelligence.

Problem Statement

The National Library of Estonia receives questions / information requests daily. These questions often have recurring patterns and themes that we use too much human resources to answer. The National Library of Estonia receives about 14,000 e-mails with questions a year. As a result of the project, a prototype of an application based on artificial intelligence will be created. This will be capable of sorting received questions by topic and answering basic questions with recurring patterns on its own.

Project Objective

To develop a solution that would enable the National Library to provide information services to users 24/7; to save resources because answering basic requests will be replaced with a technological process based on artificial intelligence.

Project Output

The purpose of creating the prototype is to confirm that the basic project is feasible and applicable.

The project covers the period from 1 October 2019 to 31 March 2020.

The project is being developed by Intelligent Technologies OÜ.

The project council of the National Library of Estonia is coordinating the project: Katre Riisalu, Karmen Linask, Kristel Veimann.

Business project manager: Mare Kurvet

IT project manager: Agnes Kutsar (RMIT)

The project for creating a prototype chatbot based on artificial intelligence is funded by the European Regional Development Fund measure “Conducting Preliminary, Business and Usability Analyses of the Development of Public Services – 18.05.2015–01.07.2020”.

Automated Text Tagging AI

Pursuant to the National Library of Estonia Act, the main task of the National Library is the collection, long-term preservation and making accessible of all publications published in Estonia and their registration in the database of Estonian National Bibliography (ERB).

All publications in the National Library collections are described and tagged. In order to do that, qualified personnel will examine the publication and determine the tags that reflect the content of the publication. When determining tags, the help of artificial intelligence or algorithms is not used which, first, has created the idea that employee-created tags to reflect the content might not be the most suitable or logical to the user, second, an activity based on this methodology may not always produce the most objective and accurate result, third, creating tags in this way is too resource-intensive for the library (i.e. the state), finally, it is difficult to ensure that all publications on the same topic are always tagged consistently.

Problem statement. Tagging items is a resource-intensive process. It is based on the knowledge and assessments of an individual. Therefore the consistency of tags is not always guaranteed for different editions of the same publication. It is a manual job.

Project objective. To create a prototype based on machine learning and artificial intelligence that will help automate the content analysis and tagging of publications; to support the development of Estonian language technologies; to reduce expenses, increase speed and ensure the objectivity and consistency of tags.

Project output. A detail analysis and a prototype that can analyse and automatically tag the content of a publication when the full text is available.

The project consists of two parts: preparing the detail analysis report and creating the prototype.

Project duration: September 2019 – May 2020 Project manager: Jane Makke (

This project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Business Analysis of the National Bibliography Service

Pursuant to the National Library of Estonia Act, the main task of the National Library is the collection, long-term preservation and making accessible of all national publications published in Estonia and their registration in the database of Estonian National Bibliography (ERB). In addition to national publications, the data of other publications published abroad in Estonian and by Estonian authors is also registered in the National Bibliography, as well as translations of the works by Estonian authors published abroad and publications about Estonians or the Estonian language. All publications are registered in the National Bibliography, irrespective of whether they are published in printed form, on any other physical medium or electronically online.

Problem statement. The data model that the National Bibliography is based on and the technical solutions providing the National Bibliography service are obsolete. They do not ensure the necessary protection of National Bibliography data and do not allow flexible interfacing with other information systems to ensure the availability of the data of Estonian publications in machine-readable form to other libraries and partners. They also do not support the reuse and cross-usage of data outside the library sector. The current information system does not allow the automation of service processes. Therefore, providing the service requires manual labour in places where machines could do it in the future.

Project objective. The aim of the project is to create the most cost-effective and optimal business model and solution for providing the national bibliography service in the future. The project will ensure greater end-user satisfaction with the service and will help increase reuse and cross-usage of national bibliographic data.

Project output. The result of the project is a business analysis of the service. The business analysis results in a mapping and analysis of the current situation that describes the business model and processes related to the current service provision, the expenses and management model, related e-services and functionalities, the users, parties and interfaces. In addition, data quality and security are analysed. The business analysis will point out significant risks and bottlenecks of the current service and evaluate the sustainability of the current arrangement of the service. In addition it will show user satisfaction with the service and what their actual needs and expectations are for the service.

The project is divided into three parts:

  • description and analysis of the current situation;
  • the design of the future business service and the general description of the technical solution;
  • technical specification document for the detail analysis tender.

Project duration: August 2019 – March 2020 Project manager: Jane Makke (

This project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.