With more than 12 million books and objects, the Austrian National Library is the biggest library in Austria. In addition to the more than 3,9 million books, its international prestige is based particularly on the eight special Departments with their unique objects – manuscripts, incunabula, music autographs, photographs, maps, globes, etc. The Library was a universal library until 1920 as far as the collecting activities were concerned (till today that is valid with regard to Austrian writings). Because of the obligatory delivery for all Austrian publications – the legal duty to hand over a specimen copy was extended to a large part of the Monarchy – the Austrian National Library holds all of the writing done in Austria within the political boundaries of the time. In acquiring literature from foreign countries the main focus today is on the humanities.
Together with Google, the Austrian National Library has digitized the approximately 200,000 copyright-free books from the State Hall. These valuable works were published between 1501 and 1850 and can be used free of charge since 2016 via the online catalog of the library, via Google Books and Europeana.