With approximately 8 million books and objects, the Austrian National Library is the biggest library in Austria. In addition to the more than 3 million books, its international prestige is based particularly on the nine 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.