Nordic collections cover various time periods, depending on subject. Emphasis in history, culture, and literature is placed on materials from the 19th century to the present, as well as the Viking Age (AD 700s-1000s), though intervening periods are also covered. Language materials cover the Proto-Norse/runic period (AD 200s) onward.
The geographic scope of materials in the Nordic studies collections covers the five Nordic nations: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The Faroe Islands, Greenland, Svalbard, Åland, and the greater Sápmi region are included in the Nordic region. Materials on the Nordic diaspora, especially in North America, are also collected.
The Nordic collections consist primarily of materials in Swedish, Norwegian (Bokmål), Danish, and English. Finnish materials are also actively collected, though the Finnish collections are smaller due to the Finnish program beginning relatively recently, in the 1990s. Materials in Icelandic and Nynorsk are also well-represented and materials in Faroese and Old Norse are collected as available. Materials in Sami and Greenlandic (Kalaallisut) are not actively collected, but this is largely due to lack of availability. Some materials in other major European languages, especially German and French, may also be selected.
Materials translated into English from Nordic languages are actively collected on all topics related to the Nordic region. Materials translated from Nordic minority languages (e.g. Faroese, Greenlandic, Sami) into national majority languages (Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Finnish), are also selected. Other translations are generally not collected.
Books and journals are generally acquired in print format, though journals are selected in electronic format whenever available. Audivisual media materials, especially films and some television programs, are typically selected in DVD format. When possible, Region 1 and Region 0 DVDs with English subtitles are preferred. DVDs in Region 2 PAL format with English subtitles may also be selected.