About the BNP
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Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal

Campo Grande, 83

1749-081 Lisboa


Tel. 21 798 20 00
Fax 21 798 21 40

Mission and activities

The BNP’s mission is to collect, process and preserve the Portuguese documentary heritage, including documents in Portuguese and about Portugal, whatever their format or carrier. It is also charged with studying and disseminating that heritage and ensuring the conditions which people need in order to be able to enjoy it, as well as classifying and inventorying the nation’s bibliographic heritage assets.

Under this definition, which is set out in the Organic Law governing the BNP, the Library continues to pursue the essence of the fundamental purposes and objectives for which it was created in 1796. Naturally, these days our responsibilities are reflected in the provision of a more varied range of services to both Portuguese culture and the public in general – among other ways, via the Online Catalogue of our collections and the Digital National Library – and the professionals in the publishing and information and documentation sectors.


To this end the BNP acts as the National Bibliographic Agency, which is responsible for the mandatory legal deposit of publications and the country’s ISSN, ISMN and CIP (Cataloguing in Publication) services, the recording and dissemination of the Portuguese National Bibliography, and the coordination and management of PORBASE – the National Bibliographic Database. In this respect it has also undertaken a variety of actions that help to promote the professional development of libraries, in conjunction with its role as the body with responsibility for national standards concerning documentation and information in Portugal.


Protecting and enhancing the country’s bibliographic heritage are another two fundamental aspects of the BNP’s mission, in its dual role as the entity that is responsible for preserving and controlling that heritage and the keeper of Portugal’s largest collection of bibliographic treasures. We are also charged with studying and publicising the latter in Portugal and abroad, which we do by means of a range of projects involving inter-institutional cooperation, exhibitions, research activities and publications.