Telephone and address directories are used by genealogists and historians to identify people and businesses from a particular place and era. This guide lists uncataloged directories from Iceland in the Library of Congress collection.
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Taru Spiegel, Reference Specialist, Latin American, Caribbean and European Division
Note: This guide is adapted from an earlier version, which first appeared on the European Reading Room website in 2010.
Created: September 24, 2021
Last Updated: September 24, 2021
The Library of Congress maintains a large collection of foreign and domestic directories. Most of the foreign telephone directories held by the Library of Congress are uncataloged, we have therefore compiled this list of Icelandic directories as a finding aid for our staff and researchers. These directories cover Iceland between the years 1941-2002. In addition to the uncataloged directories listed below, the Library also holds a handful that are cataloged and may be requested using the Library of Congress Online Catalog. To locate these directories, search the online catalog using subject keywords such as "Iceland" and "directories," or the name of a city plus "directories." In addition to telephone directories, this kind of search also yields business/address directories from Iceland.
The uncataloged directories for Iceland featured in this guide are located on Deck 5S of the closed stacks in the Adams Building. Readers must request the items in the Main Reading Room by completing a call slip or asking a reference librarian in the European Reading Room to retrieve the volumes. For more information about requesting items at the Library, please see the "Using the Library of Congress" section in this guide.
The Icelandic State Telephone Service was established in 1906 after telephone and telegraph communications were made possible with an underwater telegraph cable extended from Scotland to Reykjavik. "Sími," the Icelandic word for "telephone," was created from the Viking-era word for "thread" or "wire." The Icelandic telephone and postal services were consolidated as a government unit between 1935 and 1998, after which the State Telephone became a separate entity in preparation for privatization in 2005. Currently Iceland's per capita cell phone use is one of the highest in the world.
Besides using printed telephone directories, a reader may find it helpful to use online directories available for free on the Internet. The telephone portal site Infobel External provides a database of business entries for each European country, including Iceland. There are no listings for private individuals at this site.