Archive is the primary source for knowledge and information. The term “archive” has several meaning. The Norwegian term for “archive” is “arkiv” and it can refer to:
- archival document
- archive division or archive service in an organisation
- a place or room where archival document are stored
- archival institution/ archive depot
The Tamil word for “archival document” is “ஆவணம்” (Aavanam). But there is a confusion with this Tamil term among Tamils. They use this term in different contexts, which can create confusion and misunderstanding. Another major aspect is that almost all Tamil organisations lack a functioning “archive division or archive service in their organisation”.
Tamils refer the word ஆவணம் to a physical or virtual document. It can also be mentioned as ஆவணப் பொருள் (archival document). The other term is “ஆவணப்படுத்தல்” (documention). This term refer to a process of documenting an act/ event/ process. But in Tamil context it might be narrowed to re-tell past events or history events in the form of text, video, audio, graphic or other forms. This is a reconstruction or re-presentation of history. The document that is created by re-telling, reconstructing or re-presenting historical events become a new record (பதிவு/ pathivu). The new record (பதிவு/ pathivu) is a result of an activity carried out by the publishing or producing organisation. The resulting document will be an historical archival document (ஆவணம்/ aavanam) of that organisation.
Here is a screenshot of a part of the web page “Black July: A Tamil Genocide” by the US based non-profit organisation PEARL. This is taken as an example to explain the difference between original archival document and organisational archive.
Here is a newspaper clipping, with the heading “Disposal of dead bodies without inquiry: C.R.M. expresses alarm”. This is an archival document from the archive of “Saturday Review” newspaper. This archival document (ஆவணம்/ ஆவணப் பொருள்) become a source for knowledge and information for PEARL to create the website content about Black July 1983. The content is a re-presentation of the history for contemporary audience based on the original archival material. Now the whole webpage, “Black July: A Tamil Genocide”, will become an archival material of PEARL.
Saturday Review (11.06.1983) – PDF
The original archival document: «Saturday Review» (noolaham.net)
Saturday Review. (1983). Newspaper article Disposal of dead bodies without inquiry: C.R.M. expresses alarm by Saturday Review. Saturday Review (Noolaha id. 24766). Noolaham Foundation. Retrieved from http://noolaham.net/project/248/24766/24766.pdf.
PEARL. (n.a). “Black July: A Tamil Genocide”. Retrieved from https://pearlaction.org/rememberingblackjuly/.
Reproduction of this article is allowed when used without any alterations to the contents and the source, DsporA Tamil Archive, is mentioned.