There are clear boarders between public and private archives. But some public archives can have floating boundaries between private and public archives. In diaspora, private organisations are juristically private sector that create private archives. Even if they are categorised as private sector, the functionalities and activities of many organisations by migrated societies could be public bodies that create public archives, if they were in their homeland.
Private organisations with functionalities and activities for and by stateless ethnicities have an indirect social role to create and preserve the cultural and historical heritage of that society. This becomes a critical situation if there are no representative cultural and historical heritage not in their homeland nor in the diaspora.
An archive depot has a primary function to preserve and give access to archives from various public and private archives.
Libraries and Museums
Libraries and museums have preservation as its secondary function. Typically, libraries and museums preserve individual items. But archive focus on preserving the contextual information of, for instance, an organisation archive. Many Tamil organisations that are named as library do preservation activity of individual items, especially published materials.
Company/ Organisation/ Institution archive
An organisation archive contains incoming and outgoing documents of that particular organisation. This archive contains documents created as a result of the functions and activities of that particular organisation. The organisation archives are within the organisation/ company/ institution. And organisation archive of private organisations might either have limited or no public access.
A person or organisation can collect materials. The materials can be in various kinds of medium (text/ audio/ video/ artefacts) created by different operating functions (person/ organisation/ other). These collections are normally a gathering of individual items from various archive creators. The collection can base on a particular topic or format. This is a branch of the private archive. This kind of archive is locally within the person or organisation. And it might either have limited or no public access.
When an organisation archive or archive collection is preserved, it means that the materials and documents are stored, organised, categorised, and has an access plan for now and future. In Norway, an organisation archive or an archive collection is given to an archive depot that preserves various private organisation archives, public archives, as well as archive collections and personal archives. When a collection is given to an archive depot, the collections are preserved under the collector’s name. And the organisation archive is preserved under the organisation’s name.
Private archives preserved at Norwegian archive institutions:
- National Archives (Riksarkivet)
- County municipal and municipal archives (Fylkeskommunale og kommunale arkiv)
- Special archives (Spesialarkiver) such as The labour movement’s archive and library (Arbeiderbevegelsens arkiv og bibliotek), the archive after the Norwegian Lutheran Mission Association (arkivet etter Norsk Luthers misjonssamband), the Norwegian Jazz Archive (Norsk Jazzarkiv) and others
- Museums: For eksemple The Defense Museum (Forsvarsmuseet), the Whaling Museum (Hvalfangsmuseet), local museums
- Libraries: They preserve especially collections. For instance the Norwegian National library private collection
Private archives are typically disordered when they are given to an archive institution. Because of economical and resource challenge, the archive institutions have challenges in organising, ordering and cataloguing private archives. That makes the archives inaccessible at the archive depots. By sorting and ordering the archive within the organisation before giving away to an archive institution will relieve and make sure that the archive becomes available for public access.