Archive is the primary source for knowledge and information. There is a confusion among Tamils about the tamil term “ஆவணம்” (Aavanam). Tamils use the one and only word “ஆவணம்” in different contexts that can be confusing and can be misunderstood.
In Norwegian “arkiv” (archive) can refer to 1) archival document, 2) archive division or archive service in an organisation, 3) a place where archival document are stored 4) archival institution/ archive depot
Almost all Tamil organisations do not have the second variety, “2) archive division or archive service in an organisation”.
Tamils refer the word ஆவணம் to the physical or virtual document that is actually ஆவணப் பொருள் (archival document). Then the process of documenting history in the form of text, video or audio, or graphic, etc. This is a reconstruction or re-presentation of history. This is a record (பதிவு) of an activity carried out by the publishing or producing organisation. They also name the product of documenting the history as ஆவணம். Hence the reconstruction or re-presentation of history can be an archival material of the publishing or producing 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 material and organisational archive.
There is the 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 (ஆவணப் பொருள்) become a source for knowledge and information for PEARL to create the 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.
Archival material reference:
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, http://noolaham.net/project/248/24766/24766.pdf.
PEARL. (n.a). “Black July: A Tamil Genocide”. 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.