Archival materials can be 1) process records or 2) published materials. Both types of archival materials have a social role of preserving the cultural history, information, evidence, and memory of a group of people. Published materials are different from records of social processes in organisations or business processes. Published materials can be openly available. Thus, they will carry a license informing the public about the rights and conditions associated with the use and reuse of the material. The spectrum of licenses can be from copyright to open-access licenses. However, an open-access license is not the same as the public domain.
Process records vs. published material
Published materials in an organisation can be a product of a project. For example, a book, booklet, magazine, audiovisual recording of an event, audio CD, website, photo, or other creative or media production. They are known as literary and artistic works.
Process records document activity in an organisation or a business. For example, they can be documents created or used in a process of organising an event. The process records can be planning documents, meeting minutes, forms, and letters of resolution in the process of organizing an event.
On the other hand, published material, such as a booklet, might be distributed at the event. However, the planning documents and meeting minutes created or used in the process of the production of the booklet will, instead, be records of a process. Thus, in this case, there will be created both process records and published material.
Access to archival materials
Both process records and published materials can have value as archival materials. Then they need to be protected and preserved for eternity. Even though, the process records might not be openly available for the public. But the published materials, known as literary and artistic work, on the other hand, will normally be openly available for free or for sale. The published materials can be:
- Works of art. i.e. literature, music, drama.
- Other media production
- Published administrative materials. i.e. event tickets, flyers/notices, posters, and jubilee booklet.
These kinds of materials are the mediums to carry a wide variety of disciplines such as burial, martial arts, biology, linguistics, culture, and history.
Publishing and licence
When published materials are openly available, they will carry a license informing the public about the rights and conditions associated with the use and reuse of the material. The purpose of the license is to protect economical benefit, moral and cultural values, as well as the origin, purpose and context of the analogue and digital material. The spectrum of licenses can be from copyright to open-access licenses. However, an open-access license is not the same as the public domain. The type of license should serve the purpose of protecting literary and artistic work. The individual or organisation that produced the material should maintain the license liability.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of responsibility or lack of awareness or confusion in information regarding administering the copyright or open access licenses or public domain of published materials in Tamil society. This is especially visible in the materials about the Eelam Tamil struggle, published in Tamil Eelam, in the absence of the individual or organisation that produced them.
We dedicate this article to all Eelam Tamil creators, writers, photo- & videographers, journalists, as well as media houses, newspaper agencies, publishing houses that we have lost in the liberation struggle of Tamil Eelam.
We also remember November the month of National heroes of Tamil Eelam (Māvīrar mātam; மாவீரர் மாதம்).
Copyright vs Open access vs Public domain