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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of ALM organizations within a Nordic model of the public sphere. Design/methodology/approach This is a conceptual paper discussing the role of archives, libraries and museums in light of a societal model of the Nordic public sphere. Throughout the discussions, the author draw on empirical and theoretical research from sociology, political science, media studies, cultural policy studies, archival science, museology, and library and information science to help advance our understanding of these organizations in a wider societal context. Findings The paper shows that ALM organizations play an important role for the infrastructure of a civil public sphere. Seen as a cluster, these organizations are providers of information that can be employed in deliberative activities in mediated public spheres, as well as training arenas for citizens to use prior to entering such spheres. Furthermore, ALM organizations are themselves public spheres, as they can serve specific communities and help create and maintain identities, and solidarities, all of which are important parts of a civil public sphere. Research limitations/implications Future research should investigate whether these roles are an important part of ALM organizations contribution to public spheres in other regions of the world. Originality/value Through introducing a theoretical model developed within sociology and connecting it to ongoing research in archival science, museology, and library and information science, the author connects the societal role of archives, libraries, and museums to broader discussions within the social sciences.
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