Transferring to the Archives

Selected Australian Government information and records are transferred to the Archives for preservation and access. These are records that have been identified as 'Retain as National Archives' (RNA) in a records authority and which are no longer used on a regular basis.

Transferring records to the Archives is a collaborative process. We will provide advice to help your agency identify and prepare your records for transfer. Transfers of paper-based, audio-visual and digital material are prioritised based on the content, age and quantity of the records.

There are several phases to transferring your records to the Archives:

Identify your records for transfer

Please confirm with your records management area that the records are sentenced as RNA under a current records authority and that the business use has ended. Records are sentenced using either your own agency specific records authority or a general records authority such as AFDA Express.

Contact us to discuss your transfer

If you are ready to transfer RNA records to the Archives, or if you want to ask us about the transfer procedure, please contact the Agency Service Centre. We will ask you some questions to confirm that the records are suitable for transfer. See Initial assessment questions for the kinds of questions we are likely to ask.

Timing and location of transfer for physical records will depend on the schedule of our national transfer plan.

For digital records, we will discuss our digital transfer requirements, such as format, size, metadata, and carrier media.

Prepare your records for transfer

Make sure the records belong to the same series, have the same security classification and are in record number (control symbol) order. Refer to the guidelines in the transfer pack for instructions on labelling, packaging and transporting physical records.

Provide digital records to us on agreed portable carrier media such as a USB or hard drive.

For more information see Preparing records for transfer.

Complete and return transfer documents

We will send you transfer documents to complete and return. These are similar for physical and digital transfers.

The transfer documents are a Transfer Proposal Approval (TPA) form and a format specific item list, together with guidelines on how to complete them. For physical transfers, we provide guidelines on record labelling, packaging and transportation.

You can start preparing the records for transfer while you complete the forms, to avoid double handling and check that the records match the information in the item list and TPA.

Transfer approval and confirmed delivery date

After reviewing your TPA and item list, we may have further questions or ask you to revise the transfer documents before we approve the transfer.

When the transfer is approved we will schedule the delivery date and location of the transfer and advise you of the details.

Transfer completion

Your agency is responsible for transporting the records to the agreed Archives repository on the agreed delivery date, at your agency’s expense. You need to keep the records in your agency’s custody until then.

Any classified records need to be handled and transported in accordance with the Australian Government Protective Security Framework. Ask your agency security area for advice.

We will advise you when your transfer is complete and provide you with an item listing. After completion of a digital transfer, we will return your portable USB or hard drive to you.

More information:

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019