Preparing records for transfer to the National Archives

Each group of records for transfer needs to:

  • belong to the same agency recordkeeping system or to the same National Archives-registered series
  • have the same security classification — for digital records this must be unclassified
  • be in record number (control symbol) order.

Transferring physical records

Before you begin

Contact us before you begin preparing records for transfer.

We can provide you with:

  • barcode ranges to apply to your items and containers (your agency is responsible for purchasing item and container barcodes)
  • specific packing guidance based on format
  • advice about managing multiple classifications
  • supporting transfer documentation and guidance, including a  copy of the National Archives' Records labelling, packaging and transportation guidelines.

Preparing records for transfer

When preparing records for transfer, ensure:

  • items are packaged in archival-quality boxes
  • records have container and item barcodes
  • entry details in item lists match the physical item and its container.

Specific formats 

Contact us early for guidance on packing specific formats prior to transfer. 

You may also like to:

Preparing Type 1 containers for transfer

Preparing Type 5 containers for transfer

Transferring digital records

When transferring digital records:

  • Ensure the records are unclassified. Arrangements for transfer of records with a classification of ‘protected’ or above must be discussed on a case by case basis prior to transfer.
  • Migrate records from your agency’s storage locations to portable media, such as USB flash drives or portable hard drives, to facilitate their transfer.
  • Migrate material that is on optical media such as CDs or DVDs, to portable media, such as USB flash drives or portable hard drives, to facilitate their transfer.
  • Ensure the item list includes the file path of each digital record contained on the storage device. We cannot process a digital transfer if the correct file path is not provided for each digital record.
  • Ensure checksums are generated before transfer and are Information Security Manual (ISM) compliant. 
  • Keep a copy of the records on your system until you are advised that the transfer has been successful. We will return your storage device at this point.

We allocate item ID numbers to digital records during our processing.