Preparing records for transfer

In accordance with Part 6 of the State Records Act, State Records receives transfers of permanent official records from State and Local Government agencies and authorities.

This is done in line with arrangements approved by the Director, State Records, and administered by the Archives team. Arrangements for the transfer of records include how records are to be boxed, and how those boxes are labelled.

Boxing records for transfer

The first step in preparing records for transfer is to ensure that your agency engages in recordkeeping practices that result in records that are complete, accurate, and controlled.

Records come in many physical formats but the most common format is files. Before boxing files for transfer it is important to ensure that the records are complete and accurate by:
• completing left-over filing
• merging the content of temporary covers into the original file/s
• closing the files
• ensuring that files are labelled clearly, and that date range and disposal schedule information is recorded on the file cover.

Files should be checked for duplicate documents, taking into consideration that copies may have been placed in different contexts, form part of another document to which it is attached, or contain annotations, all of which may render the duplicate document unique (Keeping Archives, 3rd edition, Chapter 6, p218).

Boxing requirements are in place to reduce the risk of causing physical damage to the records, and to ensure that State Records is able to retrieve items for loan or viewing at its Research Centre in an efficient and timely manner.

When boxing records, ensure that:
• records are in order
• records are all facing the same way and control numbers are easily accessible
• boxes are not over-filled - leave approximately 4 centimetres of space to allow records to be removed and replaced without damage
• boxes are not under-filled because this may cause records to bend and lose shape
• bulldog clips, paperclips and other metal fasteners are removed (staples and split pin file fasteners are acceptable)
• elastic bands are removed
• post-it notes are removed - if the information on the post-it note is important to the file, photocopy it and place the photocopy on the file
• documents are secured to the file - ideally documents should be secured to a file using a plastic tube-clip; in the absence of a tube-clip use another type of file fastener (that is not metal, adhesive, or rubber) or tie the file with archival ribbon/legal tape
• newspaper clippings or documents printed on thermal papers are photocopied and the photocopy included in the file
• documents stored on USB sticks, CDs, and DVDs that are part of the file have been printed and placed on the file
• records showing signs of mould, insect, water or other damage are identified and isolated, and Collection Management Services is advised.

Records stored in lever arch folders or metal binders must be removed from the folders, placed into file covers or manila folders, secured with tube-clips, and labelled appropriately (including file part numbers if necessary). If there is any relevant information recorded on the front or spine of the lever arch folder or binder (e.g. file titles, date range, control numbers, etc), photocopy that information and place the photocopy in the front of the new file/s.

Do not use adhesive tape on permanent records, either to repair or adhere documents within a file. Adhesives are detrimental to paper long term and do not retain adhesion over time. If plastic sleeves are used in files it is important that they are not overfilled because they will split leaving loose documents. Do not laminate documents.

If you have photographs, slides or negatives, store them in archivally-sound albums and sleeves. These are available from commercial archival suppliers like Albox or Archival Survival.

For advice about preparing records in other formats including volumes, bundles, maps, plans, index cards, photographs and negatives, microforms, and other non-standard formats, contact the Archive Team.

For advice about preparing records that do not fit in State Records standard sized boxes, contact the Archive Team.

If records are transferred and do not meet the physical requirements of State Records, they may be returned to your agency for correction at your cost, or your agency may be invoiced, as per State Records’ regulated fees and charges, for the time taken by an Archivist to re-process the records.

Box types

It is standard archival practice to store records in boxes. Records stored loose on shelves or otherwise unprotected by a box are “susceptible to damage from dirt and dust, insects, fire and water. An added advantage of boxes is that they act as a buffer around the surrounding environmental conditions, and the temperature and humidity levels are usually lower inside boxes, than they are outside. Finally, paper boxes will also absorb water should a flood occur.” (Keeping Archives, 3rd edition, Chapter 3, p80)

There are a number of standard box types available to accommodate various formats of records. The following boxes have been specifically designed to fit on State Records’ repository shelving to maximise the use of space and enable safe retrieval and handling:

  • Type 1: depth 390 mm x width 170 mm x height 260 mm; suitable for files and small volumes
  • Type 2: depth 390 mm x width 85 mm x height 260 mm; suitable for files and small volumes
  • Type 3: depth 390 mm x width 165 mm x height 120 mm; suitable for small index cards
  • Type 5: depth 390 mm x width 220 mm x height 145 mm; suitable for large index cards
  • Type 10: depth 390 mm x width 440 mm x height 120 mm; suitable for medium sized volumes, dot matrix computer printouts, and other records that do not fit in a Type 1 sized box.

Only official State Records boxes may be used. State Records standard boxes come with a State Records box label stamped on the front. State Records cannot accept other types of boxes.

If you have records in a format that cannot be accommodated in one of these box types, or have other issues relating to the storage of permanent records, contact the Archives team.

Box suppliers

State Records’ Type 1 boxes are available from:

Cavan Corrugated Products (part of VISY)

2/9 Sharp Court



Phone (Joe): 0407 398 674

Phone (Ryan): 8162 2500 


Fax: 1300 139 367
N.B. Please quote the product code S8020 Type 1. Please make sure that you add Type 1 to the end of the product code, Recall have a similar product with a similar product code (S8020) that State Records does not accept.


The Information Management Group (TIMG)
Contact: Maurice Hewson
Ph: 8416 5606
Fax: 1300 669 140
Product code: type 1

If you wish to order a different sized box type, please contact the individual supplier directly. Cavan Corrugated Products (VISY) should be able to offer all box types but other suppliers on-sell the product and may not offer all sizes.

Please note that State Records will only accept boxes with the State Records box label printed on the front. We do not accept boxes from other companies that have been turned inside out.

Box labelling

Boxes should be labelled in pencil until you have been contacted by Collection Management Services to arrange a date for transfer, at which time boxes should then be labelled in black permanent marker. State Records will not accept boxes with crossings out, liquid paper or sticky labels on them.

If changes to the consignment are requested which require that box labelling is amended and you have already labelled the boxes in permanent marker, turn the boxes inside out and re-label them, or use new boxes.

Boxes must be labelled clearly and legibly.

The State Records pre-stamped box label has four sections.


Section 1: Series number and consignment number, e.g. GRS 5000/1/P

Section 2: the date range of the unit (in years), e.g. 1986 - 1988, or 1992

Section 3: first control number

Section 4: last control number



Sections 3 and 4 relate to the system of arrangement of the records and the information to enter will depend on how the records are arranged. In general, Section 3 should contain the first control number and Section 4 should contain the last control number. For chronological series, Sections 3 and 4 can remain empty.

The details recorded in sections 2, 3 and 4 should match the details listed in the Unit half of the consignment list spreadsheet.

The unit (box) number should be written in the bottom right hand corner.

Different record series will have different systems of arrangement. If you are unsure about how to label the boxes, contact the Archives team.

Example of a box labelled for an annual single number file series:

Example of a box labelled for a three-tiered numerical file series:

Example of a box labelled for an alphabetical series:

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