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Digital records transfer
Transfer is a process that results in Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) taking custody, but not ownership of public records from a Victorian government agency.
The step-by-step information below will guide you through the process of transferring digital records to PROV.
Note: this guide can be printed using your browser's print functionality.
STEP 1 – Confirm records are eligible for transfer
PROV only accepts records which were created or received by Victorian government agencies in the course of their work or business (i.e. public records) which are of permanent value, and are to be retained as state archives.
Records eligible for transfer to PROV are those that have been identified as permanent using the appropriate Retention and Disposal Authority (RDA) and are no longer needed by the agency for administrative purposes i.e. the records are no longer being added to or updated, and are not accessed frequently.
confirm records are classed as permanent under an appropriate RDA
confirm records are no longer needed for administrative purposes
confirm adequate resources are available to plan and execute the transfer project.
respond to any queries seeking confirmation that specific records are eligible for transfer to PROV.
Once records have been transferred into PROV custody you can still access or retrieve them, but they cannot be added to or updated.
STEP 2 – Investigate options for generating VERS Encapsulated Objects (VEOs)
In this step you will identify if your recordkeeping system is capable of exporting digital records in compliance with the Victorian Electronic Record Strategy (VERS) standard for the management of electronic records. Digital records can only be transferred to the PROV digital archive in the form of VERS Encapsulated Objects (VEOs). A recordkeeping system that has been certified as fully VERS compliant by PROV has VERS Version 2 VEO generation capability. Manual creation of VERS Version 3 VEOs is also possible using PROV's neoVEO App but it can be an involved and technical process, so if this is required you should engage with PROV early on to build an understanding of the processes and resources required.
review your recordkeeping system’s VEO creation capability. You will most likely need to engage your IT department, and possibly your system manufacturer, to assist with this step
if your system does not have VEO creation capability, contact us and provide information on the recordkeeping systems involved
respond to any queries received from agencies and allocate a transfer archivist to coordinate activities with the agency.
In this step you will complete and submit a PRO 21A Proposal to Transfer Permanent Records Form which will initiate the transfer project with PROV. By completing this form you are confirming:
the records are classified as permanent under a current RDA
the records are no longer required for administrative purposes
the agency is prepared to allocate appropriate resources to complete the transfer (i.e. staff, time and budget)
the high level description of the records (including date range, format and quantity).
identify if there are any related permanent records already in PROV custody by searching PROV’s online catalogue
if you have not undertaken a digital transfer project before, or if the transfer is complex (i.e. large quantities of records, multiple record types or creating agencies), you should contact us providing information on the proposed transfer prior to completing the form
complete the PRO 21A Proposal to Transfer Permanent Records Form and submit to PROV.
assign a transfer archivist as your primary PROV contact during the transfer project
review and agree the transfer proposal, time frames and scheduling
the transfer archivist will also provide advice on the record series which will inform step 4.
Search the collection (via search box at the top of the web page)
Don’t start processing the records yet, as there will be specific requirements to follow. You don’t want to have to re-do your work later!
STEP 4 – Identify and describe the record series
In this step you will identify and describe each new record series proposed for transfer, each existing series to which records will be added and the proposed access arrangements. The following types of series information will need to be provided:
purpose – why was the record series created?
content – what type of information do the records contain?
system of arrangement and control – how were the records managed?
date range of the series
record creators - government agency/agencies that have been involved in creating or adding information to a record series over time.
complete a PRO 21B Series Report: New Series Form or PRO 21B Series Report: Subsequent Consignment Form for each record series proposed for transfer, and submit directly to your assigned PROV transfer archivist.
propose access arrangements, i.e. open to the public; or closed to the public under a particular section of the Public Records Act1973
Before records can be transferred, access arrangements are negotiated between the transferring agency and PROV. Under the Public Records Act1973 records transferred to PROV are open to public unless specifically closed by both the minister responsible for the transferring agency and the minister responsible for PROV.
If the records proposed for transfer may be made available to the public, your agency’s responsible officer is required to sign a PRO 7A Access Authority form acknowledging the records’ open access status.
If PROV and your agency agree that the records should be recommended for closure to protect sensitive and confidential information:
PROV prepares the PRO 7B/C/E Access Authority form specifying the records to be closed, the grounds for closure, and closure periods
your agency seeks the minister’s approval to close the records by outlining the grounds for closure, and the recommended closure period. The minister indicates approval by signing the PRO 7B/C/E Access Authority.
PROV then seeks our minister’s approval for the same arrangements.
provide to PROV details of the records’ contents and advice on the sensitivity of the records
for records that are to be closed to the public, prepare a ministerial brief and submit along with the PRO 7B/C/E Access Authority form to their responsible minister for approval.
provide assistance with access decisions based on the Public Records Act1973 and any relevant precedents
prepare any PRO 7A/B/C/E Access Authority forms that require signatures from an agency’s responsible officer or minister
prepare a ministerial brief to submit along with any PRO 7B/C/E Access Authority to the PROV minister.
Records that are closed to the public may still be retrieved by the responsible agency.
STEP 6 – Generate compliant VEOs
In this step you will initially create sample VEOs and test for compliance with the VERS standard. Once the VEO creation process has been validated, compliant VEOs will be generated in preparation for transfer to PROV.
The initial activities in this step will vary depending on whether the records are managed in a VERS Version 2 compliant recordkeeping system that has VEO generation capability:
if so, a representative sample of VERS Version 2 VEOs should initially be generated and tested to confirm the VEOs comply with mandatory requirements of the VERS standard
if not, some preliminary work will need to be undertaken in consultation with the PROV transfer archivist, to determine how the records can be best represented using the VERS Version 3 record structure and metadata scheme. This process, known as manual VEO creation, is typically repetitive in nature, often requiring several attempts before a final VEO ‘design’ can be confirmed. Testing is required at each stage in the process.
create VERS Version 2 VEOs using your VERS compliant recordkeeping system or VERS Version 3 VEOs using PROV's neoVEO App
test VEOs using validation software available from PROV
submit sample VEOs to PROV for further evaluation and validation testing.
validate sample VEOs and provide guidance on VEO design and creation.
STEP 7 – Prepare VEOs for delivery to PROV
In this step you will organise the VEOs into manageable batches (known as sets) in preparation for ingest to the PROV digital archive. You will also generate a manifest for each set using the manifest generator program provided in the VEO toolkit.
Once this is done you will copy the VEOs in their sets, together with their manifests, to approved portable storage media ready for delivery to PROV.
The time needed for these tasks will depend on the overall number of VEOs to be delivered to PROV as part of the transfer, assuming the task is performed manually (PROV does not have a tool to automate the set creation process). Limits apply to the number of VEOs allowed per set and to the overall set size (i.e. total number of MB or GB). These details will be advised by the PROV transfer archivist.
organise VEOs into sets and generate manifests
copy the sets and manifests to portable media.
specify the maximum number of VEOs per set and maximum overall set size in MB or GB
provide PROV specific data required for manifest generation.
STEP 8 – Deliver VEOs to PROV
Once the records are fully prepared and have been transferred to portable media, you can contact the PROV transfer archivist to arrange and confirm a delivery date and method (by hand or approved courier).
The transfer archivist will then coordinate ingest of the VEOs into the digital archive. Ingest involves final validation testing to ensure compliance with the VERS standard.
arrange a delivery date and method with your PROV digital transfer archivist.
agree delivery requirements including date and method
confirm receipt of the digital media (This is NOT a formal acceptance of custody – the agency is still deemed to have custody of these records)
coordinate ingest of VEOs into the digital archive (including final validation testing)
refer any VEOs that fail final validation back to the agency for repair, along with details of the nature of the error
accept custody and provide formal acceptance notice to agency of VEOs that were successfully ingested.
there may be an extended period between the receipt of the VEOs by PROV and the formal acceptance of custody; this can be due to the size or quantity of VEOs, or to ingest priorities for the digital archive. Your digital transfer archivist will discuss these factors with you
your agency will retain custody and responsibility for digital records until you receive a formal notice from PROV advising that the VEO encapsulating that record has been successfully ingested into the digital archive
your agency should not delete their copy of a record from their recordkeeping system until the formal acceptance notice is received.
STEP 9 – Resubmit error VEOs
In this step you will repair and resubmit any VEOs that failed final validation testing during ingest into the PROV digital archive.
The PROV transfer archivist will provide details of any files affected and the nature of the error.
repair and resubmit any error VEOs identified during ingest.
accept custody and provide formal acceptance notice to agency of VEOs that were successfully ingested on resubmission.
STEP 10 – Close transfer project
Once all VEOs to be ingested into the digital archive, have returned a formal notification that PROV has accepted custody, the transfer project can be closed.