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Transferring Electronic Records

Texas Digital Archive (TDA) Transfer Procedures

According to Texas Government Code 441.181, The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) shall take legal custody of and preserve archival state records and shall endeavor to collect and preserve other historical resources determined by TSLAC to possess sufficient value to warrant continued preservation in the state archives.  The state archivist shall identify and designate archival state records and arrange for their transfer to the custody of the commission in accordance with GC Sec 441.186.

For more information about transferring records to TSLAC, see State Agency Requests for Archival Review and Archival Transfer on the TSLAC website.

These procedures are designed to instruct agencies in how to properly prepare and transfer archival state records in electronic format to the Texas Digital Archive (TDA).


Due to the technical requirements imposed by electronic records, TSLAC cannot receive electronic records in the same manner as paper records.  Prior to transferring electronic records to TSLAC, an agency records management officer (RMO) should contact the archives at for questions about transferring records.

For specific questions about transferring electronic records to TSLAC, an agency records management officer (RMO) should contact either:

Records to be transferred

TSLAC will accept state agency records that have been scheduled as “A” (Archival) on an approved records retention schedule and, when appropriate, records that are continuations of series already accessioned.

If the records have an “R” (Review) designation on an approved records retention schedule then a TSLAC archivist will conduct an appraisal review before initiating the transfer.

Timing of transfers

Archival state records shall be transferred to the custody of TSLAC when they are no longer needed for the administration of the state agency unless state law requires that the records remain in the custody of the agency.  (GC 441.186(d))

When transferring electronic records, the agency is permanently transferring official custody of the records to TSLAC including responsibility for handling Public Information Act (PIA) requests.  The agency should identify any restrictions on access to information contained in the records and cite the appropriate section of the Texas Public Information Act (GC Chapter 552), or other laws and statutes.

Each agency is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the records (see “Protecting integrity of records” section below) it transfers on physical media to TSLAC. For records transferred by a media-less method (SFTP, as an email attachment, downloaded from the Internet, etc.), TSLAC shall work with the agency to ensure integrity and security of the records during the transfer process. Each state agency shall transfer electronic records to TSLAC promptly in accordance with the agency’s records retention schedule.

Temporary retention of copy

The agency should retain all copies of any permanent electronic records transferred to TSLAC until it receives from TSLAC that the transfer was successful and that TSLAC has assumed responsibility for continuing preservation of the records.

Transfer documentation

The details of the transfer will be covered in consultation phase with the agency and TSLAC agreeing upon the documentation needed to accompany the records and the method of transfer.

The agency must include an archival transfer form and an archival transfer inventory spreadsheet of what is contained in the transfer down to the folder level.  (An item level description is desirable but not necessary if providing a checksum digest of the entire transfer.)

  • The inventory must include total number of folders, files, and total size (in MB, GB, TB) of the entire transfer.
  • The inventory must indicate the quantity of physical media (# of disks), and a directory listing on each media item.
  • Any other documentation adequate to identify, service, and interpret the permanent electronic records should be included.
  • A checksum digest of all the files in the transfer (see Protecting integrity of the records below).

If you need help with completing the documentation listed above, TSLAC has created a tool to create the archival transfer inventory and checksum digest. Please contact TDA staff to discuss.

Transfer methods

As part of the consultation, TSLAC and the agency will agree on the transfer method.

For the transfer of permanent records to TSLAC, the agency shall use only media that is sound and free from defects.  Transfer methods may depend on the size of the transfer and number of files.  Acceptable transfer methods include:

Physical Transfer: (TSLAC can return or provide transfer media upon request)

  • Optical Disc (CD, DVD, Blu-Ray) – should be formatted as a data disc, not a photo CD, audio CD, or video CD/DVD.
  • USB Flash Drive
  • Hard Drive
  • Other media – if the agency has permanent electronic records on other media it will need to be discussed in the consultation prior to transfer

 Media-less Transfer

  • Email – Only viable for small transfers of non-restricted records (less than 2 MB). Must be sent as attachment to:
  • Web upload (using BOX) – Must discuss with TSLAC first.
  • SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol – using BOX) – Must discuss with TSLAC first.

Protecting integrity of the records

Copying and moving electronic records increases the risk of corruption and possible damage to the files. To protect the integrity of the records in the transfer process all files must have checksums calculated and applied prior to being transferred.

Agencies may apply their own checksums to the files being transferred (consult your IT staff.)   TSLAC can provide agencies with tools for applying checksums if needed.

Encryption and other Digital Rights Management (DRM) issues

TSLAC will NOT accept any encrypted records.  Encryption or any other form of DRM must be removed prior to being transferred to TSLAC.  Encryption and other DRM may be used by the agency in the course of business if necessary, but must be deactivated before transfer. If the security of the records being transferred requires encryption in transit, this must be discussed in the consultation and TSLAC must be given the appropriate keys to decrypt to the records upon completion of the transfer.

Format Recommendations

Agencies may use formats necessary to conduct their business.  TSLAC can accept records in most formats, however highly specialized formats can be difficult to preserve long-term, and proprietary formats (especially those with expensive licensing requirements) need to be discussed in the consultation phase of the transfer.  The same is true for older legacy formats still held by the agency that may no longer be in use.  The agency may need to convert records in specialized formats into a more common format prior to transfer or provide TSLAC with copies of software or licenses necessary to access records in these formats.


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Texas State Library and Archives Commission | 1201 Brazos St., Austin TX 78701 | 512-463-5455 | | P.O. Box 12927, Austin TX 78711-2927