This section outlines the LAC entrance specifications for government unpublished IREV, which are pre-requisites for transfer (section 6.1), and procedural requirements associated with each of the following key stages of the transfer process: Preparation for Transfer (section 6.2); Effecting Transfer (section 6.3); and Post-Transfer Activities (section 6.4).
6.1 Entrance Specifications for Transfers
Regardless of the proposed mode, context, nature and/or singular elements of a pending transfer of government unpublished IREV, there are common requirements for entry into LAC. These requirements are outlined in LAC's Entrance Specifications for Government of Canada Unpublished Information Resources of Enduring Value - October 2013 and must be met in order for LAC to acquire a transfer of unpublished IREV from a GC institution.
All proposals to transfer unpublished IREV to LAC must be reviewed by LAC staff to ensure that the material meets the entrance requirements. Where the entrance specifications cannot be satisfied, the institution must receive LAC's approval to proceed with any exceptional cases. In these circumstances, LAC will determine the next steps in consultation with the appropriate information management contacts within the institution.
6.2 Preparation for Transfer
Preparing eligible unpublished IREV for transfer to the care and control of LAC is the responsibility of the transferring institution. This includes ensuring that the institution is equipped with appropriate recordkeeping tools, mechanisms, systems and practices to easily identify, and adequately manage and protect these IREV—including when they are on loan to another entity—until they become eligible for disposition by means of transfer to LAC. The institution must also be able to commit the time and resources necessary to satisfy the requirements and complete the activities described in this section.
Best practices for IREV preservation: To support IREV preservation long before transfer occurs, GC institutions should incorporate measures into their routine recordkeeping activities to physically protect their IREV. To assist all GC institutions—particularly those subject to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Directive on Recordkeeping—in their local efforts to preserve unpublished IREV, a set of preservation guidelines for all types of media is provided in Appendix C.
Lastly, the transferring institution must be able to identify the most suitable mode of transfer for its unpublished IREV (e.g., physical versus electronic transfer for digital IREV) and provide sufficient details about the proposed transfer contents.
6.2.1 Identification of Transfer Contents
An institution must ensure, to the best of its employees' knowledge, that all unpublished information resources proposed for transfer to LAC have enduring value. Unpublished IREV are identified by applying the disposition authorization instruments or transfer agreements approved and issued to the institution by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada or by his or her official delegate(s).
Disposition authorization instruments may include the following:
- Records Disposition Authorities (RDAs), which are issued as either Multi-Institutional Disposition Authorities or Institution-Specific Disposition Authorities;
- a Disposition Authorization issued under LAC's Disposition and Recordkeeping Program;
- a formal recommendation made for the disposal of government unpublished IREV held in the legal custody of LAC that receives the direct approval of the Librarian and Archivist or his or her official delegate(s), such as a disposal or removal memorandum created in accordance with approved LAC procedures.
Institutions are expected to cite the specific sections in the terms and conditions of the governing disposition authorization instrument or agreement that identify the information resources proposed for transfer as having enduring value.
Best practice: When a complementary but non-legally binding tool (e.g., an Application Guide) has been created by or with LAC to help identify unpublished IREV, it should be consulted. Official interpretations of the transfer terms and conditions of a disposition authorization instrument are to be either held on LAC's corporate files or included in the Records Disposition Authority Control System (RDACS) under the appropriate RDA number.
Institutions are also encouraged to submit to LAC (electronically, if possible) any copies of card indices, file classification manuals or other such resources if the material promotes a greater understanding of the information resources proposed for transfer and/or can assist LAC in cross-referencing between specific clauses of the applicable disposition authorization instrument or transfer agreement and the material proposed for transfer.
Where information resources identified as having enduring value are in a digital format, it is important to remember that they consist of both digital objects and their related metadata. Both component parts will have to be prepared for transfer. Digital objects and metadata to be included in a transfer of digital IREV must be clearly identified in the system of origin (e.g., an Electronic Document and Records Management System, or EDRMS) so that information resources which are eligible for disposition and/or for transfer to LAC can be readily distinguished from those which are not.
Lastly, institutions must review their analogue transfers to ensure they do not duplicate what exists in digital format. Where there is duplication between the analogue and digital unpublished information resources maintained by an institution, the applicable disposition authorization instrument should be the first point of reference in determining which version should be transferred to LAC. However, if neither the disposition authority nor an interpretation of it specifies a particular transfer format, the digital version is preferable if LAC confirms that it satisfies certain requirements.
6.2.2 Creating an Inventory of Unpublished IREV Proposed for Transfer
A comprehensive file- or item-level inventory (i.e., a list that represents a basic finding aid) of the information resources proposed for transfer must be produced electronically; handwritten or typewritten lists are not acceptable for submission. LAC requires electronic finding aids to be prepared so that they can be uploaded to its information systems. The inventory must consequently conform to certain content and format standards so that LAC can prepare the final finding aid for the unpublished IREV to be transferred. Appendix D provides a set of instructions to facilitate and guide this activity.
Where unpublished IREV are to be physically transferred (as opposed to electronically transferred), the inventory must accurately reflect the physical contents of the containers at the time of transfer. This applies equally to transfers consisting of multiple containers as to those that may involve only one item, or a single textual file (sometimes referred to as a single-file transfer).
For all pending transfers, the corresponding inventories must conform to GC and LAC policies pertaining to access to information, security of information (including downgrading or declassifying information as necessary), and the protection of personal information. Transferring institutions should otherwise consult with LAC where an inability to comply is anticipated.
Digital: Transfers consisting of digital unpublished IREV must be accompanied by metadata in compliance with the Archival Metadata Guidelines for Digital Information Resources of Enduring Value (IREV) Transferred from Government of Canada Institutions to Library and Archives Canada (forthcoming); see section 18.104.22.168 for further instructions). If they will be transferred on portable storage devices, an inventory of the devices must be prepared for submission as outlined in Appendix E. Please consult section 22.214.171.124 for further information on the use of physical media to transfer digital unpublished IREV.
126.96.36.199 Extracting and Organizing Metadata for Digital Unpublished IREV
The Archival Metadata Guidelines for Digital Information Resources of Enduring Value (IREV) Transferred from Government of Canada Institutions to Library and Archives Canada (forthcoming) are informed by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Standard on Metadata and define the minimum set of metadata that must accompany all transfers to LAC of typical, office-based digital unpublished IREV (i.e., those that are created and managed in EDRMS repositories or in document-sharing environments such as shared drives). Although variations in the quality and quantity of available metadata are expected (e.g., for digital unpublished IREV dating back many years), institutions must make every effort to satisfy LAC's metadata requirements for transfer. Institutions must otherwise obtain LAC approval for any exceptions they request. Metadata related to other types of digital content (e.g., databases, datasets, social media resources) will be addressed in future versions of this guidance.
Metadata may exist at various levels of aggregation (e.g., at the file-, folder- or document-level), depending on the type(s) of classification systems used within the transferring organization. Regardless of the level, it is critical that the manner in which pertinent metadata are captured clearly demonstrates the existing relationships and hierarchies between digital objects, and that the metadata remain linked to the digital objects or level(s) they describe.
Depending on the system of origin and the transfer mechanism to be used, different methods may be required to extract, group and package digital objects with their associated metadata in preparation for transfer. Metadata that is fully compliant with the GC Recordkeeping Metadata Element Set (RKMES) / GC Recordkeeping Metadata Application Profile (RKMAP), including archival elements, will be substantial in quantity and complexity, and will therefore require a sophisticated structure like XML. Minimal metadata, on the other hand, may be structured in a simple spreadsheet or a comma-delimited text file. Institutions must simply ensure that whichever format is selected for submission of the required metadata complies with the LAC Guidelines on File Formats for Transferring Information Resources of Enduring Value (forthcoming) and includes metadata appropriately identifying the digital unpublished IREV being described.
6.2.3 Notification of a Pending Transfer
Where unpublished IREV are eligible for direct transfer from the institution to LAC's permanent care and control, institutions must obtain appropriate approval within their organizations to initiate the transfer and then notify LAC that they intend to do so.
Direct transfer notification will be given by completing and submitting to LAC the Advance Notification of Direct Transfer of Government Unpublished Information Resources of Enduring Value (IREV) to Library and Archives Canada form, which must be accompanied by a completed Digital Transfer Assessment Form for transfers involving digital material. The instructions for obtaining both forms are provided in Appendix F. The inventory of the transfer's contents, prepared as per section 6.2.2, should also be submitted at this time.
All notifications about pending direct transfers must be sent electronically to the Contact Centre. The only exception to this rule applies when the inventory or reference material contains information that is classified or Protected C, as LAC cannot ensure security requirements for electronic transmission of material classified above these levels (see Appendix G for further instructions).
The Contact Centre will acknowledge receipt of all direct transfer notifications and provide institutions with a unique reference number for each one. This number identifies each logged transfer and enables it to be tracked and distinguished from other transfers until the process is fully completed.
Where unpublished IREV have been placed in dormant storage within an LAC RSC pending eligibility for disposition, LAC will initiate the transfer when the IREV reach the end of their retention schedules by either faxing, mailing or emailing the Request for Consent to the Disposition of Records form to the custodian who secures the appropriate signature for this disposition activity. This usually occurs approximately 90 days before the official disposal date of the material. The RSC will then screen and transfer the IREV to LAC custody.
188.8.131.52 Informing of Specialized Transfers
Institutions must inform LAC when some or all of the contents of a transfer do not conform to standard dimensions and features so that LAC can assist in making special arrangements to package and transport the material. LAC specialists may require a site visit to examine the material in order to decide how best to facilitate the transfer, so institutions should be prepared to accommodate this.
The following exceptional circumstances require special attention and instructions from LAC:
- Transfers of unpublished IREV that are classified or protected (see Appendix G for further instructions).
- Transfers of analogue unpublished IREV that have non-standard dimensions (e.g., odd-sized textual documents).
- Transfers involving digital unpublished IREV. These will be treated as specialized transfers in the short term and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to ensure the most practical mode of transfer is selected. Transfers of digital unpublished IREV already stored on physical storage devices other than what is recommended for transfer in the LAC Guidelines for Physical Digital Storage Media (i.e., transfers on portable storage devices considered obsolete) will require particular attention.
- Transfers consisting of multiple media.
- Transfers which include unpublished IREV that are made of materials that LAC does not typically acquire (e.g., textiles), or which may pose safety concerns (e.g., nitrate film).
- Transfers on which conservation treatment has been performed. A clear description must be provided, preferably in the form of a report, of the type of treatment that was performed, and when and by whom the work was undertaken. The report must include sign-off by authorized personnel to demonstrate official acknowledgement that the material was treated as indicated.
6.2.4 Verification of Proposed Transfer Contents
Verification involves reviewing the nature and contents of the information resources proposed for transfer to ensure that they constitute unpublished material suitable for acquisition by LAC. During verification, the proposed transfer contents are compared with the archival selection specified within the applicable disposition authorization instrument (or corresponding interpretations of that instrument) to confirm the enduring value of the material. The quality of the inventory of the unpublished information resources proposed for transfer is also checked at this time to ensure it conforms to LAC's data entry standards.
Verification further represents an opportunity to confirm prior to transfer that the unpublished information resources are of a medium and format and/or are in a condition conducive to long-term preservation and access, should the material be added to LAC's permanent holdings. When the verification reveals that unpublished IREV have suffered contamination or physical damage prior to transfer, LAC will assess the condition of the information resources while they are still under the care and control of the transferring institution to determine if conservation treatment is required, or if any previously performed treatment has been done satisfactorily (see section 184.108.40.206 vi for further details).
LAC leads the verification of proposed direct transfers. However, for unpublished IREV already stored in an RSC, the transferring institution is responsible for reviewing all unpublished information resources eligible for disposal as outlined in the Request for Consent to the Disposition of Records form to ensure that the RSC can proceed with legal transfer of care and control to LAC.
Where it is determined that some unpublished information resources proposed for transfer do not have enduring value or are not sustainable in the long term, they will have to be removed from the larger transfer of unpublished IREV to LAC. The physical contents of the containers to be transferred to LAC must be adjusted accordingly to maximize space and maintain adequate support for the remaining contents. In addition, the inventory originally submitted to LAC must be updated to ensure it reflects the final approved composition of the transfer.
6.2.5 Receipt of Approval to Proceed with Transfer
Once the contents of a pending direct transfer have been verified, LAC will notify the GC institution in writing of the results of that process and confirm whether the institution can proceed with the transfer as proposed. If not, LAC will bring to the institution's attention the changes it must make to the transfer's contents or the additional preparatory work it must complete for the transfer to be permitted.
For unpublished IREV that are being transferred to LAC's care and control from within an RSC following dormant storage, disposition is permitted as soon as the RSC receives the signed Request for Consent to the Disposition of Records form back from the GC institution (see section 6.2.3). It is expected that unpublished IREV stored within an RSC will already have been packaged to LAC's satisfaction upon entry into the facility.
6.2.6 Packaging Approved Direct Transfers
220.127.116.11 Analogue Unpublished IREV
Unless otherwise instructed by LAC, institutions must physically segregate information resources according to their media if a direct transfer consists of multiple media. This typically includes physically segregating analogue from digital unpublished IREV. Note that in all cases of segregation by media, pertinent intellectual links between the records must nonetheless be maintained (e.g., using common file classification information).
Approved direct transfers must be packaged, numbered and labelled as described in Appendix H wherever they conform to standard dimensions and features. Any unpublished IREV otherwise identified as requiring specialized attention (see section 18.104.22.168) are to be packaged and prepared for transfer according to LAC's instructions. Note that in all cases, no empty file folders or pockets are to be included in the transfer contents.
The corresponding inventory must reflect the box numbering and contents at the time of transfer. Therefore, any changes to the composition of the transfer that have resulted from the verification or packaging processes must be taken into account.
22.214.171.124 Digital Unpublished IREV
- Format: It is expected that digital unpublished IREV will be provided to LAC in one of the formats recommended in the LAC Guidelines on File Formats for Transferring Information Resources of Enduring Value (forthcoming).
Conversion may be required prior to the transfer, particularly in cases where formats that have been used are outdated or uncommon, or require software that is obscure, proprietary or difficult to obtain. Where conversion is planned, institutions must consult with LAC to ensure that the integrity of the unpublished IREV will be preserved and that the process is appropriately documented.
- Portable Storage Devices: Where transfer by way of a portable storage device has been approved in advance by LAC, the following media can—wherever institutional policies permit—be used as indicated in the LAC Guidelines for Physical Digital Storage Media:
- LTO-4 or LTO-5 tape recorded in uncompressed format
- External hard disk drives
- USB flash drives
- A terabyte disk drive, which LAC can provide for use in transfer if required.
Where an institution has stored and managed its unpublished IREV on portable storage devices such as tapes, CD-ROM and diskettes of various sizes and types (e.g., 3 ½", 5 ¼", 8"), the IREV should be consolidated onto acceptable storage devices wherever feasible, and evaluated to determine the applicable transfer mechanism. When doing so, utmost care must be taken to ensure that the contents remain intact. In other words, aspects such as file (byte) size and any embedded metadata (e.g., date and time stamps) should not be altered.
LAC must be provided with the means to decrypt portable storage devices that have been encrypted, and with passwords for devices that are password-controlled.
All portable storage devices used to transfer digital unpublished IREV to LAC must be listed in an inventory as outlined in section 6.2.2.
- Databases: In all cases involving a relational database, the extraction process must reconstitute the intellectual entity that represents the unpublished IREV. It should not simply be an extraction of various tables used by the system to create and manage the component parts of the IREV. In other words, a single unpublished IREV may be comprised of data elements held in different database tables that are assembled to form the IREV upon querying or reporting.
- After portable storage devices used for transfer have been decrypted, the files stored on them must themselves arrive unencrypted, and free of self-updating macros and fields such as dates.
- No compression: Digital unpublished IREV must be transferred without further data compression. If the IREV needs to be compressed, the compression format must be discussed with LAC in advance of the transfer.
- Checksum value: For digital unpublished IREV to be transferred electronically or on portable storage devices, a checksum must be generated and recorded for both the digital objects and accompanying metadata. LAC recommends using a 128-bit algorithm (MD5) to generate the checksum, which must be included with the transfer as follows:
- For electronic transfers, generate a single (i.e., batch) checksum for the entire transfer. LAC will use this to validate the integrity of the transfer.
- Where portable storage devices are used for transfer, generate a checksum for each device and include it on the carrier so that LAC can validate the integrity of each device.
A comparison of the checksum values generated before and after the transfer enables LAC to validate, to a high degree of certainty, the integrity of a transfer.
- Virus scan: Although LAC will perform its own virus scans on all transfers of digital unpublished IREV, regardless of whether they were received via electronic transfer or on portable storage devices, transferring institutions are advised to ensure that they perform a virus scan on the material when preparing them for transfer. If a virus is discovered by LAC following transfer of the IREV, institutions will be asked to send a second set of virus-free copies of the IREV.
6.3 Effecting Transfer
Once the final contents of a transfer have been approved and the preparatory work completed, LAC will continue to work with the institution to successfully coordinate and execute the transfer of its unpublished IREV to LAC's care and control.
Direct transfers will typically involve pickup of the IREV by LAC for physical transfers (which includes digital unpublished IREV transferred on portable storage devices), but could also require shipment of the material if transferred from a location outside of the National Capital Region to a designated RSC. Direct transfer could also involve the electronic transfer of digital unpublished IREV.
All approved direct transfers must be arranged and scheduled in consultation with LAC.
Important: Digital unpublished IREV to be transferred to LAC must be preserved by the transferring institution until LAC formally confirms that the transfer is complete, and that a quality check has been successfully performed. See section 6.4 for further information.
6.3.1 Coordinating and Scheduling Transfers
126.96.36.199 Physical Transfers
Where LAC has agreed to pick up unpublished IREV directly from the transferring institution, the institution must provide LAC with contact information for the individual who is responsible for overseeing the disposition of the material in order to coordinate a pickup date, time and location. Other logistical information pertaining to loading docks, available parking (for LAC's vehicles), and so on, must be provided by the institution. At the time of scheduling, LAC must also be informed if it is to transport contents from multiple locations. Although conditions and time frames can be negotiated, the institution must provide the necessary resources to accommodate and remove impediments to the pickup process once arrangements have been made with designated LAC staff.
Where LAC and the institution have agreed that the unpublished IREV are to be shipped, the transferring institution is responsible for covering the costs associated with the shipment and for arranging the shipment in the manner specified by LAC on the agreed-upon date.
The transfer process is expedited for unpublished IREV already stored in RSCs, as they are already physically located on LAC premises. Once consent is obtained from the GC institution to proceed with disposition, the RSC will complete the legal transfer of the material to LAC according to established procedures.
188.8.131.52 Electronic Transfers
Electronic transfer takes place when an electronic network is used to transfer digital unpublished IREV between an institution and LAC. Examples would include email or Secure File Transfer Protocol (sFTP), with sFTP being the preferred method. Electronic transfer through sFTP provides a secure transfer channel by encrypting both commands and data during the transfer session and preventing sensitive information from being transmitted in the clear over the network. It also offers immediate storage in an electronic holding area subject to backup services, eliminating the need to store and handle portable storage devices.
Institutions wishing to electronically transfer digital unpublished IREV to LAC must discuss this option with LAC on a case-by-case basis. Some restrictions will apply.
6.4 Post-Transfer Requirements and Best Practices
This section describes the remaining activities under the institution's responsibility following transfer. It also outlines when and how LAC assumes legal and physical care, control and custody of the unpublished IREV transferred by GC institutions, and what LAC is to provide as confirmation that the transfer has been completed.
6.4.1 Registration of Transfer upon Receipt by LAC
Once a transfer of unpublished IREV has been received by LAC, it is registered, i.e., physically accounted for, but not yet fully processed. For a direct transfer, LAC includes in the record of registration the unique reference number assigned by the Contact Centre to the initial transfer notification (see section 6.2.3). Institutions should refer to this number when they have any post-transfer inquiries about the content or status of the material.
Transfers that occur within RSCs will be registered by LAC once disposition is permitted. Until these unpublished IREV are processed, institutions should use the accession number assigned to the material by the RSC when placing inquiries.
As initial processing is carried out, institutions are to address issues if the material is found to be inconsistent with what was originally approved for transfer or if technical difficulties are encountered with digital material (e.g., the checksums do not match; a virus is detected; data is found to have been corrupted during transfer).
Reminder: The original digital objects and associated metadata (see sections 6.4.3 and 6.4.4) making up transferred digital unpublished IREV can be deleted only once the transferring institution receives notification from LAC that it is acceptable to do so.
6.4.2 Acknowledgement of Acquisition by LAC
Regardless of the transfer mechanism used, LAC will provide institutions with official written acknowledgement that the transfer of their unpublished IREV has been added to its collection once the material has been fully accessioned.
The accessioning process includes the creation of the LAC finding aid for the material. This involves converting to LAC's standards the IREV inventory (including any associated metadata) submitted by the transferring institution, and reviewing it for any personal or classified information that would restrict public access to the finding aid. Once LAC deems the finding aid partially or fully "open" or "closed" to public access, it performs a final check for content accuracy before assigning an official number to the finding aid.
Every new accession of government unpublished IREV is assigned a unique system-generated reference number referred to as a Branch Accession Number (BAN), which is linked to the corresponding finding aid. Once LAC provides this number, the institution should update its internal systems to reference the BAN in order to facilitate future access to the transferred material.
Note : Institutions will be notified at the Registration or the Accessioning stage if LAC has not accepted some or all of the information resources transferred to its collection. In such cases, institutions will be invited to reclaim the material through a formal removal process.
6.4.3 Documentation of Transfers
If an institution is subject to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Directive on Recordkeeping, it must maintain documentation of all transfers to LAC as part of its documented disposition process. Accounting for disposition activities is nonetheless a highly recommended practice even for institutions not subject to this directive. Institutions can consult the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Guideline on Information Management: Developing and Implementing a Documented Disposition Process for Information Resources (most recent draft dated October 2011) for more guidance.
Note: Institutions may wish to include the LAC registration and accession numbers in the documentation of their disposition actions to demonstrate that disposal was appropriately and successfully performed and that it involved the transfer of unpublished IREV to LAC's care and control.
6.4.4 Destruction of Copies of Accepted Digital Unpublished IREV
After receiving notification from LAC that a transfer of digital unpublished IREV has been verified, approved and successfully completed, institutions must delete the digital objects and some of the associated metadata from their systems. However, some of the remaining associated metadata may need to be maintained in order to document this disposition activity; consult the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Guideline on Information Management: Developing and Implementing a Documented Disposition Process for Information Resources.