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Guidelines for transfer of records to the Regional Service Centres

Accessioning Records

The words "accessioning" or "accession" are the terms used to describe the transfer of a group of records from the custodian institution, into the controlled guardianship of a Regional Service Centre.

Regional Service Centre will accept various information media if the criteria for storing records are met. If these conditions are not met, Regional Service Centres reserve the right to return some or all of the boxes to the client institution, at the expense of the institution.

It is recommended that you contact the Regional Service Centre in your region for advice and consultation before you begin preparing records for transfer.

Before accessioning, you must apply the existing Records Disposition Authorities (RDA) to the records concerned. This involves checking each individual file for its retention period and where there is an RDA whether it has archival or historical importance. Do not send records which have already met or surpassed their retention period.

Note: Prior to the transfer of records, the Accession Forecast Report and a detailed file-by-file electronic file list must be sent.

Packing Records for Shipment to a Regional Service Centre
The Regional Service Centre concerned must approve all containers used for transferring records to its care. Institutions will be expected to use one of the three boxes described below as they have the correct dimensions to fit on our shelving:

  • The standard box is a shipping carton that opens from the top, has dimensions of 38.1 cm long by 28.9 cm wide and 25.4 cm high. (15 ¼" long X 11 ½" wide X 10" high) (see Figure 1A)
  • The Front Opening Records Transfer (FORT) box opens at the front and has dimensions of 38.1 cm long by 28.9 cm wide and 24.2 cm high (15 ½" long X 11 ½" wide X 9 ½" high) (see Figure 1B)
  • The tax box is an open style that is specifically designed for Canada Revenue Agency and is not used in every Regional Service Centre (see Figure 1C)
Image of boxes used to pack records

Figure 1A

Image of boxes used to pack records

Figure 1B

Image of boxes used to pack records

Figure 1C

The standard box requires tape to seal the top and bottom of the box. Do not interfold the flaps. Seal the bottom of the boxes by folding the small flaps, followed by the large ones and use 2 inch packing tape. The other two boxes do not require tape to seal.

  • Organize the records by disposition date, or fiscal/calendar year, and therein by the institution's subject classification system. Where there is no subject classification system, files can be arranged alphabetically, numerically, chronologically, etc.

Note: Segregate and box separately all archival or historical records as per the terms and conditions of the Records Disposition Authority.

  • Pack the records/files standing upright with file identifiers facing in one direction (left to right) within the box, so that they are all visible when the box is opened.
  • Do not over pack the boxes because this will hinder file retrieval. Leave approximately 10 cm (4 inches) of space in each box. This will allow for interfiling of files that were not sent with the initial boxes. Box weight must not exceed a limit of 11 kgs (25 lbs).

Note: For other types of media, such as microform or electronic records, institutions should consult their Regional Service Centre.

Labelling Containers
Retrieving records is quicker and easier if you follow the Regional Service Centre guidelines for labelling containers. The location of the label and information that should be on it is described below.

  1. Use a permanent black chisel type marker for identifying the contents in the boxes. Characters should be neatly printed and approximately 5 cm (2 inches) in size for easy visibility while performing referencing activities. Write all information on the narrow end of the box. (See Figure 2)
  2. Write your institution name, branch, division, etc., in the upper left corner of the first and last box in each records group. This can be done in an abbreviated format. (See Area A in figures 3 and 4).
  3. Write the file type on the first box below the institution identification information. (See Area B in figures 3 and 4)
  4. Write the date range for the file type or the last file heading. (See Area B in figures 3 and 4).

Note: It is not necessary to write the year, and type of records on every box. When the information changes, such as: the years of the records, destruction year, common administrative versus institution specific, or different types of institution specific records within the same shipment, it is necessary to write the new changed information on the first box of the new group.

  1. Write the file name/number of the first and last files on each box. (See Area C in figures 3 and 4).
  2. Write the box number in the top right corner of each box. Numbering should begin at 1 and continue through until the final box in the shipment. Do not repeat any numbers within the shipment (eg. no 1A or 1B, etc.). (See Area D in figures 3 and 4)

Note: Please contact the Regional Service Centre in your region for guidelines on labelling other types of media such as microform records, electronic records, etc. or for clarification if there are any other unusual conditions that need to be considered.

Once all these procedures have been completed, please fax, mail or email the Accession Forecast Report along with your detailed file-by-file listing to your local Regional Service Centre. (Anything more than 15 pages should be mailed in). The information will be verified by the Regional Service Centre staff and then you will be contacted to arrange a convenient shipping date.

Image of labels found on boxes

Figure 2

Image of labels found on boxes

Figures 3 and 4

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