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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.  

  1. 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 Victorian 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. 


    Once records have been transferred into PROV custody you can still access or retrieve them, but they cannot be added to or updated.


    Agency actions:

    • 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.


    PROV actions:

    • respond to any queries seeking confirmation that specific records are eligible for transfer to PROV.



    Retention and Disposal Authorities (RDAs)

    STEP 2 – Investigate options for generating VERS Encapsulated Objects (VEOs)

    PROV requires permanent value digital records to be converted into a long-term format called a VERS Encapsulated Object (VEO) for transfer to PROV.

    PROV currently supports two types of VEOs: 

    • Version 3 VEOs (created under the requirements of PROS 19/05 Create, Capture and Control Standard and its Specifications). These VEOs are more flexible than Version 2 VEOs as they allow for multi-level, hierarchical folder structures.
    • Version 2 VEOs (created under the requirements of PROS 99/007 Management of Electronic Records Standard and its Specifications)


    In this step you will identify if your recordkeeping system has either Version 2 or Version 3 VEO creation capabilities. If your system does not have VEO creation capability, contact PROV for advice on VEO creation options (e.g. purchasing a commercial VEO creation product, or manually creating V3 VEOs using PROV technical development packages). See links below.


    Agency actions:

    • 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, determine which VEO creation option is most suitable for your agency by referring to PROV VEO creation advice.


    PROV actions:

    • provide VEO creation advice



    VEO creation

    VERS 3 commercial VEO creation products

    VERS 2 commercial VEO creation products

    PROV VEO creation products


    STEP 3 – Submit proposal

    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).


    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!


    Agency actions:

    • identify if there are any related permanent records already in PROV custody by searching PROV’s online catalogue (via search box at the top of the web page)
    • 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.


    PROV actions:

    • allocate a PROV Transfer Archivist for the records transfer
    • review and agree the transfer proposal, time frames and scheduling
    • Transfer Archivist to provide advice on the record series which will inform step 4.


    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.


    Agency actions:



    Archival description for records transfer projects

    Access categories: Open and closed records

    STEP 5 – Finalise access arrangements

    Before records can be transferred, access arrangements are negotiated between the transferring agency and PROV. Under the Public Records Act 1973 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.


    Records that are closed to the public may still be retrieved by the responsible agency.


    Agency actions:

    • 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.


    PROV actions:

    • provide assistance with access decisions based on the Public Records Act 1973 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.



    Access categories: Open and closed records


    STEP 6 – Generate valid VEOs

    In this step you will create sample VEOs and test that they are valid. VEOs are created either by a commercial recordkeeping system with V2 or V3 VEO generation capability, or by manually creating V3 VEOs using the PROV VEO creation technical development packages. 

    Before submitting them to PROV, please ensure that your VEOs have been generated in accordance with the relevant standard (i.e. PROS 99/007 or PROS 19/05). A VEO validation tool is available in the PROV VEO creation technical development packages. 


    VERS version 3 VEOs

    When generating Version 3 (V3) VEOs, either from a commercial product or manual processes, the VEOs will need to be entered into the VEO Validation Program to ensure the VEOs meet the requirements of the PROS 19/05 Create, Capture and Control Standard and its specifications and guidelines. 

    See here for VERS 3 VEO validation step-by-step for digital records transfers


    VERS version 2 VEOs

    When generating Version 2 (V2) VEOs from a commercial product, the VEOs will need to meet the requirements of PROS 99/007 Management if Electronic Records Standard and its specifications and advice. Although this standard has been superseded by PROS 19/05, PROV will continue to accept V2 VEOs into the PROV Digital Archive. Vendor products that generate V2 VEOs that were certified by PROV can continue to be purchased and used by Victorian Government agencies.

    Please note, that validating VEOs is an iterative process. Your transfer archivist will test your sample VEOs, guide you through the results and advise on resubmission of test VEOs if required. 

    Once the VEO creation process has been validated, you can convert your records into VEOs in preparation for transfer to PROV.


    Agency actions:

    • create Version 2 or Version 3 VEOs using your commercial VEO creation product; or create Version 3 VEOs using PROV VEO creation products
    • test VEOs using validation software available from PROV
    • submit sample VEOs to PROV for further evaluation and validation testing
    • once validated, commence converting your records into VEOs for transfer to PROV.


    PROV actions:

    • validate sample VEOs and provide guidance on VEO design and creation.



    PROV VEO creation products
    PROS 19/05 Create, Capture and Control Standard
    PROS 99/007 Management of Electronic Records Standard

    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. If generating V2 VEOs, 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 for V2 VEOs, to approved portable storage media ready for delivery to PROV (talk to your Transfer Archivist if an alternative method is available).

    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.


    Agency actions:

    • organise VEOs into sets, and for V2 VEOs, generate manifests
    • copy the sets and manifests to portable media.


    PROV actions:

    • 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 PROV digital archive. Ingest involves final validation testing to ensure compliance with the VERS standard and digital archive acceptance.


    • 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 which encapsulates those record/s 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.


    Agency actions:

    • arrange a delivery date and method with your PROV Transfer Archivist.


    PROV actions:

    • 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.


    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.

    Your PROV Transfer Archivist will provide details of any files affected and the nature of the error.


    Agency actions:

    • repair and resubmit any error VEOs identified during ingest.


    PROV actions:

    • provide agency with details of errors if any. 

    STEP 10 – Close transfer project

    Once all VEOs are ingested into the PROV digital archive and PROV have returned a formal notification of acceptance, the transfer project has come to an end. 

    Although custody of the records is now with PROV, your agency will remain the responsible agency and have access to the records, regardless of open or closed access arrangements. 

    See the Ordering and collecting records for government users page for information on how to become a government agency user and how to access the transferred records. 

    At this time, information about the record series will be available via PROV’s online catalogue and your agency will be able to order the records (via search box at the top of the web page).


Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples