Georgia Archives

University System of Georgia

Transferring Security Media Backup to the Georgia Archives

1. Introduction

The Georgia Archives must maintain inventory control over the security media accepted for storage. Compliance with these instructions is necessary for the Archives to establish and maintain adequate controls over the holdings.

Media received by the Archives with paperwork or packaging not in compliance with these instructions will be returned to the originating agency.

2. Eligible Media

The Georgia Archives will hold security copies of microfilm (including microfiche and aperture cards), CDs, or magnetic tapes for any state or local government agency in Georgia.

3. Storage Terms and Conditions


All microfilm sent to the Archives should be the master negative, the film actually used in the camera during filming. Many factors determine whether microfilm will survive for hundreds of years or deteriorate in just a short time. Most of these factors relate to the creation of the film. The originating agency bears sole responsibility for the creation of its film. The Georgia Archives does not test or verify the quality of the film. In order to ensure the proper longevity of the film, all microfilm created by government agencies must comply with the Georgia Archives “Standards for Microfilming Records.”

Agencies should send the master negative (the film actually used in the camera during filming) to the Georgia Archives. The agency should keep a duplicate negative and a reference copy for its own use. In the event that the reference copy is damaged or loss, a new reference copy can be made from the agency’s duplicate negative. This preserves the master negative for use only in the event that the duplicate negative is lost.

CDs & Tapes

While ideal for the storage of microfilm, the environmental conditions within the Security Storage Vault are not adequate for the permanent preservation of CDs or magnetic media. Therefore, storage of electronic media is limited to five years. Agencies should produce new backup CDs or tapes on a periodic basis to replace those stored in this or any other offsite location.

Upon receipt of CDs or magnetic tapes, the Georgia Archives will calculate a date five years in the future. Upon reaching this date, the agency will be notified and the CDs or magnetic tapes removed from the security storage vault. The agency will have the option of having the media returned to it or destroyed by the Georgia Archives.

4. Production of Microfilm from CDs

In the publication, Adopting Electronic Records, the Georgia Archives recommends that permanent records not be stored solely on electronic media. Where possible, the production of Computer Output Microfilm (COM) is preferred as a long-term backup of digitally converted permanent records. As a service to its customers, the Georgia Archives may be able to produce COM from digital images saved in TIFF format and will store both the film and the CD. We can only provide this service for TIFF images. Please contact the Georgia Archives Records and Information Management Services program for more information on this service.

5. Labeling the Media

Each box of film, jewel case, or magnetic tape case must be labeled with the State Reel Number. For microfilm, this number should be on the top of the box. See the instructions, below, for creating this number.

Agencies are strongly encouraged to label each container with the following additional information:

  • Any local control number,
  • Name of the government,
  • Name of the originating office,
  • Name of the record series,
  • Record retention schedule number(s), and
  • Inclusive dates of the record(s).

It is essential that agencies record the contents of each reel of microfilm, CD, or magnetic tape and match that information to the State Reel Number. This number is the only way for the Georgia Archives to retrieve media sent to it. The requesting agency must supply this number when requesting copies or removal of security media.

6. Packing the Media


  • Do not load master negative microfilm into magazines or cartridges.
  • Place each roll of microfilm in a separate box. Note: Archival quality microfilm boxes are available from a variety of sources, including University Products (, Conservation Resources (, Metal Edge (, and other archival suppliers.
  • Microfiche should be placed ten (10) to an envelope and arranged in proper order.
  • Aperture cards should be arranged in proper order in boxes that hold them securely.
  • Complete a Media Transfer Form and include a copy with the shipment. Mail the original separately.
  • Make sure that the State Reel Number is written on the top of each box.

CDs and Magnetic Tapes

  • CDs and Tapes must be housed in cases to prevent damage.
  • Identify the contents on the outside of the case. If your agency uses a local control number, make sure this number is noted on the case and on the CD or tape.
  • Complete a Media Transfer Form and include a copy with the shipment. Mail the original separately.

Media received by the Georgia Archives with paperwork or packaging not in compliance with these instructions will be returned to the originating agency.

7. Shipping

Mail the original Media Transfer Form and the shipment itself to:

Georgia Archives
5800 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, Georgia 30260-1101
Attn: Media Security Storage Vault

Reminder: Please mail the original Media Transfer Form separate from the shipment itself. Include a copy of the form in the shipment. Keep a copy for your own records.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Georgia Archives at