Georgia Archives

University System of Georgia

Removing Media from the Security Media Storage Vault


The Georgia Archives stores security media on behalf of nearly every county and many state agencies comprising Georgia government. This media consists of microfilm and electronic media—specifically CDs, DVDs, and magnetic tapes. In order to ensure the preservation of this media our storage vault has been set to certain temperature and humidity levels and provides for the replacement of air in the vault to ensure that chemicals (gases released as part of the degradation of media) do not cause damage to the overall holdings of the vault.

It is very important for us, as the physical custodian of your records, to protect the investment made.

Therefore, it is very important that you are aware of the following facts and meet the following requirements:

Microfilm should be Removed from the Security Media Storage Vault ONLY in Event of a Disaster

The microfilm stored in the vault, whether 16mm or 35mm, is known as the master negative. Literally, this is the silver-gelatin film usually used in the camera. It can also be referred to as the camera master or first-generation film. The master negative should be used only once; to generate the silver duplicate negative (duplicating master), and thereafter should be kept in extended-term storage conditions as a permanent security copy. Under the conditions in our vault, this film has a minimum life-expectancy of 100 years.

By removing the film from the vault, you are reducing the life expectancy of this critical roll of film through exposure to the environment (heat, humidity and pollution) and potential damage during use.

Electronic Media MAY be Removed from the Security Media Vault

Currently, microfilm comprises the largest portion of our storage vault. Because of this, the temperature is optimized for the storage of film media. This environment will allow us to preserve electronic media—CDs, DVDs, and magnetic tapes—for up to five years. Agencies should produce new backup CDs, DVDs, or tapes on a periodic basis (preferably more frequently than every 5 years) to replace those stored in this or any other offsite location.

Upon receipt of electronic media, the Georgia Archives will calculate a date five years in the future. Upon reaching this date, the agency will be notified and the electronic media removed from the security storage vault. The electronic media will be returned to the agency for destruction.

When Removing Media from the Security Media Storage Vault

Please send your request on agency letterhead and include the following information:

  • Accession numbers or State Reel Numbers for the film
  • Where to ship the film (include name, address, and phone number)

The name and signature of the records custodian (the Probate Judge, Superior Court Judge, Court Clerk, office manager, etc.) should appear at the bottom of the request. This information is required for us to answer your requests.

Once the media is pulled and packed, archives staff will call and notify the agency of the poundage and charges for shipping the film. The agency is responsible for contacting the shipping vendor (UPS, Federal Express, etc.) regarding shipping arrangements.

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