Once your papers or organisational records have been accepted by the Pictures & Manuscripts Branch, they are ready to be prepared for transfer.

To assist the Library we ask that donors pack their material using our archive boxes and prepare a brief descriptive list.

We will provide you with archive boxes to house the records, a list template in Excel or Word format, and guidelines on how to prepare the box list. Folders, plastic bags and other archival packaging are also available on request. When the records have been packed and listed, we will arrange for a courier to collect the boxes.

How to fold an archive box

All archive boxes supplied by the Library will arrive flat-packed. This short video demonstrates how to assemble them with ease.

Before you begin

It is important that the papers to be transferred to the Library remain in the order in which they were maintained by their creator. It is generally not necessary for collections to be 'organised' by donors before transfer as the original order of a collection can also be of great interest to future researchers.

If your papers or organisational records contain 'sensitive' material it is not necessary to remove them prior to transfer. Sensitive material identified by donors or creators can be securely controlled by the Library under special access conditions set by the donor, which may include restricted access or closure of the material for a set period. Please consult Pictures & Manuscripts staff for further advice on the best approach for your material.

How to pack and list your papers

  • transfer the records into the archive boxes supplied by the Library, being careful to maintain the original file order
  • list the records as you put them in the boxes using the template supplied by the Library
  • consecutively number each box and the corresponding box list
  • remove any records that are in hanging files and rehouse them in folders
  • for sensitive material, please flag the items or files by placing them inside a marked envelope, leaving them in the original file order in which they were created or stored. Indicate which files are sensitive by clearly marking them in the corresponding box list
  • when each box is full, seal the top of the box with tape. Please ensure that the boxes are not tightly packed and weigh no more than can be easily carried
  • if possible please provide biographical information about the individual or organisation whose papers are being transferred. This may be supplied as a separate document to the box list
  • when you have finished boxing the records, send an electronic copy of the box list to the Library along with a completed Rights Agreement indicating your wishes for access and use of the papers

Once the records are ready for transfer, we will contact you and arrange for a courier to transport the papers to the Library.


If you have any questions about the transfer process, the types of records to send or any issue of concern please do not hesitate to contact us.

Pictures & Manuscripts Branch
National Library of Australia
Canberra  ACT  2600
Ph: 02 6262 1259