Physically preparing your records

Departments and other public record bodies which transfer records either to The National Archives or a place of deposit must ensure that the records have been prepared for transfer in accordance with The National Archives’ preparation guidelines.

The guidelines have been developed in order to achieve the long-term preservation of the records. The purpose of preparing documents is to halt any existing deterioration, and to get the records into a condition that will ensure their continued survival.

There is a quick reference guide covering the key elements.

We have published more detailed guidance on cataloguing and planning and arranging delivery of records.

Guidance for paper records

A guide to transferring records to The National Archives – transfer aide memoire  (PDF, 0.80Mb)

How to prepare – general guidance (PDF, 0.17Mb)

Quick guides on specific topics

Preparation of records (PDF, 2.23Mb)

Standard files (PDF, 0.36Mb)

Tagging items into a file (PDF, 0.36Mb)

Loose papers (PDF, 0.35Mb)

Dummy card and redactions (PDF, 0.55Mb)

Maps and plans (PDF, 0.41Mb)

Photographs, negatives and glassplates (PDF, 0.42Mb)

Packing (PDF, 0.45Mb)

Box board specifications (PDF, 0.02Mb)


Caring for your books (PDF, 0.96Mb)

Caring for your photographs (PDF, 0.30Mb)

Caring for your prints, drawings and watercolours (PDF, 0.88Mb)

How to deal with wet documents (PDF, 0.05Mb)

Where should I go for advice on conservation? (PDF, 0.04Mb)