New State Agency Rules for Archival Transfer and Review!

By: Ellen Gleason & Sierra McGee.

As a Records Management Officer (RMO) for a state agency, at some point you will need to send your records to TSLAC for transfer or review. This means your records have met retention and their record series has an archival code of “A” or “R”. But then what? What are the differences between archival codes “A” and “R”? Who do you notify and when? What kind of information do you need to provide? To answer these questions and more, State and Local Records Management (SLRM) and Archives and Information Services (ARIS) staff have teamed up in this post to walk you through the new procedures to ensure that your archival transfers and reviews go smoothly.

New Administrative Rule

Open book with sparkles.

On August 23, 2023, the Texas Administrative Code was amended to include requirements and standardized procedures for transmitting records to TSLAC during the archival review or transfer process.  Essentially, this rule specifies how to handle records classified under a series with an archival code at the end of the retention period. These tools include fillable electronic forms and inventories which help capture information from RMOs and other staff who know the most about the records their state agency creates. The full text of this code can be viewed here: 13 Tex. Admin. Code §10.5 (2023).

Let’s Get Started!

Two map pins connected by a dotted line.

First, you’ll need to examine your agency’s records retention schedule (RRS). All state agency retention schedules identify and describe agency records and the length of time each record series must be retained. These are available to view online in the Records Management section of TSLAC’s website.

Column headers of the RRS.

Looking closer at a records retention schedule, take notice of the heading titled “Archival.” This is the Archival code field which will indicate whether materials in a record series will need to be transferred to or reviewed by the State Archives. The Archival code field will contain an “A”, “R”, “E”, or will be blank. Archival code “A” means that records from this series are archival and will need to be transferred to the State Archives. Archival code “R” means that records from this series may be archival, but require review and will go through an appraisal process to determine their archival value. Archival code “E” means that a record series previously had an Archival code “R” but the State Archives determined the series to lack sufficient archival value for this particular agency, so it now has an archival exception and can be disposed of after retention is met. Record series with a blank Archival code field do not require any action by the State Archives and can also be disposed of when retention has been met.

When a series has an archival code of “A” or “R” we have forms that will capture the information necessary to initiate the process required for each. Our forms are available to download from our website.

Stay up to date!
Be sure to download the latest version of the forms from TSLAC’s website each time.

Each process starts with an email to and attachment of two forms (one PDF, and one Excel). Each form you submit should be sent in the same electronic file format you originally downloaded it in (a pair of one PDF and one Excel spreadsheet). Also keep in mind that each record series represented in the materials will need its own pair of forms submitted.

Archival Transfer

Arrow pointing out of a box.

The Archival Transfer process applies to record series on any agency’s retention schedule that have the code “A” in the Archival code field. This means that when records of that series meet retention, they must be transferred to the Archives and Information Services (ARIS) division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC).

Examples of Archival code “A” record series are:

  • Executive Orders
  • Organization Charts
  • Meetings, Agendas, and Minutes
  • Meeting – Supporting Documentation

A list of some of the most common Archival code series (both “A” and “R”) can be found on TSLAC’s List of Archival Series webpage. Please take care to check your records retention schedule for all record series specific to your agency that have an archival code “A” or “R”.

Archival Transfer Form

The first form is the Archival Transfer Form (PDF) that contains fields to capture the most crucial information about your records. For our example, we’ll use information found in the standard Texas State Records Retention Schedule (RRS) for the open meetings agendas and minutes series (1.1.058).

Here is an example of a form describing 1,446 MB (14 electronic files) of electronic meetings, agendas, and minutes that have met retention and are ready for transfer.

Form FieldTips
Texas Public Information Act section(s) or other laws and statutes that applyConsult the most recent Texas PIA Handbook (published by the Office of the Attorney General) for guidance on what types of restricted information may be present in your records.
Archives Note criteria (if applicable): How do records meet those criteria?Archives note criteria can be found in the Remarks column of some records series. These notes emphasize the need for action/attention by an agency to ensure that records with archival value are maintained and retained.
Signature of Agency OfficialSign forms electronically and make sure not to encrypt or lock files from editing when submitting.

Archival Transfer Inventory

The second required form is the Archival Transfer Inventory (Excel spreadsheet). The Archival Transfer Inventory spreadsheet is where you will list all the records being transferred at file level. Our transfer inventories have multiple sheets to choose from depending on whether you are describing physical records (Inventory) or electronic (E-records Inventory), as well as a Packing Instructions sheet with tips on how to prepare physical records for transfer after you’ve submitted your initial forms.

Excel tab for the Archival transfer inventory showing: Inventory, packing Instructions, and E-records inventory.

The informational fields you need to fill out will vary depending on whether you are transferring physical or electronic records. Our inventory forms have been created to provide additional instruction for how to enter data in each field once a field heading is clicked on.

To continue with our example here is a completed inventory for electronic records from the meetings, agendas, and minutes series.

Electronic records need to be listed in the spreadsheet at item level. Our electronic records archivists have tools that can help you generate these inventories from your existing file directories without having to key in the data. You can view more information about this process and contact our electronic records archivists with questions on our Transferring Electronic Records webpage.

Archival Review

Magnifying glass.

As we’ve already mentioned, records from series with Archival code “R” are required to be reviewed by State Archives staff once they’ve met retention to determine if they should be transferred to the Archives for long-term preservation. Similar to the archival transfer procedures, RMOs should fill out and attach a form and inventory in an email to to initiate the archival review process. Let’s take a closer look at completed examples of these.

Archival Review Request Form

The Archival Review Request Form (PDF) has been filled out in the downloadable example below to represent a hypothetical 0.25 cubic feet of paper records from the Speeches, Papers, and Presentations record series that have met retention.

Form FieldTips
Archives Note criteria (if applicable): How do records meet those criteria?Consult the Remarks field in your agency’s retention schedule to answer this question.
Do the records described above contain information documenting essential functions of your agency that is not adequately summarized elsewhere […]? Provide details below.Begin this field with “Yes” or “No” and elaborate with an additional sentence or two.

Every field above the gray portion at the bottom of the form needs to be filled out by the submitting agency. Information needed to complete the form will come from your agency records retention schedule and from your knowledge of the records themselves. For this example, we are again using the standard Texas State Records Retention Schedule (RRS) for the series Speeches, Papers, and Presentations.

This form is very similar to the previously described Archival Transfer Form, with one additional field at the end to gather information about whether the records document essential functions of the agency that are not also documented in an Archival code “A” series from the agency or summarized in an agency publication such as an annual report or strategic plan. Information provided in this field should be prefaced with a Yes or No (if possible) and then elaborated on with an additional sentence or two describing whether the records document essential functions of the agency and, if applicable, where duplicative or summarized information may be found. If more detail than will be readable in this field needs to be shared, include it in the email that will be sent to with the form and inventory attached.

Archival Review Request Inventory

This Archival Review Request Inventory (Excel) has been filled out to continue our example of 0.25 cubic feet of paper Speeches, Papers, and Presentations. Each inventory should describe the records contents by file/folder-level across all boxes. Devise logical titles for folders that lack them and write those on the folders. Loose materials should be foldered and labeled.

Whether you are preparing a request for archival transfer or archival review, after the form and inventory are completed, email them to, and State Archives staff will reply. Keep in mind that these documents serve to capture essential information about your records and begin the process of either archival transfer or review. Further information will be gathered by State Archives staff as needed to continue and complete the process.

Wrapping Up

Wrapped present.

If you have questions about the new process for submitting your records with archival codes to the State Archives for review or transfer, please contact us at While these forms and procedures introduce a change to how you may have completed this process in the past, we are excited to standardize and clarify these steps to ensure that records from your agency are accurately described and easily accessible when they are transferred to the State Archives. Please add this post to your records management toolkit as you continue to initiate archival transfer and reviews.

Like it? 2

3 thoughts on “New State Agency Rules for Archival Transfer and Review!

  1. The Employee’s Retirement System of Texas has successfully used this new form twice. It’s EASY. Can’t wait to submit more ERS archival records to the Texas State Library for Permanent preservation. :) Also, go support the TSLAC archival enterprise by attending the Austin Archives Bazaar 2024 on Sunday, April 14th at Scholz Beer Garten from 11 AM to 4 PM!!!!!

  2. Turning vague requirements into a clear-cut process and publishing a visually aesthetic and well-written guide to go along. Well done! RMA does a great job of keeping up with its forms management.

  3. Thank you for your comment! SLRM was happy to collaborate cross-divisionally with ARIS on their initiative to keep state agency RMO’s apprised of impactful administrative rule changes.

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