Archivematica 1.7.2 is a legacy release, and these documents are no longer being maintained.


In Archivematica, Transfer is the process of transforming any set of digital objects and/or directories into a SIP. Transformation may include appraisal, arrangement, description and identification of donor restricted, private or confidential contents. The Transfer tab prepares your content for preservation in Archivematica.

In the Transfer tab of the Dashboard, the user moves digital objects from source directories accessible via the Storage Service into Archivematica. See Administrator manual - Storage Service for instructions on how to set up shared transfer source directories. Once uploaded to the dashboard, transfers run through several micro-services: UUID assignment; checksum verification (if checksums are present); package extraction (i.e. unzipping of zipped or otherwise packaged files); virus checking; indexing; format identification and validation; and metadata extraction.

At the end of transfer, the user creates a SIP from one or more standard transfer(s). Once this is done, the SIP can be moved into ingest or sent to a backlog for processing later.

On this page:

See also

If you would like to import lower-level metadata with your transfer (i.e. metadata to be attached to subdirectories and files within a SIP), see Metadata import.

If your transfer is a DSpace export, please see DSpace export.

If your transfer is a bag or a zipped bag, please see Bags.

If your transfer is composed of objects that are the result of digitization, please see Digitization output.

If your transfer is composed of digital forensic disk images, please see Forensic image processing.

If you would like to skip some of the default choices for dashboard decision points or make preconfigured choices for your desired workflow, see Processing configuration.

Create a transfer

Open your Archivematica dashboard and sign in with your username and password. Please note that if this is your first time logging in to a newly installed instance of Archivematica, you will see a form that allows you to register your repository in order to get updates to the format policy registry. See the Preservation Planning documentation for more information.

  1. In the transfer tab, select your transfer type in the dropdown menu. Types include Standard, Unzipped Bag, Zipped Bag, DSpace, maildir and Disk Image.

  2. Name your transfer. The transfer name will become the name of your AIP, so make sure that the name is meaningful.

  3. Select your source directory. Click Browse to select the directory containing your object(s) for upload. Click on the folder icon to expand the directory trees. To select a source folder, click on the name of the folder so that it is highlighted and click Add. Your transfer can be composed of multiple directories from different sources. Repeat this step if your transfer is composed of multiple sources.

    Select transfer(s) from source directory(ies)

    Select transfer source directories

  4. If applicable, enter an accession number for the transfer.

  5. Once all of your digital object sources have been uploaded, hit the Start Transfer button for the transfer processing to begin.

    Start transfer in dashboard

    Start transfer

  6. To close the transfer browser, click on Browse again.

Create a transfer with submission documentation

The structured directory in Archivematica is the basic configuration of the transfer. If you just add a directory to the dashboard and start transfer processing, Archivematica will restructure it so it complies with this structure. Another option is to create a transfer in a structured directory prior to beginning processing in Archivematica.

To create a transfer that includes submission documentation, such as a donor agreement, you must create a structured directory prior to beginning processing in Archivematica. Your source directory should contain three subdirectories, titled as below:

  1. objects: The objects directory contains the digital objects that are to be preserved. You can create subdirectories within objects if desired.
  2. metadata: The metadata directory contains the checksum, the METS file, and a submissionDocumentation subfolder, which can be used for transfer forms, donation agreements or any other documents that relate to the acquisition of the records.
  3. logs: The logs directory will eventually contain logs generated when processing the transfer in Archivematica.


Please do not include submission documentation that has non-standard characters in the filename, as submission documentation names are not sanitized. Any filenames other than plain ASCII names may cause errors in processing.

  1. Open the file browser by clicking on the Home folder on the Archivematica desktop.
  2. The structured directory should contain three subdirectories: logs, metadata, objects. Copy the digital files to be preserved into the objects directory. Note that you can create subdirectories within objects.
  3. Add submission documentation. In the transfer you have just created, navigate to the /metadata/ folder and add a /submissionDocumentation directory. Add files to that folder like donor agreements, transfer forms, copyright agreements and any correspondence or other documentation relating to the transfer. Any SIPs subsequently made from this transfer will automatically contain copies of this documentation.

Create a transfer with existing checksums

Standard transfers

You can include existing checksums with your transfer if you have them. Archivematica will verify .md5, .sha1 and .sha256 checksums during the Verify transfer checksums micro-service.

Checksum files should be named checksum.md5, checksum.sha1, or checksum.sha256. The file itself should contain one line for each checksum, beginning with the checksum, followed by a space, followed by the file name. For example: 7f42199657dea535b6ad1963a6c7a2ac bird.mp3.

Structure of checksum file

To add the checksum file to your transfer:

  1. Place the digital objects into an /objects folder below the first level of the transfer.
  2. Create a /metadata folder at the same level as the /objects folder. Place checksum files in the /metadata folder.
  3. Begin your standard transfer in the Archivematica dashboard interface.
  4. If your checksum check fails, the Verify transfer checksums micro-service will show an error and the transfer will fail. Expanding the micro-service will show that the job Verify metadata directory checksums is red. To review the error, click on the gear icon for the job.

Disk image transfers

To add the checksum file to a disk image transfer, prepare your checksum files as above. However, there is a slight variation in how the folder should be structured:

  1. Place your disk image file at the first level of the transfer (do not place in an /objects subdirectory).
  2. Create a /metadata folder in the first level of the transfer. Place checksum files in the /metadata folder.
  3. Begin your standard transfer in the Archivematica dashboard interface.
  4. If your checksum check fails, the Verify transfer checksums micro-service will show an error and the transfer will fail. Expanding the micro-service will show that the job Verify metadata directory checksums is red. To review the error, click on the gear icon for the job.

Process the transfer

  1. In the dashboard transfer tab, the transfer will appear in the dashboard with a bell icon next to it. This means that it is awaiting a decision by the user.
  2. Click on the micro-service to display jobs that have completed, including the one requiring action.
  3. In the Actions drop-down menu, select “Approve transfer” to begin processing the transfer. You may also “Reject transfer” and quit processing.
In the Actions drop-down menu, select "Approve transfer"

In the Actions drop-down menu, select “Approve transfer”

  1. The transfer will now run through a series of micro-services. These include:

    • Verify transfer compliance: verifies that the transfer is properly structured - i.e. with the logs, metadata and objects folders.
    • Rename with transfer UUID: assigns a unique universal identifier for the transfer as a whole; directly associates the transfer with its metadata.
    • Assign file UUIDs and checksums to objects: assigns a unique universal identifier and sha-256 checksum to each file in the /objects directory.
    • Verify transfer checksums: verifies any checksums included with the transfer in its metadata directory.
    • Generate METS.xml document: creates a METS file capturing the original order of the transfer. This METS file is added to any SIPs generated from this transfer.
    • Quarantine: quarantines the transfer to a set duration based on preconfiguration settings in the Administration tab of the dashboard. This can be used to allow virus definitions to update before a virus scan.
    • Scan for viruses: scans for viruses and malware.
    • Generate transfer structure report: generates a directory tree of the original transfer and places as a text file in the AIP.
    • Clean up file and directory names: removes prohibited characters from folder and filenames, such as ampersands.
    • Identify file format: this is the identification that normalization will be based upon, the user can choose between FIDO and extension or skipping format identification at this stage. See Format identification below for more information.
    • Extract packages: extracts contents from zipped or otherwise packaged files. You can change your preconfigured workflow settings to allow for some choices about package extraction. See Extract Packages below for more information.
    • Characterize and extract metadata: identifies and validates file formats; extracts technical metadata embedded in the files. If you have preconfigured it to do so, Archivematica will stop during this micro-service and allow the user to choose a file identification command from a dropdown menu. To learn about preconfigured options, please see Administrator manual - Processing configuration. Archivematica’s file identification default is set to identification by file extension. You can also choose to skip identification and run it later, during Ingest, instead.
    • Complete transfer: Includes indexing the transfer.
  2. A transfer that is in the middle of processing will show which micro-services have been completed (green) and which are in progress (orange).

  3. When a micro-service fails or encounters an error, the micro-service background turns from green to pink and a “failed” icon appears next to the transfer or SIP name. See Error handling for more information about how to handle an error.

  4. Once the transfer micro-services are completed, a bell icon will appear next to the transfer. This means that the transfer is ready to be packaged into a SIP for ingest or sent to a backlog, indexed and stored to be retrieved for processing at a later date

    • Option 1: Select “Create single SIP and continue processing”
    • Option 2: Select “Send transfer to backlog”. In this case, your transfer will be stored in a backlog in the same location as your AIP store so that you can retrieve one or more transfers from the Ingest tab for processing at a later date. See Managing a backlog.
    • Option 3: Select “Reject the transfer”.
    A transfer that is ready to be packaged into a SIP or stored in backlog

    A transfer that is ready to be packaged into a SIP or stored in backlog


If you are running Archivematica in indexless mode (without Elasticsearch), you will not have the option to send the transfer to backlog.

  1. See Ingest for next steps.

Cleaning up the transfer dashboard

The dashboard in the Transfer tab should be cleaned up from time to time. As the list of transfers grows, it takes Archivematica longer and longer to parse this information which can create browser timeout issues.

Remove a single transfer

  1. Ensure that the transfer you want to remove doesn’t require any user input. You must complete all user inputs and either complete the transfer (i.e. send to backlog or create a SIP) or reject the transfer before it can be removed from the dashboard.
  2. When you are ready to remove a transfer from the dashboard, click the red circle icon found next to the add metadata icon, to the right of the transfer name.
  3. Click the Confirm button to remove the transfer from the dashboard.
A transfer that is ready to be removed from the dashboard


This does not delete the transfer or related entities, including the source directory. It merely removes them from the dashboard.

Remove all completed transfers

  1. Ensure that the transfers you want to remove are complete (i.e. sent to backlog or ingest). Note that this feature only works on completed transfers; rejected transfers will have to be removed one at a time.
  2. When you are ready to remove all completed transfers, click the red circle icon in the table header of the list of transfers.
  3. Click the Confirm button to remove all completed transfers from the dashboard.

Format identification

Archivematica’s default is to allow the user to choose identification options to base normalization actions upon during transfer and then use those results to base normalization upon in ingest. However, you can set your preconfiguration options to allow for the opposite (skip at transfer and identify before normalization) or for both transfer and ingest to allow for user choice in the dashboard.

Artefactual included the ability to skip identification at transfer and/or to change identification tool before normalization mainly to allow for the possibility that content in the transfer backlog may contain formats for which there are not currently entries in the Format Policy Registry (FPR). While the transfers are in the backlog, you can add rules that allow for the format(s) not identified or identifiable at time of transfer to the FPR so that, when they are processed through ingest, all formats will be identified and normalization attempted based on those identifications.

There may be other use case scenarios in the future that this configuration flexibility facilitates. In general, we aim to include as much flexibility as possible when it comes to workflow choices so that the archivist is as central as possible to AIP and DIP processing rather than hardcoding and automating so much that the archivist is left less influence on ingest.

Format identification is logged as a PREMIS event in the METS.xml using the results of running whichever tool chosen during processing.

Extract packages

If you adjust your processing configuration settings, Archivematica will stop after format identification and allow you to extract any packages in your transfer. Additionally, you can decide whether you would like to keep the package with the extracted objects or not.

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