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MDAH Electronic Records Transfer Guide

Archival paper records bound for MDAH are first grouped according to a records control schedule, inventoried and boxed, and finally transferred to the department for permanent retention. Similarly, electronic records should be grouped, inventoried and “boxed” before transfer. This document will provide guidance on how to perform these tasks for your electronic records before transferring them to MDAH.

MDAH recommends the BagIt specification, developed and used by the Library of Congress, to provide a packaging format for archival electronic records. BagIt provides the transferring agency and MDAH with important information about the files being transferred and produces a reliable submission package.

This guide will provide step-by-step instructions on how to use this specification for your electronic records.


The Library of Congress has created a simple tool to implement the BagIt specification. This tool is called Bagger.

Downloading and Installing Bagger

Bagger can be downloaded from the MDAH site here.

This a zip file containing the program. You may save the zip file to any location on your computer, however we recommend your Desktop for simple access. Once the file has completed downloading, unzip the zip file.

Unzipping a Zip File

  1. Double-click the zipped file.

  2. In the window that opens, click Extract all files.

The Extraction Wizard opens.

  1. Click Next.

  2. In the Select a Destination panel, select the location where you want the folder to be placed, for example, the Desktop. Click Next.

  3. In the Extraction Complete panel, select Show extracted files. Check Finish. The unzipped files appear in a new window.

After unpacking the zip file, find the directory “bagger-2.1.2.” To start the Bagger application, double-click on the “bagger.bat” file in the “bagger-2.1.2” folder. The Bagger application starts with a splash banner page, then you will see the main Bagger window.

Creating a bag in Bagger

Every group of electronic records should correspond to a records control schedule approved by the State Records Committee. When you have identified a group of records to be transferred to MDAH, you can create that group in Bagger. The term Bagger uses for this group is called a “bag.”

  1. On the toolbar at the top of the Bagger window you will see a button titled “Create New Bag.” Click this button.

  1. A dialog window appears. Select the 0.96 specification and , then click “OK”.

  1. You can now see the regular Bagger window again. Notice on the left side of the window a pane titled “Payload.” This is where you will deposit your electronic records. Click the green plus sign on this pane.

  1. You will now see a file navigation window. You can navigate to the file(s) or folder(s) which constitute the electronic records for this series. If a folder contains all the electronic records for this series, you can simply select that folder. When you have selected the file or folder, click “Open.”

  1. If you have multiple files or folders, simply click the green plus button again and repeat as necessary.

If you mistakenly add a file or folder, you can select that item in the “Payload” pane and click the red minus button to remove it.

  1. When you have all the electronic records for this group, click on the “Save Bag As…” icon on the toolbar.

  1. You will now see a “Save Bag As” dialog window. Click on the “Browse” button.

  1. You will now see a file navigation window. You can save the bag to any location, however we recommend the Desktop for simple access.

Type in a file name for this bag in the “File Name” text field. You can name the bag after the record series title, including the schedules number. For example, if the record series title is “Office Correspondence” and the schedule number is 5555, you can title the bag:


When you have selected a location and typed the name, click “Save.”

  1. Do not check the “Holey Bag” box.

  2. Select “zip” for Serialize Type. This will generate the bag as a zip file.

  1. Keep “Generate Tag Manifest?” checked. Have “md5” as the algorithm.

  2. Keep “Generate Payload Manifest?” checked. Have “md5” as the algorithm.

  3. Click “OK” when you are finished. The bag will be saved at the location you specified at the “Browse” button.

  4. You will see a dialog window reading “Bag saved successfully.” Click “OK.”

  1. You may now close the Bagger program, or select “Create New Bag” if there are more series to transfer.

You have now created a “bag” which constitutes an electronic records series package ready for transfer to MDAH. The zip file will be transferred to MDAH.

Further Information and Support

You will also find in your Bagger directory a Quick Reference guide and an extensive user manual. You can consult these or contact MDAH with any questions or concerns.

MDAH Electronic Records
Phone: 601/576-6929