What is DART?

DART is the Digital Archivist's Resource Tool, an open-source desktop application for creating digital transfer packages as standardized containers ("bags") that implement the BagIt File Packaging Format. Use DART during the digital records transfer process to create Transfer Packages that can be uploaded to a Deposit Folder on SFU Vault or copied to an external drive for delivery to Archives.

Who should use DART?

SFU staff should use DART when sending digital records to the Archives. University records are covered by Records Retention Schedules and Disposal Authorities (RRSDAs). Some (but not all) university records should be transferred to the Archives at the end of their total retention period. To find out if your records are eligible for transfer, check RRSDAs online in SFU's Directory of Records (DUR) or contact SFU's Records Management Archivist for more information.

Donors of privately donated archival materials should also use DART when transferring digital records to the Archives.

The app can be used on Windows, Mac or Linux operating systems.

DART and digital transfers

When you have digital records ready for transfer, contact the Archives ( Upon approval, you will receive a Transfer Number and a link to a Deposit Folder on SFU Vault

Use DART to package your files in preparation for transfer. The application runs on your desktop. Select the folders and files you want to transfer. In the DART interface, enter your contact information, the Transfer Number you received from Archives and some descriptive information about the records. DART will then structure the files and metadata following the BagIt specification to create a transfer package as a standard BagIt container ("bag").

DART does not actually send the transfer anywhere, it simply creates the transfer package on your computer as a zipped file (.tar). You will need to separately upload the .tar file to your Deposit Folder on SFU Vault.

When the Archives receives the transfer, it will process the records through our digital preservation system and send you a Transfer Completed Notice with a list of the materials you transferred. Retain this list: you will need to refer to it when / if you later request access to materials you transferred.

Why use DART?

Packaging files with DART offers several advantages over simple upload / copy of unpackaged files.

(1) Based on standards. DART creates standardized transfer packages that implement the BagIt specification, ensuring that transfers are consistent and predictable in structure, regardless of content.

(2) Generates checksums. DART creates a checksum for each file packaged. A checksum is an alpha-numeric value calculated by an algorithm applied to the file's underlying bitstream (the string of 0s and 1s). It functions as a kind of "digital fingerprint": any change to the bitstream will generate a completely different checksum when the same algorithm is applied. This enables the Archives to validate transfers by comparing the files' pre- and post-transfer checksums. In this way we can identify any files that suffered corruption or data loss during transmission and request users to re-send them.

(3) Preserves timestamps. DART preserves the original timestamps (date created and date modified) of the files included in the packages. This is useful metadata that would be lost if you simply copy / upload files to the deposit folder on SFU Vault.

(4) Incorporates user-supplied metadata. The information provided by users about the transfer is important contextual information, valuable for the long-term management of the materials and for their future understandability and use. SFU MoveIt retains the metadata within the transfer package itself so that it is carried forward with the records through their subsequent life in the digital preservation system.

Last updated: June 7, 2024