Preservation of Information (PI) specialization

The PI specialization teaches the principles and knowledge of preservation administration across all media and formats. Areas covered include collection evaluation and threat assessments, preservation policies, facilities and environmental controls, and resources and stable funding models.

Students benefit from faculty with extensive professional experience in preservation and who are among the top researchers in the field. Program strengths include a strong focus on archival practice and digital technologies. In addition, students of the University of Michigan can access a formidable set of preservation resources, labs, collections, and more.

What can I do with a career interest in preservation of information?

Learn more about Megan Morrissey (MSI '15, PI specialization).

MSI graduates with a PI specialization help to make documents and materials accessible online and to manage continued access over time. PI specialists are experts in digital and analog preservation administration, preservation digitization and reformatting, preservation planning and policy setting, and standards for digital data curation.

Career Industry Areas: University or public library/special collections, educational institutions, nonprofits, cultural institutions, government agencies, publishing information repositories, consumer goods corporations, service corporations, information collection and delivery organizations

Career Titles: Preservation officer/manager, digital preservation specialist, data/digital curator, Web archivist, digital collections manager, digital preservation project manager

Employment Outlook: Job prospects for PI graduates is expected to be strong.The growth area for preservation graduates is connected to our increasingly digitized world. Jobs are expected to grow as public and private organizations are requiring organization of and access to increasing volumes of historical and present day records and information. 

PI internships

Students gain valuable experience in southeast Michigan and around the globe. Recent internship sites include:

  • Safe Sound Archive
  • Michigan Opera Theater
  • Eastern Michigan University – Intern (Heidi Butterfield)
  • Wayne State University Library
  • University of Michigan Libraries
  • Center for Research Libraries
  • Florida Center for Automation
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives (Digital Preservation)
  • Smithsonian Institution (National Anthropological Archives)
  • University of Michigan (Scholarly Publishing Office)
  • Michigan State University Archives
  • Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC)

MSI-PI employment outcomes

Organizations employing MSI-PI graduates have included:

  • Archives of Michigan
  • National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
  • Library of Congress
  • Internet Archive
  • Statistics New Zealand
  • UM Bentley Historical Library
  • North Carolina State University Libraries
  • Portland Art Museum
  • Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Infinity Primary Care
  • University of California-Irvine

PI specialization requirements (current for 2015-2016)

In addition to the specialization requirements below, students must meet all of the degree requirements of the 48-credit MSI program, including foundations, distributions, practical engagement, cognate, and electives.

PI Students must complete 12 credits from the list below, including SI 581 which is required:

  • SI 581: Preservation Administration (3, Required)
  • SI 601: Data Manipulation (1.5)
  • SI 603: Economics of Sustainable Digital Preservation (1.5)
  • SI 625: Digital Preservation (3)
  • SI 639: Web Archiving (1.5)
  • SI 675: Digitization for Preservation (3)
  • SI 678: Preserving Sound and Motion (3)
  • Up to 3 credits from a PI relevant internship may be counted towards the PI specialization: SI 681: Internship/Field Experience and Seminar in Practical Engagement (6 credits) or SI 690: Internship/Field Experience (1-6.5 credits).*

* Note: Students can count up to 3 credits of a single summer internship for EITHER the ARM or the PI specialization.  A single internship of 6 credits cannot be applied to both specializations.

Download Tracking and Planning Sheets (login required)

For questions or more information about the PI specialization, current students should contact Academic Advisor Sarah Argiero.  Prospective students should contact our admissions office at