The Michigan Digital Preservation Network was created in 2019 following the completion of the IMLS-sponsored “Statewide & Regional Stepping Stones to the National Digital Platform grant project.  

Stepping Stones sought to address a troubling gap in the digital practices among the state’s cultural heritage institutions. Of the 155 survey respondents, nearly one third (39) reported they did not backup their digital collections. Only 9% (14) reported currently having a digital preservation policy. Of those who currently reported using “network upload preservation solutions,” 39% (51) reported being “Mostly Unsatisfied” or “Very Unsatisfied” with their current strategies. Of these institutions, 66% (33) reported that they would be interested in collaborating in a statewide digital preservation network. 

To address these needs, the Stepping Stones project focused on cultivating a community throughout the state willing to support digital preservation across “all types of institutions” to leverage collaboration, avoid silos, reach new economies of scale, and address the various agreements, policies, and other planning instruments that would serve to “structure collaborations and make them healthy and sustainable over time.”

In the fall of 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding that created the new Michigan Digital Preservation Network was signed by the Library of Michigan, Midwest Collaborative for Library Services, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, and Western Michigan University to “enable member organizations including libraries, museums, historical societies, and other cultural heritage organizations to have a shared opportunity to access a digital preservation solution for digital content.” 


The mission of the Michigan Digital Preservation Network is to protect and manage digital cultural heritage materials through a distributed digital preservation model and foster a community of practitioners from collecting institutions across the state. 


The Michigan Digital Preservation Network strives to provide an accessible and reliable “gold standard” for digital preservation technology to collecting organizations across the state and cultivate a vibrant and knowledgeable community of diverse stakeholders engaged in advancing digital preservation practice and discussion throughout Michigan. 


Chelsea Denault, Ph.D.MDPN Coordinator

Chelsea joins the MDPN from the Public History field, where she worked for almost a decade on projects such as Public History Lab, Mapping Inequality, the Chicago Elections Project, the award-winning Chrysler Village History Project, and many other exhibition and oral history initiatives. She served at a variety of cultural institutions, including the Newberry Library, The Henry Ford, the Nantucket Historical Association, the Urban History Association, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, the Archdiocese of Chicago Archives & Records Center, and Landmarks Illinois. Chelsea holds a Ph.D. in American History and an MA in Public History from Loyola University Chicago, and is also a graduate of Albion College.

You can contact her with questions about membership, events and workshop questions, advocacy resources, and collections resources.