Get to Know the Avalon Team: Claire Stewart


In our new series "Get to Know the Avalon Team," we'll be providing a closer look at the individuals who are working each day to develop the Avalon Media System.

Claire Stewart


Claire Stewart is a project co-director and helps with overall vision and direction for the Avalon project and system. She is the Northwestern University Library's lead on scholarly communication issues, and is responsible for providing leadership in development of repository services and digital publishing and digital archiving projects. 


Can you talk a bit about your role in the project?

I'm on the project director team with Jon Dunn and Stu Baker, and I'm the head of the department at Northwestern that manages the collections digitization & streaming and repository services, so I work with Julie Rudder to keep in synch on Avalon needs and development, and how things are lining up with our other repository development projects. Right now I'm tackling the Avalon licensing issues, which involves getting all the component licenses pulled together and sorted and making sure we have one we like.


What is a typical work week like for you?

I have two jobs, technically: I'm the head of Digital Collections and I direct our Center for Scholarly Communication & Digital Curation. So you know what that means: meetings. I'm lucky, I get to work with a lot of people inside and outside of the library, so there are a lot of meetings, but sometimes it's with librarians, sometimes with faculty or academic administrators, sometimes with technologists. It's a nice mix. In any given week I probably spend ⅓ of my time writing, ⅓ engaged in various project and planning activities or consulting on projects, and ⅓ doing more administrative/managerial things, budgets, department meetings, and so forth. Now that I'm doing the Scholarly Communication thing, I'm also traveling more, which I'm enjoying. 


What apps/software/gadgets can't you live without?

I have the iPhone 'claw' -- it's basically attached to me all day and night, though I'm trying hard to wean myself from it after 10pm. I had a traumatic incident with a flooded basement back in 2002, so I'm addicted to weather monitoring and have seven weather apps on my phone. I'm also a huge fan of Excel, and though I haven't mastered all of its wizardy features, I sort of feel that if you can't do it in Excel, it may not be worth doing. I'm not sure what I would do without Tumblr.


When you’re not working, what can you be found doing?

Cooking, gardening, reading about octopus or traveling with my husband. We specialize in visiting interesting places just slightly out of season.