Get to Know the Avalon Team: Michael B. Klein


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

Michael B. Klein

Michael's previous experience in digital libraries includes positions at Stanford University, Oregon State University, and the Boston Public Library. Before venturing into the library world, he spent 15 years as a contract software developer for ExxonMobil and the U.S. Census Bureau. He holds a Bachelor of Music from the Catholic University of America, as well as a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from Simmons College.


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

I’m the lead developer on the Northwestern side of the project, which means I do all of the same things the other developers do:

  • write code, tests, and support scripts
  • solve thorny technical problems
  • manage source code
  • write technical documentation, including configuration, installation, and upgrade instructions
  • consult with sysadmins and other stakeholders to ensure smooth installations and upgrades
  • provide support for issues that come up during testing and rollout

What is a typical work week like for you?

My typical work week consists of a combination of new feature development, fixing any issues that come up, and making sure new functionality doesn’t break older features. I also participate in daily 15-minute standup meetings and biweekly sprint planning meetings. In addition to my Avalon work, I consult with other NU Library Technology staff on issues ranging from data storage to security, preservation, and user identity/access management.


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

My iPhone is pretty much always in my hand when I’m not at my desk. As far as software I use in my work, I couldn’t get by without Sublime Text, Google Chrome’s developer tools, git, Github, and jsFiddle.


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

When I’m not working, I’m generally with my family – either at home, unpacking our stuff into our new house, or out enjoying the Chicago Botanic Garden, museums, Navy Pier, etc. I’ve also been itching to find some open space on a clear night and get my 8” Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope out of storage.