5 Questions with Lead Engineer Noah Levitt

May 2nd, 2014



We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know our new team members on the blog, and we thought you might also like to know a little bit more about the engineer behind Archive-It for the past 6 years.

Noah Levitt, Archive-It’s Lead Engineer, has been crucial in improving Heritrix, developing new capture mechanisms like Umbra, and providing important technical support for Archive-It Partners who archive complicated and dynamic content from the web. Thanks, Noah!

1. Before working at Archive-It, what project are you most proud of?

Back in 2003-2004 I was briefly deeply involved with the open source GNOME desktop, mostly working on internationalization. I wrote the unicode character map that is still distributed with GNOME today, and I also contributed to the pango text rendering library and related libraries.

2. You have been working with web archiving crawl technology for more than 6 years now! What interests you most about archiving the web?

I strongly believe in the mission of the Internet Archive, “Universal access to all knowledge”. Information is power and it should belong to everyone. Milan Kundera wrote, “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” Along the same lines George Orwell wrote in his novel 1984, “He who controls the past controls the future.” Today the web is the medium where probably more information is published and consumed than anywhere else. We can’t let all of that fall down the memory hole.

3. What content from the web are you most passionate about archiving?

I think we should save everything we can. But if I had to choose one area, I would say news as it happens, primary sources, things like that. Information that will become part of the historical narrative.

4. In addition to being a talented engineer, you are also a musician. What bands and music projects are you currently a part of?

I play in two Balkan brass bands, Inspector Gadje and Fanfare Zambaleta. We play mostly music of the Romani people of Serbia, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, etc.

5. What are you most excited about for Archive-It 5.0?

Everything! Better user experience, fresh clean new platform, new tools for reporting and analytics, more intuitive yet powerful crawl scoping, to name a few things.