Brewster Kahle

Internet Archive

Universal Access to All Knowledge
98 minutes, 45.1mb, recorded 2004-12-16
Advances in computing and communications mean that we can cost-effectively store every book, sound recording, movie, software package, and public web page ever created, and provide access to these collections via the Internet to students and adults all over the world. By mostly using existing institutions and funding sources, we can build this as well as compensate authors within what is the current worldwide library budget. The talk offers an update on the current state of progress towards that ideal, which would allow us to bequeath an accessible record of our cultural heritage to our descendants.


Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian, Director and Co-founder of the Internet Archive, has been working to provide universal access to all human knowledge for more than fifteen years. Since the mid-1980s, Kahle has focused on developing transformational technologies for information discovery and digital libraries. In 1989 Kahle invented the Internet�s first publishing system, WAIS (Wide Area Information Server) system and in 1989, founded WAIS Inc., a pioneering electronic publishing company that was sold to America Online in 1995. In 1996, Kahle founded the Internet Archive, the largest publicly accessible, privately funded digital archive in the world. At the same time, he co-founded Alexa Internet in April 1996, which was sold to in 1999. Alexa's services are bundled into more than 80% of Web browsers.

Kahle earned a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1982. As a student, he studied artificial intelligence with Marvin Minsky and W. Daniel Hillis. In 1983, Kahle helped start Thinking Machines, a parallel supercomputer maker, serving there as lead engineer for six years. He is profiled in Digerati: Encounters with the Cyber Elite (HardWired, 1996). He was selected as a member of the Upside 100 in 1997, Micro Times 100 in 1996 and 1997, and Computer Week 100 in 1995.

This presentation is from the IT Conversations archives of the SDForum Distinguished Speaker Series.

This free podcast is from our Accelerating Change series.