Mr Brewster Kahle

Founder & Digital Librarian, Internet Archive

A passionate advocate for public Internet access and a successful entrepreneur, Brewster Kahle has spent his career intent on a singular focus: providing Universal Access to All Knowledge.  He is the founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive, one of the largest libraries in the world.  Soon after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied artificial intelligence, Kahle helped found the company Thinking Machines, a supercomputer maker.  In 1989, Kahle created the Internet’s first publishing system called Wide Area Information Server (WAIS), later selling the company to AOL. In 1996, Kahle co-founded Alexa Internet, which helps catalog the Web, selling it to in 1999.  The Internet Archive, which he founded in 1996, now preserves 30 petabytes of data—the books, Web pages, music, television, and software of our cultural heritage, working with more than 450 library and university partners to create a digital library, accessible to all.


Today, a growing majority of people get their information online—often filtered through for-profit platforms. For many, if a book isn’t online, it’s as if it doesn’t exist. Yet much of modern knowledge still lives only on the printed page, stored in libraries. Libraries haven’t met this digital demand, stymied by costs, ebook restrictions, policy risks, and missing infrastructure. We now have the technology and legal frameworks to transform our library system by 2020. The Internet Archive, working with library partners, are bringing 4 million books online, through purchase of ebooks or digitization of physical books, starting with the books most widely held and used in libraries and classrooms. Our project includes at-scale circulation of these digital books, enabling libraries owning the physical works to lend digital copies to their patrons. By 2020, thousands of libraries can unlock their analog collections for a new generation of learners, enabling free, long-term, public access to knowledge.