13 Facts About Brewster Kahle


Brewster Lurton Kahle is an American digital librarian, a computer engineer, Internet entrepreneur, and advocate of universal access to all knowledge.


Brewster Kahle graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in computer science and engineering, where he was a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity.


Brewster Kahle was inspired to create the Wayback Machine after visiting the offices of Alta Vista, where he was struck by the immensity of the task being undertaken and achieved: to store and index everything that was on the Web.


Brewster Kahle was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering for archiving, and making available, all forms of digital information.


Brewster Kahle is a member of the Internet Hall of Fame, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and serves on the boards of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, the European Archive and the Television Archive.


Brewster Kahle is a member of the advisory board of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program of the Library of Congress, and is a member of the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure.


Brewster Kahle has been critical of Google's book digitization, especially of Google's exclusivity in restricting other search engines' digital access to the books they archive.


Brewster Kahle said the digital transition has moved from local control to central control, non-profit to for-profit, diverse to homogeneous, and from "ruled by law" to "ruled by contract".


Brewster Kahle stated that even public-domain material published before 1923, and not bound by copyright law, is still bound by Google's contracts and requires permission to be distributed or copied.


Brewster Kahle reasoned that this trend has emerged for a number of reasons: distribution of information favoring centralization, the economic cost of digitizing books, the issue of library staff without the technical knowledge to build these services, and the decision of the administrators to outsource information services.


In 1997, Brewster Kahle explained that apart from the value for historians' use of these digital archives, they might help resolve some common infrastructure complaints about the Internet, such as adding reliability to "404 Document not found" errors, contextualizing information to make it more trustworthy, and maintaining navigation to aid in finding related content.


Brewster Kahle explained the importance of packaging enough meta-data into the archive, since it is unknown what future researchers will be interested in, and that it might be more problematic to find data than to preserve it.


Brewster Kahle thinks the warehouse is large enough to hold about a million titles, with each one given a barcode that identifies the cardboard box, pallet and shipping container in which it resides.