Special Lecture

Locking the Web Open: A Call for a New, Distributed Web

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
11:15 am - 12:15 pm
210 South Hall
Brewster Kahle, Founder & Digital Librarian, Internet Archive

Locking the Web Open: A Call for a New, Distributed Web

Locking the Web Open: A Call for a New, Distributed Web

Twenty years after the World Wide Web was created, can we now make it better? How can we ensure that our most important values — privacy, free speech, and open access to knowledge — are enshrined in the code itself? In a provocative call to action, entrepreneur and Open Internet advocate Brewster Kahle challenges us to build a better, decentralized Web based on new distributed technologies. He lays out a path to creating a new Web that is reliable, private, but still fun — in order to lock the Web open for good.

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 Amazon.com in 1999. The Internet Archive, which he founded in 1996, now preserves 25 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.

About the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library founded by Brewster Kahle in 1996 with the mission to provide “Universal Access to All Knowledge.” The organization seeks to preserve the world’s cultural heritage and to provide open access to our shared knowledge in the digital era, supporting the work of historians, scholars, journalists, students, the blind and reading disabled, as well as the general public. The Internet Archive’s digital collections include more than 25 petabytes of data: 460 billion Web captures, moving images (2.2 million films and videos), audio (2.5 million recordings, 140,000 live concerts), texts (8 million texts including 3 million digital books), software (100,000 items) and television (3 million hours). Each day, 2-3 million visitors use or contribute to the archive, making it one of the world’s top 250 sites. It has created new models for digital conservation by forging alliances with more than 450 libraries, universities and national archives around the world. The Internet Archive champions the public benefit of online access to our cultural heritage and the import of adopting open standards for its preservation, discovery and presentation.

Last updated:

August 23, 2016