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Brewster Kahle: ‘Universal Access to All Knowledge’

November 10, 2017 | 3:00 pm

Brewster Kahle, internet entrepreneur, universal access advocate, and founder of the Internet Archive, will deliver the 2017 Lucile Kelling Henderson Lecture hosted by the UNC School of Information and Library Science. Kahle’s talk, “Universal Access to All Knowledge,” is set for 3:00 pm, Friday, November 10 in Manning Hall 209. The lecture is free and open to the public, and a brief reception will follow.  

The talk will be livestreamed at and later posted on the SILS YouTube channel.

Brewster Kahle

Abstract: This is a great time to be an archivist and librarian—digital memory is ever more important and more difficult to manage.

Advances in computing and communications mean that we can cost-effectively store every book, sound recording, movie, software package, and public webpage ever created and provide access to these collections via the Internet to students and adults all over the world. By using mostly existing institutions and funding sources, we can build this, as well as compensate authors, within the current worldwide library budget. Technological advances, for the first time since the loss of the Library of Alexandria, may allow us to collect all published knowledge in a similar way. But now we can take the original goal another step further to make all the published works of humankind accessible to everyone, no matter where they are in the world.

Will we allow ourselves to reinvent our concept of libraries and archives to expand and to use the new technologies?  This is fundamentally a societal and policy issue. These issues are reflected in our governments’ spending priorities, and in law.

Bio: 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.

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 30 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.


November 10, 2017
3:00 pm
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