In chronicling billions of websites and digital files, Brewster Kahle may now have earned himself the title of official historian of the Internet.
As founder and director of the Internet Archive, a not-for-profit, free digital library that archives Internet documents and makes them universally accessible, Kahle has assembled a digital collection of more than 4,000,000 e-books, millions of concerts and films, and 279 billion archived web pages. Everything is free to the public.
But Kahle has done more than archive – he’s helped establish a definitive history of the creation of the Internet, and in the process, has become a leading advocate in the effort to keep it free and accessible.
Kahle has been involved in Internet technology since the late 80s. In 1989, he invented the Internet's first publishing and distributed search system, WAIS (Wide Area Information Server). In 1996, he started his analytics firm, Alexa Internet, which he sold to Amazon in 1999. That same year, he founded the Internet Archive, and in 2012, he was inducted into the inaugural Internet Hall of Fame for his contributions.
As the Internet Hall of Fame opens nominations for the 2017 awards, we caught up with Kahle to talk not only about his continued mission with...
For one South American country, Internet access would be just a dream without the contributions of one woman.
One of the first women to study computer science at Uruguay's University of the Republic, Ida Holz graduated almost 20 years before the country had widespread Internet access.
Despite being introduced to computers via Fortran punch cards, Holz went on to become one of Uruguay's most vocal advocates for email development and Internet access expansion in her home country in the 1980s and early 1990s. In a Spanish language interview with El Observador recently, she noted:
"When we began with the Internet here, we looked at each other sideways," she said. "I remember the lawyers told us that the Internet couldn't happen here because there were no owners, no regulations. They kept assuring us it would be anarchy. But it happened, in a way that nobody expected.
"We don't know what's going to happen within 10 years, but the world advances and the speed with which it has changed in these last 20 years is impressive."
The Internet Hall of Fame has translated into English the full interview from El Observador below.
Ida Holz: The Uruguayan of the Internet
Despite the average web page only lasting 100 days before being deleted or edited, international efforts are underway to preserve the Internet in all its ethereal glory.
Inductee and pioneer in artificial intelligence and supercomputing, Brewster Kahle began bulk-capturing the web in 1996 and storing it on the Wayback Machine, which now carries more than 273 billion often-defunct web pages.
The Wayback Machine is part of Kahle's Internet Archive, a nonprofit Internet library dedicated to ensuring that historic web pages are preserved as cultural artifacts, and accessible to everyone.
Based in San Francisco, the 20-year-old archive adds more than 250 million pages per week, including an extensive trove of Balinese-language material, old GeoCities pages and, in the near future, Vine videos.
In an interview with the Irish Times, Kahle said he firmly believes in making all human knowledge...
Although the years of the “flower power” culture that Teus Hagen says helped shape his ideals are long gone, the accomplished mathematician and Internet pioneer is still a bit of a rebel.
Retired for nearly a decade, Hagen says one of his “hobbies” is environmental activism.
Now a resident of southern Holland, near the Phillips GrowWise Center that was established to develop models for urban farming, Hagen says he is committed to gathering data for environmental protection.
“I do a lot of things in this area,” he said. “To try to wake up the politicians about the unhealthy state in which we live.”
Hagen says he collects data from all over Holland, and posts it on a website to show the true state of environmental pollution as measured under the international Air Quality Index followed by the United States and China.
“The website provides charts and graphics for environment pollutants in the agricultural environments in the whole of the southeastern part of the Netherlands and neighboring Germany border,” Hagen says.
“The data originates from governmental measurement stations. Charts and graphics are calculated into the international Air Quality Index. The graphs enable the user to compare the situations over the years and warns about recent air quality...
Teus Hagen is a self-admitted product of the “flower power culture” of the 1960s and ‘70s.
And like many early Internet pioneers from that generation, it was his willingness to challenge authority – and break some rules – that played a crucial role in development of the global network as we know it today.
For Hagen, it started when he was a student assistant in the 1970s at the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), the Netherlands’ national research institute for mathematics and computer science.
Hagen says he was working on a complicated graphics project and looking for a better operating system when he found an article about the Unix operating system being developed by Ken Thompson. So, he sent him a letter. In return, Hagen says, he was given a free Unix license.
Armed with one of the first such licenses in Europe, Hagen initiated Dutch Unix User Group (NLUUG) and the European Unix User Group (EUUG, later called EurOpen).
But the system, he said, was in its very early stages and needed some work, and to keep it running, Hagen says, “we needed to interchange, exchange knowledge. We did so via the phone system using modems from the US.”
“To make that possible I created a dial-up system in the mathematics center,” he said. “But communicating...