Brewster Kahle

Digital Librarian, Director and Co-Founder, Internet Archive

Brewster KahleSince the mid-1980s, Brewster has focused on developing transformational technologies for information discovery and digital libraries. In 1989 Brewster invented the Internet’s first publishing system, WAIS (Wide Area Information Server) system, and in 1989, founded WAIS Inc., a pioneering electronic publishing company that was sold to America Online in 1995. In 1996, Brewster founded the Internet Archive, the largest publicly accessible, privately funded digital archive in the world. At the same time, he co-founded Alexa Internet in April 1996, which was sold to in 1999. Alexa’s services are bundled into more than 80% of Web browsers.

Brewster earned a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1982. As a student, he studied artificial intelligence with Marvin Minsky and W. Daniel Hillis. In 1983, Brewster helped start Thinking Machines, a parallel supercomputer maker, serving there as lead engineer for six years. He is profiled in Digerati: Encounters with the Cyber Elite (HardWired, 1996). He was selected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005, Upside 100 in 1997, Micro Times 100 in 1996 and 1997, and Computer Week 100 in 1995.


  • Internet Archive, Digital Librarian, Director, Co-Founder 1996-present
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation, Board Member
  • Alexa Internet, President, CEO, Co-Founder (sold to 1996-2002
  • The Library of Congress, National Digital Strategy Advisory Board April 2001
  • America Online, Internet Strategist 1995-1996
  • Wide Area Information Servers, Inc (WAIS), Founder, President (sold to AOL) 1992-1995
  • Thinking Machines with Apple, Dow Jones, KPMG, WAIS Inventor and Project Leader 1989-1992
  • Thinking Machines, Scientist 1983-1992. Helped start company, chips, boards, architected CPU of CM2