Brewster Kahle Universal Access to Human Knowledge

The other day I watched Brewster Kahle’s inspiring presentation at last month’s NotCon session titled, “Universal Access to Human Knowledge” (Page with 54 Minute MPEG @ 120 MB — worth every bite ;-)

For those that don’t know Brewster Kahle, he was an early member of the parallel supercomputing company Thinking Machines. From there he went on to develop, found and sell to AOL WAIS, Inc. which was probably the internet’s first global search engine (years before the web took off). Later Kahle started Alexa Internet (the “related links” service in IE), which he sold to Amazon.com.

After the sale, Kahle has focused his attention on the Internet Archive whose mission is building a digital library of the Internet.

However, more recently Kahle has expanded this mission to provide universal access to all human knowledge.

There’s not doubt, this guy is a big thinker.

In particular, he is evangelizing and I believe funding the effort to digitally scan the world’s public domain out-of-print books and making them available on-demand via Internet Bookmobile, which is essentially a computer, printer, binder and satellite that can be stationed anywhere.

In fact, he says that it only costs $1 to print and bind a book, whereas it costs US libraries $2 to issue a book.

Of course there’s the upfront costs of scanning an entire book, which Kahle says costs $10 per book, but you get to keep the book! No more late fees!

Anyway, this is just a glimmer of what Kahle is up to these days. The video or audio of Kahle and other speakers at the NotCon event is certainly worth a view/listen.