Brewster showing us the Bookmobile
Brewster instructing us on how to print and bind the books
The Connection Machine at the Internet Archive data center
A rack of PC's running Linux at the Internet Archive data center
This morning I went to the see Brewster Kahle at his office in Presidio. Neal Stephenson
had been trying to get us together and it finally happened. I was very excited to see/hear the whole thing. We started by seeing the Bookmobile
which is this amazing thing that Brewster and his team did. They have 1,000,000 books from the public domain available in their database on the Internet. The Bookmobile cruises around and lets kids print the books and binds them. It costs a dollar to print one of these books so they can give them away. The Bookmobile has cruised around the US and was there during Larry Lessig
's argument at the Supreme Court on Eldred v. Ashcroft
. The Bookmobile is part of a much bigger project of Brewster's which involves creating a library that archives EVERYTHING. Music, the Web, video, everything. This is called the Internet Archive Project
This amazing project involves archiving everything using low cost technology. The Connection Machine in the data center was originally running, but now it all runs on PC's with UNIX. There are over a 150 terabytes of data in the data center. There is room for a petabyte. Brewster is on the board of the Library of Congress and is also working with the Library of Alexandria in Egypt on this project. He is trying to recruit other libraries to swap content and mirror the archives. It is such a huge and important project that I couldn't HELP MYSELF... I'm involved. I'm going to try to figure out how to get Japan involved.
Brewster, for those of you who don't know him was one of the founders of WAIS (a great pre-web tool for indexing and publishing information that I used A LOT on my Mac) and Thinking Machines that created the Connection Machine, a massive parallel processing computer. He's quite a legend and it was a great honor and a lot of fun to meet him.