Brewster Kahle has a rare combination of strategic vision, technical innovation, and humanitarian outlook. The 2004 Peters award recognizes his lasting achievements in the creation and use of information resources and services to advance scholarship and intellectual productivity. A long-time proponent of the transformative power of digital libraries for human culture, Kahle founded the Internet Archive Project in 1996 to provide “universal access to all human knowledge.” In cooperation with institutions such as the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Science Foundation, the Archive preserves and provides access to Web sites, movies, music, and more-currently some 30 billion pages of information-that might otherwise disappear forever from the ever-changing digital universe. Researchers, historians, and the general public have access to archived Web pages from 1996 to the present via a searching service called the “Wayback Machine.” “The accomplishments of the Internet Archive are incredibly important,” said Cliffford Lynch, director of CNI, reflecting on Kahle’s contributions. “We have had no dearth of people explaining why digital preservation was difficult and important. But when people in the future want to understand what was actually being done during the period of the Web’s first blossoming in the latter 1990s, they will be able to do so largely because of Brewster’s leadership and vision in establishing the Internet Archive.”
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Note: This information was originally posted at the time the winner was named and is not being updated.