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Internet and Impermanence: Brewster Kahle in Conversation with Heather Wall...

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California Institute of Integral Studies

1453 Mission Street

San Francisco, CA 94103

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Have you ever wondered what happens to webpages that disappear or become obsolete? Often, they can be found in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, a digital compendium of the Internet throughout time – or at least since 1996.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Internet is not an everlasting record of everything once posted— information can be modified, replaced, and erased. Wisdom traditions have reminded us that impermanence is fundamental to existence and an unavoidable part of life, including the web. The Internet Archive is part of the ongoing project to preserve human knowledge in perpetuity while struggling against the realities of impermanence.

Join Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian and founder of the Internet Archive, in conversation with Heather Walls, CCO of the Wikimedia Foundation, about the Internet and how its systems exhibit impermanence as well as permanence over time.

Brewster Kahle is the founder of and a Digital Librarian at the Internet Archive, one of the largest libraries in the world. A passionate advocate for public Internet access and a successful entrepreneur, Kahle has spent his career intent on a singular focus: providing universal access to all knowledge. Soon after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied artificial intelligence, Kahle helped found the company Thinking Machines, a supercomputer maker. In 1989, Kahle created the Internet’s first publishing system called Wide Area Information Server (WAIS), later selling the company to AOL. In 1996, Kahle co-founded Alexa Internet, which helps catalog the Web, selling it to Amazon in 1999. The Internet Archive, which he founded in 1996, now preserves 25 petabytes of data—books, Web pages, music, television, and software—working with more than 450 library and university partners to create a digital library accessible to all.

Heather Walls is interim Chief Communications Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia and its sister sites. Prior to stepping into the interim role in June 2016, she served as the Foundation’s first Creative Director. As Chief Communications Officer, Heather leads the Foundation’s Communications department across brand and design, audience development, digital content, and public relations.

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California Institute of Integral Studies

1453 Mission Street

San Francisco, CA 94103

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