Brewster Kahle's stated goal is "Universal access to all knowledge," and his catalog of inventions and institutions created for this purpose read like a Web's Greatest Hits list. In 1982 he helped start Thinking Machines, a supercomputer company specializing in text searching, and would go on to invent the Internet's first publishing and distributed search system, WAIS, whose customers included the New York Times and the United States Senate.
But most notably, perhaps, Kahle is founder and director of the Internet Archive, a free service which steadfastly archives World Wide Web documents, even as they are plowed over by breakneck trends in commerce, culture and politics. (On his Wayback Machine, you can view pages as they appeared in web antiquity -- say, Yahoo! in 1996.) As a member of the Board of Directors of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, he works to keep such information free and reachable.
Kahle is a key supporter of the Open Content Alliance and has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He and his wife operate a nonprofit organization, the Kahle/Austin Foundation, which funds the Internet Archive.