Mek Karpeles

Citizen of the World

Karpeles is a citizen of the world at the Internet Archive. His life mission is to organize a living map of the world’s knowledge. With it, he aspires to empower every person to overcome oppression, find and create opportunity, and reach their fullest potential to do good. Karpeles’s favorite media includes non-fiction books and academic journals — tools to educate the future — which he proudly helps make available through his work on Open Library.

Prior to joining the Internet Archive, Karpeles spent a year as a volunteer, cultivating a community of volunteer researchers and developers who engineer open access and public good experiments using Internet Archive’s public offerings. Since inception, Labs has grown to over 130 members and produced several experimental services like the Archive’s IIIF interoperable image service, the Groovebox.org music player, hash-archive.org (a website for detecting file tampering), webtorrent support and tor hidden access for archive.org, and an annotation service for archive.org books.

The decision for Karpeles to join the Internet Archive was catalyzed by the passing of, and is dedicated to, Aaron Swartz — an inspirational champion of knowledge who created many of the technologies on which Karpeles’s career was built, who left lucid breadcrumbs and insights to a brighter future, and who fought for many of the human rights (like scholarly open access and net neutrality) Mek also fervently believes. He aspires to perform the impossible task of protecting these rights, to the best of his ability in Aaron’s absence.

Before walking the path of the archivist, Karpeles co-founded Babo Labs, an e-commerce website which sold to hyperink.com (a YCombinator e-publishing startup) in 2011, where he led engineering as principal architect. He spent a stint as VPE at Ark.com (a YCombinator people-search startup) before founding Hackerlist.net, a service marketplace for hiring artificial intelligence experts, in 2013.

Karpeles has a BS in Computer Science from the University of Vermont and is on-leave from a PhD program in Artificial Intelligence and Computational Linguistics at the University of Delaware.