Brenton Cheng, Senior Engineer of Open Library

Brenton Cheng, Senior Engineer of Open Library

Brenton Cheng spearheads the technical and product development of Open Library, a user-curated catalog of over 16 million books, as well as book presentation and services on Archive.org. He combines deep technical experience with decades of project leadership. Brenton joined the Internet Archive in February 2016.

Open Library’s mission is to provide “One web page for every book”. In addition to displaying complete metadata listings used by book aficionados, librarians, researchers, and casual browsers, Open Library links to 2.5 million books readable on Internet Archive, WorldCat’s holdings information, and online bookstores like Better World Books and Amazon.com. Open Library relies on the strength of its volunteer community members, consisting of editors who update book information through a wiki-like interface, and software developers who contribute to the site’s evolving codebase, open-sourced on GitHub.

Since he took over project leadership of Open Library, Brenton has focused on improving its most critical services, from book discovery on the home page, to search results, to optimizing the design of book detail pages, and most recently, to creating a satisfying mobile experience for the 10,000 users a day who visit on their portable devices.

Closely related, Brenton is responsible for the book-related services and front-end user experience on the Archive.org website. He has made numerous improvements to the book ingestion pipeline, from scanning and OCR, to the generation of derivative formats such as EPUB and DAISY, to the creation and maintenance of web services that make books and book data available to the public, to the design and functionality of the Internet Archive BookReader, a custom-built reader for scanned books, which has also been open-sourced.

Previously, Brenton was Senior Director of Product and Technologies at Stringwire, a live streaming video platform for citizen journalists. There he led a team of 6 developers in 5 countries in website development and in the launch of iOS and Android mobile apps. Before that, he spent 8 years at NBCUniversal as Principal Engineer of Astrology.com.

Brenton received a BSE Magna Cum Laude in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University and an MSME focused on Biomechanical Engineering from Stanford University. He is also an adjunct professor in the Performing Arts and Social Justice program at University of San Francisco, specializing in movement awareness and training for actors and dancers.