Alan Emtage was born in Barbados, the son of Sir Stephen and Lady Emtage. He attended high school at Harrison College from 1975 to 1983 (and in 1981 became the owner of a Sinclair ZX81 with 1K of memory), where he graduated at the top of his class, winning the Barbados Scholarship.
In 1983 Emtage entered McGill University in Montreal, Canada studying for an honors Bachelor’s degree in computer science which was followed by a Master’s degree in 1987 from which he graduated in 1991. Emtage was part of the team that brought the first Internet link to eastern Canada (and only the second link in the country) in 1986. In 1989 while a student and working as a systems administrator for the School of Computer Science, Emtage conceived and implemented the original version of the Archie search engine, the world’s first Internet search engine and the start of a line which leads directly to today’s Altavista, Yahoo!, and Google.
In 1992, Emtage along with Peter J. Deutsch formed Bunyip Information Systems the world’s first company expressly founded for and dedicated to providing Internet information services with a licensed commercial version of the Archie search engine.
Emtage was a founding member of the Internet Society and went on to create and chair several working groups at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the standard-setting body for the Internet. Working with other pioneers such as Tim Berners-Lee, Marc Andreessen, Mark McCahill (creator of Gopher) and Jon Postel, Emtage co-chaired the Uniform Resource Identifier working group which created the standard for Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).
Emtage has spoken and lectured on Internet Information Systems.