Offbeat Internet
Public Access


The Wide Area Information Server protocol (WAIS) is a Document Publishing protocol, which although primarily intended for disseminating full-text documents, also allows dissemination of other file types. It is similar to the proprietary Prospero protocol, but unlike Prospero, a delivery mechanism is not integrated (it only provides pointers, which allows it to be used in combination with other protocols such as Gopher). WAIS was designed to use low bandwidth, and is suitable for use through a 56Kbps modem. WAIS servers offer specially constructed "Source" files (*.src), which are abstracts of documents that the server wishes to make available. Server access requires using a WAIS client, or the rare Browser that understands the URI "wais://". The client can search these Source files using plain language text-based queries, then retrieve the actual document following the search. Normally a server will publish the existence of their document database Source file to a "Directory of Servers", however the client can also access a Source file directly if the address (wais://<server>/<src_path>) is already known. Below are addresses to various free public access WAIS servers.
[IANA Port assignment = 210]

Addresses last verified February 1994