WAIS over Z39.50-1988 (RFC1625)
Original Publication Date: 1994-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-12
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
M. St. Pierre: AUTHOR [+7]
The purpose of this memo is to initiate a discussion for a migration path of the WAIS technology from Z39.50-1988 Information Retrieval Service Definitions and Protocol Specification for Library Applications  to Z39.50-1992  and then to Z39.50-1994 . This memo provides information for the Internet community. This memo does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.
Network Working Group M. St. Pierre Request for Comments: 1625 WAIS, Inc. Category: Informational J. Fullton CNIDR K. Gamiel CNIDR J. Goldman Thinking Machines Corp. B. Kahle WAIS, Inc. J. Kunze UC Berkeley H. Morris WAIS, Inc. F. Schiettecatte FS Consulting June 1994
WAIS over Z39.50-1988
Status of this Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. This memo does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
The network publishing system, Wide Area Information Servers (WAIS), is designed to help users find information over a computer network. The principles guiding WAIS development are:
1. A wide-area networked-based information system for searching, browsing, and publishing. 2. Based on standards. 3. Easy to use. 4. Flexible and growth oriented.
From this basis, a large group of developers, publishers, standards bodies, libraries, government agencies, schools, and users have been helping further the WAIS system.
The WAIS software architecture has four main components: the client, the server, the database, and the protocol. The WAIS client is a user-interface program that sends requests for information to local or remote servers. Clients are available for most popular desktop environments. The WAIS server is a program that services client
IIIR Working Group [Page 1]
RFC 1625 WAIS over Z39.50-1988 June 1994
requests, and is available on a variety of UNIX platforms. The server generally runs on a machine containing one or more information sources, or WAIS databases. The protocol, Z39.50-1988, is used to connect WAIS clients and servers and is based on the 1988 Version of the NISO Z39.50 Information Retrieval Service and Protocol Standard. The goal of the WAIS network publishing system is to create an open architecture of information clients and servers by using a standard computer-to-computer protocol that enables clients to communicate with servers.
WAIS development began in October 1989 with the first Internet release occurring in April 1991. From the beginning, WAIS committed to use the Z39.50-1988 standard as the information retrieval protocol between WAIS clients and servers. The implementation is still in use today by existing WAIS clients and servers resulting in over 50,000 users of Z39.50-1988 on the Internet.
The purpose of this memo is to initiate a discussion for a migration path of the WAIS technology from Z39.50-1988 Information Retrieval Service Definitions and Protocol Specification for Library Applications  to Z39.50-1992  and then to Z39.50-1994 . The purpose of this memo is not to provide a detailed implementation specification, but rather to describe the high-level design goals and functional assumptions made in the WAIS implementation of Z39.50- 1988. WAIS use of Z39.50-1992 and Z39.50-1994 standards will be the subject of future RFCs.
3. Historical Design Goals of WAIS
As an aid to understanding the original WAIS implementation a...