The WAIS URL scheme is used to designate WAIS databases, searches, or individual documents available from a WAIS database. WAIS is described in . The WAIS protocol is described in RFC 1625 ; Although the WAIS protocol is based on Z39.50-1988, the WAIS URL scheme is not intended for use with arbitrary Z39.50 services.
A WAIS URL takes one of the following forms:
wais://<host>:<port>/<database> wais://<host>:<port>/<database>?<search> wais://<host>:<port>/<database>/<wtype>/<wpath>
where <host> and <port> are as described in Section 3.1. If :<port> is omitted, the port defaults to 210. The first form designates a WAIS database that is available for searching. The second form designates a particular search. <database> is the name of the WAIS database being queried.
The third form designates a particular document within a WAIS database to be retrieved. In this form <wtype> is the WAIS designation of the type of the object. Many WAIS implementations require that a client know the "type" of an object prior to retrieval, the type being returned along with the internal object identifier in the search response. The <wtype> is included in the URL in order to allow the client interpreting the URL adequate information to actually retrieve the document.
The <wpath> of a WAIS URL consists of the WAIS document-id, encoded as necessary using the method described in Section 2.2. The WAIS document-id should be treated opaquely; it may only be decomposed by the server that issued it.