As of January, 2012, this site is no longer being updated, due to work and health issues
Search Tools Product Reports
"Wide Area Information Server" search engine based on parallel
processing search algorithms developed at Thinking Machines in the 1980s.
Free source makes this a widely used engine, although I personally don't like
the default relevance rankings in the results.
Warning: While this was pioneering software, it shows no continuing development. It
does not include modern search features and is not appropriate for new projects.
Old versions of WAIS may not be Y2K-compliant: if you're running it, check
- freeWAWIS-sf An extension of freeWAIS adding structured fields such as number
and dates; complex Boolean searches, improved installation and more. There
were date problems with versions earlier than 2.0.41.
Microsoft has included a version of WAIS in various releases of FrontPage.
Articles & Reviews
Open Source Indexers Infomotions Musings; May 29, 2001 by Eric Lease
Describes the history and features of eight open-source search engines, freeWAIS-sf
(aging code and hard to install, but good for searching email and public domain
etexts); Harvest (powerful gathering features for
frequently-changing data stores, good with structured documents); ht://Dig
(tricky to configure, no phrase searching, automatic stemming and match word
highlighting); Isearch (weak documentation and
support, easy to install, dated interface, Z39.50 support); MPS
Information Server (zippy indexing of both text and structured data, Z39.50
support, Perl API, limited documentation); SWISH-E
(simple to install engine, CGIs in Perl and PHP still beta, good for HTML
pages, recognizes new META tags, sorts results by field; WebGlimpse
(easy to install and configure, requires commercial version for customized
output); Yaz/Zebra (mainly Z39.50, no Perl API, mainly
a toolkit to index and respond to distributed client queries). Article also
points out that chaotic information is less than helpful and encourages organization,
structure and vocabulary control.
- Internet Publishing
Handbook: WAIS and Indexing Alternatives
- comp.infosystems.wais: Usenet
Newsgroup for discussing WAIS.
- Internal Search
Engines Get You Where You Want To Go TechWeb October 15, 1997 by
Good, thorough coverage of AltaVista eXtension
97, Folio siteDirector 3.1, Ultraseek 1.1,
Inmagic/Lycos, DB/Text Intranet Spider, ISYS:Web
2.0, Maxum Phantom 2.0; Microsoft
Index Server 3.0, Netscape Compass 3.0,
Quadralay WebWorks Search 2.0, Verity
IntelliServe 1.0, freeWAIS 0.3, WebGlimpse 4.0B1 and SWISH
- Web Site Search Engines
(Appendices) The PIPER Letter: November, 1996
Covers Basis Webserver , Excerpt, Excite,
Folio, freeWAIS-sf, FrontPage, Fulcrum
, Glimpse, ht://Dig, Ice, Isearch, PL
Web, Swish, TEAMate, WebFind/WebIndex, and WebSite.
Page Updated 2005-07-25