WAIS could search many computers all over the world and bring back whatever it found--but it tended to crash before the information arrived. Using a WAIS connection to Archie, I was able to locate some Icon software and the source code for the NeXTStep Operating System. I crashed every Microsoft Windows gopher and WAIS client. The gopher software locked up when it was required to start an external program, such as a file viewer or a telnet connection. The WAIS software locked up whenever it encountered a missing or incorrect server address. Not too encouraging to the novice Internet Surfer! The Macintosh WAIS client worked well, but my search words were not able to locate any useful information items.
John Houser, UCLA GSLIS Information Systems Librarian, jWAIS software author and recent National Public Radio interviewee, points out that many of the WAIS source servers provide access to Usenet News archives... a source that might be better examined by reading the index file of that ftp site or the FAQ (frequently asked questions) posting of that newsgroup.