WAIS Inc. Releases New Network Publishing Software
April 29, 1993, MENLO PARK, California: At a press briefing held today, Wide Area Information Servers Inc. (WAIS Inc.), a new company, announced its line of network publishing server software.
The products, WAIS Server(tm) for Unix and WAIS Workstation(tm) for Unix, are designed for commercial-quality network publishing applications. The software sells for $10,000 to $50,000.
"WAIS Inc. is helping publishers and companies reach the millions of people who are using today's wide-area networks," said Brewster Kahle, president of WAIS Inc. "We are combining a powerful search engine and a professional support organization with the WAIS system. The resulting system is creating a new breed of network publishers that can distribute information more broadly, quickly and inexpensively than previous technologies."
The WAIS(tm) system is an open network publishing system, based on international standards, that lets users easily find information anywhere on the network. The system, which has been tested globally on the Internet for two years, is used by people in more than 28 countries to search some 400 information sources around the world.
Mitchell Kapor of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and founder of Lotus Development Corp. said: "Millions of people already use the Internet. WAIS is an important tool helping people navigate through the vast oceans of information of the net, and WAIS Inc. is an important pioneer in building the tools which open new information markets."
WAIS Inc. customers include Perot Systems, the Library of Congress, Environment Protection Agency, Rice University and TRADE. WAIS Inc. is not at liberty to disclose the names of all customers.
WAIS Server is a powerful information server that is designed for client-server operation on wide-area networks and enterprise-wide LANs. Its features help users understand what a database contains and how it should be used. It also supports restricted access and logging for billing purposes. These logging features also provide maintainers with feedback on usage patterns.
The search engine at the core of the WAIS Server allows easy access to documents in their original formats such as word processors, databases or newsfeeds. It answers natural language questions and uses relevance feedback (or "find me more like that one") features to help untrained users navigate through gigabytes. For more trained users, the WAIS Server answers Boolean queries and fielded searches, while still ranking the best answers highest.
WAIS Workstation offers all of the same features, but its use is limited to databases of 100 megabytes or smaller. This configuration is designed for enterprise information sharing and smaller network publishers.
For more information on WAIS Inc. products, call Barbara Brooks at (415) 617-0444 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The WAIS Server for the Unix Release 1.0 Based on the WAIS (Wide Area Information Servers) open architecture, Release 1.0 of the WAIS Inc. Server for the Unix allows users on Mac, PC and other popular desktop environments to search and retrieve multimedia information in natural language or Boolean queries. The WAIS Inc. Server is designed to make large collections of documents available to networked user communities. These documents can be of native formats (i.e.: word processing, graphics, etc.) as well as text, and the server can be scheduled to index on a regular basis. The resulting indexes are small, and yield interactive response to user queries, even over large (multiĞgigabyte) collections. The WAIS Inc. search engine uses weighted boolean techniques to respond to standard boolean queries. In addition, the server combines various techniques (word weighting, term weighting, phrase matching, and proximity relationships) to respond to natural language queries. Unique to the WAIS Inc. server is the ability for users to combine natural language and boolean statements to better target their searches. All results are returned in a relevanceĞranked list. The WAIS Inc. server supports relevance feedback. This means that once a user finds a "good" document, they can mark it and the server will find more like it. The server also supports integration of information from various sources (documents in file systems, within databases, or from news feeds). Tools from WAIS Inc. are available that facilitate inĞdepth analysis of usage statistics, and for precise tuning of the server. WAIS TECHNOLOGY FEATURES o Client-server architecture o NISO Z39.50 protocol based o Compatibility with WAIS clients SERVER FEATURES o Automatic indexing of documents in original format - Supports unix mail, netnews, rmail, etc. - Supports indexing of documents in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Quicktime, etc. - Supports spreedsheet and database output with conversion utility - Easily customizable to other document types o Multiple input data formats supported o Customized thesaurus for user specified synonyms, general thesaurus included. o Stemming rules for English o Incremental update of indexes o Small index file overhead, typically 1/3 of original source text o Scalable database size (1 MByte to 5 Gigabytes) o Restricted access to databases based on IP addresses o Logs of server transactions and log summary reports SEARCHING FEATURES o Natural Language and Relevance Feedback o Weighted Boolean o Mixed weighted Boolean and Natural Language o Fielded search TO COME IN NEXT RELEASE: o Incremental updating of databases o Support for more input file formats o Support for Z39.50-1992 SERVICE AND MAINTAINANCE o Phone and electronic mail support o Customizations and consulting available o Bug report and fixes, and FAQ wais server and email lists o Free upgrades for 1 year HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS o 16MB or more RAM recommended Platforms supported Sun 4.1.x and Sun Solaris 2.1 NeXT IBM RS 6000
Welcome to WAIS Inc Brewster Kahle, President of WAIS Inc. April 29, 1993 By being in a house with history, doing untraditional things, sets a good tone for what we are doing with an industry with history: publishing. At WAIS Inc, we consider ourselves as much publishers and librarians as technologists. Today, we will be announcing our company and our products, then say how we see this technology fitting into the market. Demonstrate navigating the globe while sitting in a deskchair, and then hear from our advisors and technology partners to show the influences on us, and what impact we are trying to have on others. NETPUB Slide Network Publishing is moving information over wires. Network publishing opens new markets for information given the low costs of WAN technology and hunger of the millions of people now on those networks. WAIS Inc's position is selling tools to network publishers. Let me skip head of exactly what Network publishing is, and get to the point-- what are our products, and then I will say a bit about how they fit in. WAIS Products slide Here we see the leading tools for Network publishers: WAIS Workstation and WAIS Server for Unix. Each has taken into account what we have learned on the Internet, and from our technology partners in terms of features, price, and integration into existing environments. WAIS Workstation is designed for enterprise publication and smaller publishers on the Internet. It is designed to work with existing formats of word processor files and graphics. This product came from our working with Perot Systems where their documents were in Novell and Appleshare fileservers. Restricting access to certain databases is crucial in this environment. We are selling this product for $10k to $40k depending on levels of training, installation, and customization. WAIS Server is designed for the network publisher for the Internet environment. Offering easy access to material in standard databases or library systems, this tool can offers worldwide reach for only $15k-50k. By restricting access and logging user requests the Network publisher can bill users or just track users expectations and demands. We hope that these cost effective platforms will continue the exponential increase in WAIS usage on the Internet by allowing for quality information providers to jump in. All WAIS Inc's products work with all 12 WAIS clients for Mac, DOS, Windows, NeXT, etc that are currently being used by 10's of thousands of users. Commitment to working with international standards allows us to use and compliment others work. These products run on standard Unix platforms, such as Sun, DEC, and NeXT with upcoming ports to IBM, and HP. WAIS INC MARKETS AND CUSTOMERS We have been working for a better part of a year with a number of customers and technology partners to tune our products for 4 markets: Publishers, Government, Libraries, Corporations. Publishers understand content and customers, we have been learning how to tailor the Network tools to present information in useful ways. We are working with Encyclopaedia Britannica and TRADE. Dow Jones information will be shown at the showcase by Ensemble. Government agencies would like to coordinate with other organizations and find inexpensive ways to get information to the public. This is what we are doing with the Environmental Protection Agency already. You can meet with people from the US Geological Survey and the Department of Energy in the WAIS showcase. Libraries have the traditional role of collecting and serving information. We have been working with the Library of Congress and Rice University to bring networked dissemination to their collections and users. Corporations are becoming more distributed and flatter. Traditionally, middle layer management has been part of the information dissemination structure. Today, with middle layer management on the decline, networks and information servers are being used to help people find important resources and keep in touch with changing market conditions. WAIS Inc's first customer was Perot Systems, who has taught us how these tools can be used on an enterprise LAN, and what it takes to support corporate customers. How do these network publishers leverage each other? Lets take a look at how they fit together. Global WAIS System One of the great things about WAIS, is that it snowballs: the more WAIS servers, the more people want to use WAIS, the more WAIS servers get offered. Already there are 10's of thousands of users in 28 countries using WAIS. The number of servers and users is doubling every N months. WAIS offers access to enterprise information as well as wide area information sources through one point-and-click interface. Whether the server is down the hall or on another continent, a free server, or a subscription service, WAIS offers seemless access to that information. Many people as, "What is your competition". This is not easy to answer since we developed as the information navigation system for the Internet where we have no competition, but lets look at how Information is delivered electronically. ELECTRONIC INFORMATION DELIVERY SLIDE In the 70's Online services used mainframes and dumb terminals over dialup lines. Dialog and Mead proved that this was an effective way to get to the professional searcher and lawyers. Getting into that business was expensive: usually millions of dollars in hardware were required which made for the centralized services. In the 80's as personal computers became widespread and connected, there was an opportunity to get to those users with graphical user interfaces. The challenge was getting information onto that LAN. Wire services and CDROM emerged as the mechanism to serve those isolated LAN users. Starting up those wire services or CDROM production and distribution, again was difficult and expensive. Silverplatter and DowVision showed that this could be done, where Verity, fullcrum, and PLS served as search engines. In the 90's we are connecting those LAN's into global Wide Area Networks such as the Internet. This means that reaching millions of people is only as hard as putting one machine up on the Internet. To make a system for this environment, we have designed and built WAIS: o It must be a client-server system where the clients and servers are products from different companies. o It must be based on International Standards so that government and technology vendors by buy into the system without having to subscribe to yet another proprietary "open" system. o It must have logging built for accounting and billing purposes. Have we made a system that is easy enough to use? I should say so given the explosive growth of the WAIS system on the Internet. WAIS NAVIGATION SLIDE As Tony Sapienza, the CIO for KPMG said when we started the project, "to make it 'partner-friendly', there can be no-algebra". We said, no problem, we use English language questions to start getting the user what she wants. Say "What is Rebock doing in Hong Kong?" and get back reports from Dow Jones or TRADE, and then say "I like that one, find me more like that one." We also found that to make it to the desktop of professionals, we must offer integrated access to corporate and wide area information resources from one point-and-click interface. In interviews Apple did of corporate professionals found that no one reads anything anymore, they scan, get the pulse, keep in touch with-- information. This means that people may be willing to search to when the start to be interested in a subject, but they expect their machine to keep them informed on that subject if anything new has come up. Therefore WAIS has the ability to go from Interactive Searches to Alerting by using the power of the personal computer. What does WAIS Inc position in this environment? WAIS INC SERVER TECHNOLOGY Mixed natural language with boolean operators give more power to the user to find their way through gigabytes. Accounting information is collected from all user transactions to aid in billing. Restricted access to databases give the security users need and a mechanism to control for-pay servers. The multiplatform, multi file type reality has been accomodated in our servers by allowing network publishers to index documents in their original formats, whether it be word processor and spread sheets; newsfeeds or database contents; WAIS works with those systems to offer new access without disrupting their current uses. The cost effective server platform is Unix, and we made it work well on many Unix environments. Sun and WAIS Inc are also announcing our working together to market these products organizations that use Sun equipment.
WAIS Inc. Price List Effective date: April 29, 1993 1993 Products WAIS Server for Unix $15,000 Includes software, single-cpu license, and one day start-up support. Maintenance and Support Agreement for one year included free (see below). WAIS Workstation for Unix $10,000 Maximum database size is 100 megabytes*. Includes software, single-cpu license, and oneday start-up support. Maintenance and Support Agreement for one year included free (see below). Additional Servers $ 5,000 Additional single-cpu license on separate machine, within a site or campus. Applies to either WAIS Workstation or WAIS Server. Maintenance and Support Agreement for one year included free (see below). Source Code $40,000 Allows sites to customize the system to their own environment. Maintenance and Support Agreement for one year included free (see below). Services Installation and training $10,000 On-site start-up support and system administrator training. Total cost of WAIS Server with installation option = $25,000 Evaluation Trial $ 5,000 Two-month trial to set up a WAIS server or mount customer data at a WAIS Inc. facility for evaluation purposes. (Should the customer purchase a server, this amount is credited towards purchase price. Installation option is required for all such purchases.) Total cost for WAIS Server, evaluation trial, then purchase and installation = $25,000 Custom Database Integration Ask for quotation Allows WAIS Server to index and retrieve documents from customer's database management system (recommended for large collections). Custom parser development is also available. WAIS Inc. will provide a free evaluation of a customer's database integration needs, and will recommend an integration strategy. Support and Maintenance Agreement $ 5,000/year Allows customers to receive updates, bug fixes, technical support and training information from WAIS Inc. on an on-going basis. Alliance Support and Development Program Ask for quotation WAIS Inc. or their licensed representatives will provide dedicated personnel for ongoing administration, support, development and customization of WAIS Inc servers. Platforms supported: Sun 4.1.x, Solaris 2.1 NeXT. Upcoming ports: DEC Alpha IBM RS6000 HP Unix * Actual size limit is based on the WAIS Index size, which can be up to 40 megabytes. This index will serve approximately 100 megabytes of text or larger graphicoriented databases. Bundling, OEM, and coĞdevelopment relationships invited. Dealer, valueĞadded reseller and integrator inquiries invited. MultiĞprocessor hosts may be used with a single-cpu license so long as the WAIS processes do not require multiple, dedicated cpu's. Volume discounts are available. Prices effective April 29, 1993. 5% discount for pre-payment. 60 day money back guarantee for all WAIS Inc. products, less $5,000 to cover support and services rendered.