Abbrev. for wide area information service. A service designed to provide ready access to information of interest to users based at widely separated locations, typically in a wide area network. The term was used both to refer to a database server holding indexed information, and also to a software utility that ran on a network-connected workstation and allowed a user at the workstation to carry out searches of documents held in remote databases. The use of WAIS declined as the World Wide Web expanded.