The current WAIS implementation public domain requires that a client know the "type" of a object prior to retrieval. This value is returned along with the internal object identifier in the search response. It has been encoded into the path part of the URL in order to make the URL sufficient for the retrieval of the object. Within the WAIS world, names do not of course need to be prefixed by "wais:" (by the partial form rules).

The wpath of a WAIS URL consists of encoded fields of the WAIS identifier, in the same order as inthe WAIS identifier. For each field, the identifier field number is the digits before the equals sign, and the field contents follow, encoded in the conventional encoding, terminated by ";".