PAIS (originally, the Public Affairs Information Service) was established in 1914 for the purpose of chronicling the world's public affairs, public and social policies, international relations, and world politics. PAIS defines the "realm of public policy" as all subjects that bear on contemporary issues and the making and evaluating of public policy, irrespective of source or traditional disciplinary boundaries. The database emphasizes factual and statistical information. In all appropriate subject fields, international comparisons and global views are included. Efforts are made to represent the full range of positions on controversial subjects.
PAIS strives to include publication from and about all countries. PAIS indexes publications of governments and nongovernmental organizations at the international, regional, national, state (provincial), and local levels and tries to balance US and international sources.