Background & History

Background to DDIS

DDIS began operations in November 1990 at Nigeria's premier university, the University of Ibadan, as the first tertiary-level educational institution in West Africa mandated to undertake research and consultancy services, and offer higher degree and continuing education training in information science. Information science is a multidisciplinary field that provides the required synergy among the various and more specialized disciplines and fields collectively described as the information sciences, and including information management, information systems, information technology, computer science, telecommunications, library science, records management, communication and media arts, etc.

Brief History

The idea of a school of information science for English-speaking African countries was conceived by UNESCO in 1973, revived at Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in 1980, and successfully sold to the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Universities, held in Hong Kong, in March 1981. In January 1983, a four-man Team of Experts visited many African universities in order to recommend to UNESCO and IDRC the best location for the proposed school. The outcome of this mission was the recommendation to establish two such schools, one at the University of Ibadan for the West African Sub-Region and the other at Addis Ababa University for East and Southern Africa. The one proposed for the University of Ibadan was named Africa Regional Centre for Information Science (DDIS). Between October and November, 1984, a Curriculum Design Experts Group met at the University of Ibadan to fashion a curriculum for DDIS.

DDIS was established about the same time as many other regional centres of excellence in Africa, including the School of Information Science in Africa (SISA, University of Addis Ababa), the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS, University of Ghana), the African Centre for Engineering Design and Manufacture (ARCEDEM, Ibadan), and the Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute (ESAMI, Tanzania), etc. Among other objectives, these regional institutions were to provide strategic platforms for pooling and sharing scarce African training and research expertise in their different domains. Accordingly, although the idea of a regional centre of excellence in information science was originally sponsored by international agencies, both Nigeria and the University of Ibadan are convinced and highly supportive of the strategic role DDIS at the University of Ibadan for the benefit of the University, Nigeria, and West African countries.


DDIS addresses, simultaneously, a series of African development problems that have demonstrable information services components, with a view to providing both short- and long-term solutions to them. More specifically,

DDIS trains and retrains high-level personnel for African organizations and countries in information science, essentially through seminars, workshops and higher degree programmes. The graduates from the programmes are expected to become leaders in the practice of information science, as well as trainers of information services personnel at lower-levels;

engages in problem-resolution research into all aspects of information services in African countries; serves as a reservoir of consultants in the information sciences to African governments and institutions in the public and private sectors;

provides expertise in the establishment, updating and application of appropriate standards for the construction, maintenance and effective utilization of digital content and databanks in Africa as a whole, and ECOWAS Member States in particular.

inculcates the spirit of innovation, quality and service in all its staff in regard to the development of information services components of Research and Development (R&D) programmes in Africa.