ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT

Looking at the Information Science (IS) profession globally, it became the first comprehensive, University-level program under partial auspices of professional association which started since the beginning of the twentieth century. Its curriculum emphasized research as well as service. Its purpose was to stimulate and promote research in the fields of information science by offering professional training in the information organization and management, archival science, record management, and museum, curator ship as well as librarianship. Production of qualified information specialists with adequate theoretical knowledge and practical skills in applications of modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is one of the strategic points that will bring about significant development and changes in the profession that would positively imply in any nation’s economy, politics, education, agriculture and other national sectors. This is due to the fact that the development of competent information provider and information professionals is the key element in the provision of the basis through which all citizens can effectively communicate, thereby facilitating the achievement of the information/knowledge society. This necessitates for a high number of skilled Information Science professional who will develop the necessary applications for the information organization, storage, retrieval and access and will administer the information systems and decide on system acquisitions by various organizations, information resource centers, information agencies, archives and libraries.

The availability of information professionals in the Ethiopian professional market has a problem. The growth and development of information providers in the country is still at infant stage, despite the introduction of Mass Education Policy that advocate learner and resources based education for primary, secondary and tertiary level education. Policies currently being implemented in Ethiopia is promising and due to the expected great active role of the profession in the country’s social, political and cultural spheres, Jimma University has launch undergraduate Information Science Program in 2005 GC as one of the important steps toward educational development. The Department of Information Science started with a nomenclature “Department of Information Studies in 2005/6” but changed to Department of Information Science in 2008/9 academic year. Between 2005 and 2009 the department was under the Faculty of Natural and Information Science. Due to 2009/2010 Business Process Re-engineering the Department was restructured under Institute of Technology, and again in 2011 it has moved to College of Natural Sciences. In September 2011the department has launched two graduate programs: ‘Information and Knowledge Management’ and ‘Electronic and Digital Resource Management’.

The undergraduate and postgraduate professional degree programs center on how the artifacts of human knowledge are structured, organized, managed, evaluated, and made accessible. The university believes that Information Science and newly emerging related fields must be taught together since the technical, humanistic, social, and behavioral aspects of Information Science are interrelated. An understanding of users must guide information systems design, just as knowledge of technical possibilities and constraints must shape user services towards building knowledge society.