FADIS was initally conceived by Gordon Belray as a means of managing digital images for the Department of Art at St. George Campus. With the support of the Department of Art, Arts & Science and the Resource Centre for Academic Technology, development of a java server application using Apple's WebObjects was begun in 2000 and a beta version released in Septemper of 2001 for two survey courses offered at the Department, Visual Concepts and an Introduction to Ancient Art.
Using the current slide library as a model for the application, images for the two courses were digitized with accompanying meta data. The digital images could be organized in virtual carousels and projected in class; students had complete access to the visual material for studying and review. Even with a small number of images, the project was an overwhelming success with students and faculty. The model of digitizing course material also proved the most effective means of building the repository as it provided faculty with a similar framework to their current teaching methodogies as well as the images required for their teaching needs; students also had an image record of their lectures for the first time.
A digital repository also provided numerous other benefits over a circulating slide collection, faculty now had a permanent archive of their lectures where previously the slides would be refiled, images could be used by mulitple users simultaneously and expansive meta data could now be associated with each image. Students and faculty now had online access to an image repository for studying and composing lectures.
FADIS eventually grew beyond the confines of the Department of Art and in 2002 FADIS became a centralized resources housed at Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries. FADIS is now a tri-campus initiative and has grown to include contributions by the University of Ottawa, and participating institutions of the University Windsor, Ryserson University, Fanshawe College as well as several other institutions about to begin testing this Fall.