Access to scientific information by poorer countries, sometimes referred to as the ``South``, is limited in contrast to the countries in the ``North``. The South lacks the infrastructure, management and technical expertise to develop and support the range of services now commonplace in the information rich industrial countries of the ``North``. The programme of support to information systems and services in poorer countries by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is described with specific examples drawn from its industry and technology information programme. Third world countries are in a difficult position and need help to keep on the cutting edge of new information-communication technologies. Any help, however must focus on such factors as persistence, impact and sustainability of information systems and services. (author). 5 refs.