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Comprehensive Examination Questions
March 2000

1.    Describe and critique three methods that libraries use to assess and evaluate services to their patrons.  Your critique should include suggestions for improvements in the way that information is currently collected or in the way information is used. You may confine your discussion to one type of library, or to one type of library service.

2.    Discuss subject headings and classification for their similarities and differences. Go on to compare so how subject headings and classification have been used to organize Internet resources.

3.    Libraries of all types are subject to increasing calls for "accountability" both in their use of resources and in the results of their activities. Choose a type of library. Describe the various stakeholders to whom this type of library is accountable. Discuss various means this type of library can use to demonstrate its accountability.

4.    It has been clearly established that gatekeepers exist within most communities and play an important role in the transfer of information throughout such communities. In what ways could information professionals exploit this phenomenon to provide a better level of information service to the community as a whole?

5.    Books and websites are both subject to challenges of material that some library users regard as offensive.  (1) Describe the ways in which these challenges might be similar and how they might differ. (2) Discuss the ways in which libraries can anticipate and handle challenges to print and electronic resources.

6.    Librarians, in assisting users with their information needs, find that the instruction and guidance of these users has become a major dimension of their work. For example, M. Ellen Jay, president of the American Association of School Librarians, has placed information literacy as one of the three most important issues facing media centers today. Select a type of library/information center, and describe its users and potential users. Then discuss how to plan an information literacy program to meet their needs.

7.    In information storage and retrieval systems, the representation of data is vital for effective and efficient retrieval. Discuss the issues of data representation as they apply to retrieval.

8.    Your institution has decreed that all employees are to be evaluated using specific criteria appropriate for the nature of the work they do. It’s up to you to decide how to apply this in your department. For a functional area of your choice (for example, reference, systems, cataloging, etc.), indicate what criteria you would use to evaluate professional staff.

9.    Your library is moving to a location where space for reference material is considerably less -- up to 30% less than in your old facility. Select a type of library and discuss how you would establish priorities for reducing the physical size of the working reference collection so that user information needs will be least adversely affected.

10.  What is a library, and in what ways do "digital libraries" fit this definition? What are the limitations of using the "digital library" metaphor to describe collections and services in digital environments? Your answer should address the major challenges facing information professionals in managing digital resources.


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