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Comprehensive Examination Questions
July 2001

  1. "Libraries are becoming more like businesses," observed Sara Wildberger in the March Washingtonian magazine. She illustrated her point by stressing that even children coming for story time are considered customers. However, a Washingtonian reader might well ask, "But aren't libraries cultural and educational institutions and, as such, is the business organization an appropriate model for them?" Respond to this question. Be sure to include in your discussion the impact that managing libraries as businesses can have on library services.
  2. Currency, scope, and authority are important in evaluating information sources. Define all three, and explain how you would evaluate the currency, scope, and authority of two of the following types of information sources: encyclopedias, periodical indexes, dictionaries, biographical sources, almanacs, informational web sites.
  3. You have been charged with the task of selecting an integrated library system for a particular type of library or information center. Explain (a) what an integrated library system must do in this environment, (b) the factors that should be considered in evaluating and recommending a system, and (c) how one should go about selecting a system.
  4. Describe three major approaches used by librarians to organize Internet resources for user access. Aanalyze the benefits and problems of these approaches. Then draw on your description and analysis to discuss three of the most urgent challenges for people involved in organizing Internet resources.
  5. License agreements for electronic information resources protect the interests of the providers (publishers) as well as the users (libraries and individuals). Within that context, discuss the challenges faced by librarians as they attempt to deliver content online.
  6. Librarians today have a critical role as library advocates. Why? Describe this role and discuss what librarians can do to become effective advocates.
  7. As knowledge and technology now change very rapidly, there is a concern with helping students become "life long learners." Discuss ways that libraries can help students learn research skills that will allow them to be effective information seekers and users and will help them stay "current" in their field or discipline.
  8. What are digital libraries, and why are digital libraries both appealing and problematic for information professionals? Your answer should include a discussion of digital collections, technologies, and services.
  9. Yahoo's subject category directory is described by a number of librarians as having "a strong listing of subjects." Compare the subject directories offered by a number of Internet search engines with those traditionally created and maintained by libraries.
  10. There is considerable interest in assessing library effectiveness." If during a job interview you were asked how effectiveness should be evaluated, how would you respond? (Select the one functional area that interests you the most).



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