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Comprehensive Examination Questions
October 2001

  1. Assume you have been elected president of a national library/information organization, such as ALA or one of its divisions (American Association of School Librarians, Library and Information Technology Association, Library Administration and Management Association, etc.) for a term beginning 2002. Identify the organization of which you are president.  What would you choose as your presidential theme for your organization?  Provide an in-depth rationale for this choice of theme. In this discussion, consider the theme?s relevance in the broader context of society as well as the mission/purpose of your organization and the current needs and interests of its members.

  2. Generational differences may affect how the public library is viewed by actual and potential users of different ages and how public library staff members of different ages are able to work together.  Discuss the implications of these generational differences among library users and among library staff members. Suggest ways in which library directors can overcome these differences.

  3. When is it best to lead an information user to a large and inclusive bibliographic database, and when are information users better served by smaller and more selective databases covering the same subject?  Discuss the issues involved, using specific examples of each type of database.  Describe types of uses or users for which each would be a better choice. 

  4. Many libraries and information centers have integrated electronic and digital resources into their services. Discuss how such integration has affected staff in two of the following areas: collection development, public services, or cataloging.

  5. The ultimate goal of organizing information is to allow users to be able to retrieve this information.  Discuss descriptive cataloging and subject analysis and how each of these activities can help users retrieve information.

  6. Marketing in a corporate environment includes identifying unmet needs, producing products and services to meet those needs, and pricing, distributing, and promoting those products and services to produce a profit. Today librarians are asked to market their libraries and services. Discuss how marketing in a library context is similar to and different from the description above. 

  7. The technology is available to convert most print sources into digital form. Why hasn?t this happened? Your answer should describe the advantages and disadvantages, costs, benefits, and obstacles to such a conversion.

  8. Compare and contrast browsing strategies with analytical strategies in information retrieval. Your discussion should include situations where one method may be preferred over the other. Provide examples of both types of retrieval and discuss the kinds of tools and features of information systems that support these strategies. 

  9. Describe library policies and procedures recommended for situations where librarians are asked to reveal names of users or to restrict access to materials.

  10. Service learning is a philosophy of education that blends community service activities with academic instruction in order to address community needs.  How might service learning enrich library and information science education, and through that contribute to the understanding and development of sustainable communities, and also enable future information professionals to better serve their communities? 


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