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Comprehensive Examination Questions
October 1995

1. Donald B. Cleveland and Ana D. Cleveland in the second edition of Introduction to Indexing and Abstracting suggest that an index is "a guide to the contents of a knowledge record," or a "systematic analysis of such records, arranged in an organized way." Describe four of the following types of indexes, being sure to include for each one a description, an example, advantages and disadvantages for information specialists and for users.

1) Alphabetical subject index, 2) Author index, 3) Classified subject index, 4) Citation index 5) String index, 6) Permuted title index, 7) faceted index.

2. Imagine that you are Head Reference Librarian in general reference services for a large academic or public library. (Select one type of library). You have just been awarded a grant to upgrade computerized reference services and sources to represent the cutting edge.

(1) Describe in detail what computerized services and sources you would offer and why. (2) How would you physically arrange them? (You may show this with a diagram). (3) Identify key issues you would consider in making those choices to successfully integrate your new system of computerized services into the reference department to maximize use, functionality, and cost effectiveness. Some points you may wish to consider include: user interfaces, services for end- users and services that require intermediaries, and the format of specific information sources to be accessed.

3. Select (a) or (b) and answer comprehensively. (a) The flip side of selection for an active, i.e. "working," library collection is de-selection, commonly known as weeding. Select a specific type of library and/or library collection (for example, a high school library media center, a science and technology collection) and describe all aspects of the weeding process in relation to that library and/or collection. Discuss, but do not limit yourself to, methodologies, tools, and format considerations in weeding.


(b) The development of retention/disposition schedules is one of the traditional activities of records management. Describe the function of a retention/disposition schedule in managing information and how a schedule is developed for records in various media (paper, microfilm, electronic, etc.).

4. With the rapid proliferation of national and global information and communication networks, many new legal, legislative, and constitutional issues have emerged which directly impact library and information professionals. Select laws, legislative or constitutional amendments, or Supreme Court cases (a total of 2 or 3) and discuss current issues and challenges to the laws etc. you have selected in the given context of national and global information and communication networks. (For example, copyright law, Freedom of Information Act, First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution, the Paperwork Reduction Act.)

5. Based on the nature of their work, professional librarians have conveniently referred to themselves as "technical services staff" or "public services staff ." But over the years, these two terms have created a distance between staff members in these areas. Explain in detail the nature of technical services and the nature of public services, and present an in-depth discussion on how the public services staff can benefit from knowing the work of the technical services staff, and vice versa.

6. One of the traditional control mechanisms used by those in the field of library science throughout history has been the bibliography. Discuss the various types of bibliographies that have developed from ancient to contemporary times. Sketch the history, organization, uses, and control of bibliographies as a resource.

7. User access to collections is often enhanced by guides prepared by information professionals. Discuss user guides for either libraries or archives. (For example, library pathfinders or archival finding aids.) In this discussion you may wish to consider types, format, structure, use, and audience for the guides.

8. The move from print to digital representation of information implies significant differences in the way information is handled. Describe print and digital representations, analyze the differences, and discuss the implications for libraries and users.

9. Discuss key issues in the professional identity of information professionals in terms of their roles, functions, and responsibilities. In your essay differentiate between degreed professional librarians/information professionals and non-M.S.L.S. degreed and/or paraprofessional library staff.

10. Most information professionals are called upon to perform managerial functions during their careers. Identify the components of management and describe the skills and qualities a good manager should possess. In your essay be sure t o refer to activities related to libraries and other information centers.

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