The Bond Buyer's All-American Municipal Analysts Awards are being presented at a pivotal time for credit evaluation. Orange County, Calif., has filed for bankruptcy, and it has defaulted on a bond issue - all as the result of high-risk investments of its giant intergovernmental investment pool. Much of what has happened in the last 16 days could not have been foretold because the information was not made public to analyze.

Municipal bond analysis gains importance with each giant set of credit problems. It came into its own with the New York City financial crisis of 1975, and it grew in stature with the record bond default by the Washington Public Power Supply System in 1983. This month, Orange County has revealed investment pool losses of at least $2 billion, and the municipal bond market once again is reassessing its information requirements.

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