I don't see this extension in the SGI extension database. Perhaps it's a discontinued one?
There already EXT and ARB versions of this extension:
EXT_compiled_vertex_array and ARB_vertex_buffer_object.
You should seriously consider the use of ARB_vertex_bufer_object (aka VBO), as it'll allow you to place the vertex data on board the video card for fast access (by the GPU).
To answer some of your other questions:
does it make sense to use compiled vertex arrays for that object?
Yes. Display lists also work, but VBOs are even better.
"Game Programming Gems I" seems to suggest that I should use it if I have an object that's rendered several times.
GPG1 is a bit dated That said, if you render an object only once, then it doesn't really matter how you draw it, because there's very little that can be done to make it go faster.
If you render an object multiple times, it helps the driver to know that your vertex data hasn't changed (CVAs), or that the vertex data is already on the video card (VBO) so that it doesn't even need to resend it.
Do I have to lock the data per draw operation, or do I lock it once then move/rotate/draw the objects then unlock?
The lock for CVAs only applies to the vertex data, and not how it's transformed. So you can safely lock the data, render the object, change the transformation matrices, render again, etc.
You only unlock when you need to actually change the vertex data or the vertex pointers.
When should I use compiled arrays as opposed to normal streamed or interleaved arrays?
You should VBOs instead. But ifyou must use CVAs, then use them anywhere where you need to draw the object multiple times in a row so that you don't have to unlock/relock the vertex data when switching vertex arrays. Of course, if you put everything in a single big-arse vertex array, then you only need to lock that once, and can render whatever subset of it you chose.
Can the glLockArraysSGI() call be stored in a display list?
Since I can't find the specs for that extension, I can't tell you. Searching for LockArraysSGI returns a single (useless) hit on Google...