RE: memes and SOP

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Wed May 02 2001 - 23:31:57 BST

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: RE: memes and SOP
    Date: Wed, 02 May 2001 18:31:57 -0400
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    >From: Vincent Campbell <>
    >To: "''" <>
    >Subject: RE: memes and SOP
    >Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 11:26:31 +0100
    >I think that all of these could indeed be seen as artefactual memes, or
    >These are practices that reflect particular attitudes and beliefs, and have
    >persisted and spread. To really check, one would need to do an historical
    >search to examine the spread of these practices. I suspect the Dewey one
    >would be the most memetic of these practices,
    The local public libraries I'm familiar with use the Dewey system, but the
    university and community college libraries I'm familiar with use something
    known as the Library of Congress system, which differs from the Dewey
    system. Maybe Dan can supply the details. I wonder what system is utilized
    elsewhere (besisdes U.S.), such as in the U.K...

    The systems themselves are standard, within their respective domains, but
    theese systems might be subject to variation in implementation. Libraries
    within the same domain might differ as how to catalog a particular book. I'd
    imagine some differences in whether a particular book is considered typical
    fiction, a mystery, or science fiction and non-fiction books might be
    subject to variation in cataloguing due to how familar the cataloguer is
    with the book. Sometimes titles and the contents of a book might not
    corrspond well. Other times a book might be a "hybrid" of several categories
    and hard to pin down as exactly where it fits best.
    >the others could, in
    >principle, quite easily have been spontaneously arrived at in different
    >libraries at different times (I suspect the public library systems around
    >the world did borrow such practices from others, so there's still some
    >memetic thing going on).
    >Certainly examining the origins of what constitutes SOP in different
    >institutional environments, and how SOPs spread, would be a memetics piece
    >of research (although it could also easily be a piece of diffusion
    >or organisational culture research).
    > > ----------
    > > From: Dan Roland
    > > Reply To:
    > > Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001 12:22 pm
    > > To: memes list
    > > Subject: memes and SOP
    > >
    > > Please excuse the newbie questions here.
    > >
    > > I have been working on a list of what I think are memes in public
    > > libraries:
    > >
    > > 1. charging fines for overdue materials.
    > > 2. requiring a library card in order to check out materials.
    > > 3. arranging materials according to the Dewey Decimal system.
    > > 4. security systems to guard against book theft.
    > >
    > > and I am curious to hear from the more learned on this list as to
    > > whether or not these do consitute memes and why.
    > >
    > > Another name for each of these in organizational parlance would be
    > > "standard operating procedure" and I would also be curious to any
    > > comment on the difference.
    > >
    There might be a consideration for standards as to official policy regarding
    fines, overdues, security, issuing cards, etc., but these could be subject
    to variation at local branches. There's policy, then there's implementation.
    If someone is really familiar with the guidelines via thorough first hand
    reading they might go "by the book", where someone who relies on the
    intepretation of others could vary from the standard.

    There could be a "standard policy" and conformity to this ("going by the
    book") would be something like stabilizing selection. Extreme and/or
    deleterious deviation from the accepted standard would be selected against,
    but perhaps a mild variation which is actually an improvement on previous
    policy (an innovation) might be selected for. I'd suppose that there's some
    drift when it comes to the way people act with regard to policy (familiarity
    with policy being a factor).
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