Alexander O. Smith: 0000-0002-3719-2232

Document Type



Winter 12-4-2021


Memetics, Difference, Information Science, Digital Images, Electronic media, Evolution, Generation and dissemination of information, Philosophy, Semiotics




Library and Information Science


Information scientists may find value in studying cultural information evolution and information diffusion through memetics. Information studies in memetics have often found datafication in memetics research difficult. Meanwhile, current memetic scholarship elsewhere is abundant in data due to their focus on internet artifacts. This paper offers a way to close the datafication gap for information researchers by associating information data with "differences" between memetic documents. This work offers a joint theory and methodology invested in information-oriented memetics. Our methodology of differences is developed from a content analysis of difference on a collection of images with visual similarities. We find that this kind of analysis provides a heuristic method for quantitatively bounding where one meme ends and another begins. We also find that this approach helps describe the dynamics of memetic media in such a way that we can datafy information or cultural evolution more clearly. Here we offer an approach for studying cultural information evolution through the study of memes. In doing so we forward a methodology of difference which leverages content analysis in order to outline how it functions practically. We propose a quantitative methodology to assess differences between versions of document contents in order to examine what a particular meme is. We also move towards showing the information structure which defines a meme.

Additional Information

DOI: 10.1108/JD-07-2021-0140



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License