Consider that you are a novice just introducing yourself to Isomorphies or the ISPs of the Systems Processes Theory (SPT). It would be very useful to you, or students in any of the many educational programs that touch on systems, to have a convenient collection of book-length texts focused on the subject of one of the isomorphies or ISPs. We intend to include for each ISP, a listing of significant text sources. Each of these devote anywhere from 300 to 500 pages on exploration of a single ISP.

Of course, there are various levels of professional competence shown in each work. We hope eventually to make these offerings Annotated Bibliographies, which more than just a listing, add a brief description of what each text covers and an evaluation of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the text. Also there is Amazon where a student can find an even longer listing of books on any topic with accompanying reviews. Some of these reviews are by professionals who are specialists in the area of the topic and so can be quite informative.

One of the problems with bibliographies that are interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary is this conundrum. The books are often on the meaning and utility of a particular ISP to only one isolated discipline. Very few were conceived or written to apply across all disciplines from natural to human. It is the ambitious hope of the SPT that the findings of even one specific discipline might have transportability to other disciplines. That is one of the initial four objectives of the Society for General Systems Research (SGSR) which is now been renamed to ISSS (Int’l Society for the Systems Sciences).

For some ISPs, there are many books covering the topic for over half a century. This group includes isomorphies like Feedbacks, Hierarchies, Fractals, Networks, and Chaos. For some, there are only a modest number of books, for example, Self-Organization, Self-Criticality, Limits, Constants. For others, even significant ones, there are virtually no book-length coverages. These include Flows, Cycles and Cycling and Boundaries. Still others are covered in portions of books, but only for target or isolated disciplines. These include descriptions of Symmetry, Spin, or Fields. These latter are covered in books on physics and math, but rarely in the other disciplines. It is hard for the novice to render the specialist reductionist information to the level of cross-disciplinarily needed for systems theory. That is still the future work of a science of systems.

Just as an indication, these are our initial bibliographies of books for the first 12 ISPs  (of a total 80) covered by 90-min summaries for the SPT Founder/Author’s Introductory core course on Systems (SE 510) for the Master’s Degree in Systems Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona (please remember that these are just initial biblio’s):

  • Hierarchies               31 books ranging from the 1960’s to now
  • Feedback                   23 books
  • Cycles/Cycling         16 books (but many only concern cycles in isolated disciplines)
  • Self-Organization   22 books
  • Networks                   37 books
  • Flows                              4 books  (but many only concern cycles in isolated disciplines)
  • Synergy                         9 books (but many of these are actually on synchrony/coop)
  • Duality/Symmetry  22 books (on symmetry; the duality books are in only 1 discipline)
  • Origins/Emergence  7 on origins; 8 on emergence (both are conflated in these books)

Take FLOWS as an example. There are books on geological mantle flow, energy floes, ecosystem flows, social information or influence flows. All of these are describing flows in individual, separated scale or entity flows. Not flow as a process that has similarities across all of these disciplines, as is the aim of SPT.