Monday, 16 February 2009

Boundary objects

Supervisor #2 last week talked about boundary objects, which are things that are shared between different groups of people to help make the transition of meaning between groups that don't talk or otherwise share meaning and language. Susan Leigh Star first introduced the idea in 1989. Supervisor asked me what boundary objects I'd noticed in the case studies. Someone had mentioned screen mock-ups. I have a photo of people working on a live incident where two guys are looking at screens and another has an incident form. The incident form is a boundary object and the various role players were working from it.

Someone in another team took the photo - thus creating another boundary object that helps understanding the process of dealing with a live incident.

Other boundary objects are the project opening and closing documents, which were shared between higher level managers both users and IS developers.

So boundary objects:
  • screen mock ups
  • incident log
  • photo
  • project documentation

Star, S. L. and Griesemer, J. R. (1989) 'Institutional Ecology, 'Translations' and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39', Social Studies of Science (Sage), 19 (3), pp. 387-420. 1092

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