Awkwardness of becoming a boundary object: Mangle and materialities of reports, documentation data and the archaeological work

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Authors:

Isto Huvila

Source:

The Information Society, Volume 32, Number 4, p.280–297 (2016)

URL:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01972243.2016.1177763

Abstract:

Information about an archaeological investigation is documented in an archaeological report, which makes it the boundary object par excellence for archaeological information work across stakeholder communities such as field archaeologists, heritage managers, and land developers. The quality of reports has been a subject of debate, and recently it has been argued that more emphasis should be placed on making primary research data at least similarly available. This study explores the changing materialities and reciprocal formation of documents and their users with the advent of digitization, and how documents form and lose their status as boundary objects in these processes. The study posits that in order to be functional, a boundary object needs to provide a disclosure that makes it accessible to cognate communities. Further, it shows how assumptions about the functioning of the human and nonhuman (material artifacts) influence the ways in which archaeologists conceptualize the preservation and archiving of archaeological information and the role and potential of different types of digital and paper-based documents. This article is based on an interview study of Swedish archaeology professionals (N D 16) with theoretical underpinnings in the notions of boundary objects, mangle of practice, and disclosure.

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Sheds new light on the potential of extra-academic knowledge-making as a contribution in formations of knowledge throughout society, explores extra-academic knowledge as a useful resource in academy, policy development, evidence based practices, and innovation, and focuses on the informational dimensions, stemming from and grounded in an informationscience perspective, which provides the means to address practical information-related issues throughout knowledge-making processes.

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