Abstract - The Information Society 32(4)

Awkwardness of Becoming a Boundary Object: Mangle and Materialities of Reports, Documentation Data and the Archaeological Work

Isto Huvila

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 have 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 as the reports. This study explores the changing materialities and reciprocal formation of documents and their users with the advent of digitisation, and how documents become 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 non-human (material artefacts) influence the ways how the archaeologists conceptualise 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=16) with theoretical underpinnings in the notions of boundary objects, mangle of practice and disclosure.

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