Star, L. (2010) This is Not a Boundary Object: Reflections on the origins of a Concept, Science, Technology & Human Values, 35(5), pp.601-617

I was expecting to find clear definition of what are boundary objects and what are not. However I found it to be a reflective paper on one’s research career. Still, it did have some interesting points. Paper states that the concept of boundary object is most useful at the organizational level and the scope needs to be specific. It is not useful to say that the bible is a boundary object, but a bible can be. Also, efforts to standardize the use of boundary objects leads to generation of residual categories or “outsiders”, which in turn leads to using other boundary objects.

Star define the objects with three statements:

  • the object resides between social worlds where it is ill-structured
  • when necessary, the object is worked on by local groups who maintain its vaguer identity as a common object, while making it more specific, more tailored to local use within a social world, and therefore useful for work that is not interdisciplinary
  • groups that are cooperating without consesus tack back-and-forth between both forms of the object