Knowledge artifacts may function as “boundary objects” that assist participants in interacting across various professional, social, and cultural boundaries . Boundary objects are modified and shaped according to the local needs of participants. Simultaneously, these objects have identity that remains relatively stable across contexts. Boundary objects are created to assist the participating communities to achieve their epistemic objectives and to foster mutual understanding between them.

See also the boundary crossing, boundary zone.


Bowker, G. C. & Star, S. L. (1999). Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences. USA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Star, S. L. (1989). The Structure of Ill-Structured Solutions: Boundary Objects and Heterogeneous Distributed Problem Solving. In L. Gasser & M. N. Huhns (Eds), Distributed Artificial Intelligence. Volume II. London: Pitman Publishing, 37-54.

Star, S. L. & 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, 19, 387-420.

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