Boundary architecture

This reflects how boundaries are created and bridged among communities of practice by boundary objects. Star and Griesemer identify four types of boundary object:

  1. Repositories of modular, indexed collections of objects that people from different worlds can draw on without direct negotiation with each other;
  2. ideal types as commonly understood abstractions;
  3. coincident boundaries as concepts that have common scope for participating communities, but that have different internal contents in each; and
  4. standardized forms that capture data from various viewpoints of discipline and practice.

An example of boundary objects are method-based work products, which span specialized practices that work together to produce software.


  • distinguishable social entity
  • trading zones
  • standardized methods
  • representations that link theory and practice
  • objects that define boundaries
  • power positions
  • boundary objects (repositories, abstractions, shared scope, standardized forms)
The purpose of the boundary and boundary object point of view is to extend the practice perspective, and focus on the information needs for different practices and disciplines to be able to work together.  This information perspective feeds into application and data development.
  • Descriptive - The boundary viewpoint is primarily descriptive, of either the present or preferred situation.
  • Prescriptive - Taking a boundary point of view is not automatically prescriptive.  It is more exploratory.
  • Predictive - When groups are brought into a need to work together, it is predictable that boundary objects will be useful, and will most likely arise.