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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access October 5, 2021

Ambiguity, standards and contextual distance: archaeological heritage administrators and their information work

Isto Huvila EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Information Science

Abstract

Archaeological heritage administrators hold a key position as managers of archaeological information production. This article reports findings of an interview study conducted in Sweden (N=10) that focuses on providing an in-depth description of archaeology heritage administrators’ work with a focus on their information work practices and factors that influence how it unfolds. The findings show that its critical success factors focus on the adequacy and availability of resources, personal experience and functioning collaborations with key stakeholders and colleagues, and balancing between following and interpreting formal guidelines, boundaries and standards of the work. Based on a reading of the findings inspired by Luhmann and White, it is suggested that the administrators’ ability to balance between standards and ambiguity and regulate their personal contextual distance to the projects they were working on helped them switch between acting as subject experts and relying on others to maintain a control over their information work-as-whole.

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Received: 2021-03-18
Accepted: 2021-08-03
Published Online: 2021-10-05

© 2021 Isto Huvila, published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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