I know a person who’s dedicated to researching coworking: Johanna Voll. She is part of the coworking community, researches coworking, and for some time she has been committed to making research results available to both the coworking community and interested people from research or the press. At this year’s Coworking Europe Conference in Amsterdam, Johanna together with other co-founders of the Coworking Library launched the brand-new online presence of the project: An interdisciplinary open online database for all coworking research.
Hi Johanna, welcome back from Amsterdam! How was your launch presentation of the Coworking Library website at the Coworking Europe Conference?
Johanna Voll: One Word? Supergreat!
It was exciting to organize this event in an old library in the heart of Amsterdam with great local support by the Research Group Collaborative Spaces (RGCS) Amsterdam. Boukje Cnossen (Leuphana University of Lüneburg), Alexandra Bernhardt (Chemnitz University of Technology) and I were very happy with the outcome.
There were three presentations and a panel discussion on the topic of “Questioning Urban Workscapes: the case of Amsterdam’s collective work spaces”. It was exciting to see the lively discussions among researchers and practitioners. For us it was an interesting format and much more engaging than the typical academic panel talk. Thanks to our sponsors, Leuphana University of Lüneburg and AgoraRDM, we could provide the space and drinks for free.
How important is it to bring researchers from different countries together?
Johanna: I think these international conferences can be very beneficial to exchange ideas and jump start collaborations. A perfect place for that is the Research Group Collaborative Spaces (RGCS). They have several chapters across the globe where researchers but also practitioners come together and explore new forms of organization and work.
How can I search for something in the Database as there is no search option?
Johanna: We are developing this new feature at the moment. We already have a lot of entries in the library that are not yet shown in the front end and hope to change that soon (January 2019). Then we will have the possibility to search by keyword, language, discipline or year.
The advanced feature that we provide is an English abstract to each entry – even if the paper itself is written in Korean. For this we have partnered with many coworking research friends and students from the European University Viadrina, where I teach.
What’s in the Coworking Library for…
Johanna: Find your peers easily, connect and, of course, read their latest publications.
Johanna: Find a good overview of all the research that is out there – not only market reports, but also from academia. The Coworking Library will be the place for all coworking research online.
… people starting a coworking space?
Johanna: With the growing number of entries, we know it could be overwhelming for people who are just diving into the topic. That is why we also plan to provide an FAQ-section for an easy start into our Coworking research world.
… independent coworking hosts like us at Rayaworx that already made lots of experiences?
Johanna: Many space owners have told me that they get questions and inquiries for interviews or surveys by students or researchers quite frequently. Sometimes somebody already answered the proposed research question and I am quite sure that it will end up in the Coworking Library sooner or later. So now, you can guide people there first.
There is already a lot research out there, people sometimes are not aware of that. We will also have all the quantitative statistics by deskmag in one place. In addition, I think there are some really interesting papers in there for everyone. We plan on showing exciting new research in a blog, our curated newsletter and via social media.
Speaking of deskmag: Who are the partners contributing to this project?
Johanna: It’s a collaborative project by the German Coworking Federation e.V. and deskmag. Carsten Foertsch, who is also the person behind the „Global Coworking Survey“, and I have been actively working on this non-profit project for the past three years. Together we curate and maintain the Coworking Library.
Well, thank you very much for your commitment!
Johanna: We have received great support from the global coworking family! Especially by Cowork7/24 who have been building the beta version of our website and included.co, who just joined us as a new partner. Hector Kolonas contributes not only great ideas for future features but a ton of tech expertise that was missing in the project before.
We plan to launch new features in the beginning of 2019 for the RGCS Symposium in Barcelona. As the website is constantly evolving we appreciate any feedback on how to make it better for the users.
So, what are the next steps of your project?
Johanna: The super searchable database is our main goal now. We still encourage all researchers to enter their own research or publications they came across. We do not host any files (yet) and only provide the links to the original websites.
Are you planning on other languages e.g. German or Spanish for the input form and the study abstracts?
Johanna: For now, it’s all in English and the original language of the publication. We definitely plan on making the website multilingual in the future. For this aspect as well as maintaining the side technically and curating the entries, we are on the lookout for sponsors as we always want to stay free and open for anyone who wants to know more about coworking research.
Many thanks, Johanna – and all the best to the Coworking Library project! I look forward to learning more about the progress of your project at the next Cowork2019 in Mannheim!
Further Links about Coworking Library:
- Web: coworkinglibrary.com
- Contact: hello @ coworking-library.com
- Facebook: facebook.com/coworkinglibrary
- Twitter: twitter.com/CowoLibrary
- Researchgate: researchgate.net/project/Coworking-Library
Illustration: Photo at launch by GCUC Canada twitter.com/GCUCCanada via Johanna Voll • Logo by Coworking Library • Photo with website: DoSchu / Rayaworx