There is a lot of research about coworking out there – and one person really cares for putting it together in one place: Johanna Voll from Germany. She is part of the coworking community, she does a lot of research work about coworking, and for some time she has been dedicated to making research results available to both the coworking community and interested people from the scientific community or the press.
I met Johanna at German Coworking Federation events, I have observed and supported her efforts for an interdisciplinary open online database for all coworking research. And her commitment paid off: The Coworking Europe Conference 2019 in Amsterdam was the stage for the launch of the first online presence of the project called Coworking Library. Johanna introduces the makers of the project:
“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.”
Launch at Coworking Europe Conference
In Amsterdam Boukje Cnossen (Leuphana University of Lüneburg), Alexandra Bernhardt (Chemnitz University of Technology) and Johanna Voll (European University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder) presented the joint project. Afterwards, they hosted a panel discussion on ‘Questioning Urban Workscapes: the case of Amsterdam’s collective workspaces’.
Here’s what Johanna about the event launch:
“It was really 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.”
The launch event took place in an old library in the heart of Amsterdam with local support by the Research Group Collaborative Spaces (RGCS) Amsterdam. This independent network and think tank brings together researchers and practitioners to explore new forms of organization and work.
The Coworking Library was been developed with a similar attitude: Get all the information around the globe at your fingertips. All the quantitative statistics by Deskmag will be available online with the Coworking Library at one place. Johanna explains:
“Currently, the focus of the project is still on the further collection of research results: There are a lot of entries in the database, and soon these will be searchable 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.”
Benefits of the Coworking Library
So, what will be the Coworking Library benefits for various upcoming users?
- Researchers and students may find their scientific peers more easily to connect and learn from their latest publications.
- Journalists may find an excellent overview of all the research that is out there – both market studies and research reports: The Coworking Library will be the place for all coworking research online.
- People interested in starting a coworking space will be supported with an FAQ section to make use of the Library’s content.
- Space hosts receiving lots of research requests may guide students or researchers to the Coworking Library to check whether their scientific question has already been researched.
- Space owners interested in the development of coworking may get inspired by the planned blog and newsletter showcasing exciting new insights and results of the academia.
Upcoming in 2019
These benefits and use case make clear why the super searchable database is the main objective of the current phase of the project. Researchers around the world are invited to submit relevant results online. Johanna on the current efforts:
“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 at 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.”
All this sounds like lots of work, multilingual search forms are on the list, too. I am looking forward to learning more about the project at the next coworking conference in Germany COWORK2019.