Why is eurotopia not an online directory?
The fact that eurotopia is a book as opposed to an app, web service or WiFi data cloud, fits in quite nicely with the idea of community being that great offline adventure. Of course there would be advantages of the abovementioned: A database, like the one we manage, belongs inside a computer, that’s what the things were made for. A search for vegan communities in Bulgaria would be much easier on a website than with a book. But there are reasons for keeping our content offline:
The third most important reason is that we know how to make books, and with the use of recycled paper, eco-electricity for our computers and CO2-compensation for the print run, we feel that it’s an OK thing to do. For a serious online service, we’d need engineers, and these are rarely found in communities. If they do drop by, we need them to fix our internet connection.
The second most important reason: We finance our work by selling the book. We keep getting emails (yes, we do have internet!) with ideas about creating an online-presence financed by crowd sourcing, by expensive registrations, by donations or whatever… but up until now we could not be convinced. What’s published on a website is all over the internet in no time. For a little while, that would be nice – but it would be the last time we’d collect all that information. We just can’t do it on a voluntary basis. It’s beyond 1,000 hours of work for every edition. So it wouldn’t be sustainable.
The most important reason is simple: We really like books. More than websites. Being able to leaf through the book, all the community designs side by side, mobility, no need for batteries – we find this unbeatable.
After having stated that, let’s go back one step. During the creation of the directory we noted hundreds of times per day how practical it is to be able to search the computer’s database. So we sought and found a way in which these practical searches can be offered in spite of our reservations about an online database. A monster appendix with keywords would have been one option, but the book was meant to stay slim and light. There was a better idea: on eurotopia.directory/booksearch you can search our database for communities’ keywords as well as for words and phrases in their descriptions. The results give the numbers of the pages in this book on which you can find the communities that correspond to your search. A search for “mobile phone free” spits out the page number on which the Sieben Linden Ecovillage is listed. Therefore the internet complements the book and not vice-versa.
How often do you publish the printed eurotopia Directory?
We published German eurotopia editions in the years:
And English editions in the years:
As soon as we get note of changes of data printed in the book, we start to update our list of community addresses on the website eurotopia.directory/booksearch. We will eventually integrate these updates into a new book. Until then, the website will supplement the book as some printed data may go out of date.
The research for an edition of eurotopia is a complex process that lasts several months and takes more than 1000 hours of work. In fact, we can’t just ask communities to send data – we have to keep communicating to get it. We couldn’t finance this work if we would have to do it continuously, plus, there are always other interesting things to do in community.