What is the difference between collaboration and cooperation?

Is there a difference between collaboration or cooperation? Or how about coordination, teamwork, alliances, and associations? 

In the last issue of Collaborative Librarianship, Stephen Abram states that “He believes that collaboration can be transformational when done right,” and goes on to say that  he “despis[es] the puny vision of many library cooperators.”  

Bloggers on  Anecdotes expressed strong opinion on the terminology,  including this quote by David Pollard: “The term [collaboration] is being cheapened (“collaboration tools”, “collaborative environments”) to the point where in many people’s minds it’s indistinguishable from cooperation and coordination.” 

The editors of Collaborative Librarianship have heard several strong opinions on the how to use the terms, but we want to learn more.  What do you think?  Which is more powerful?  And why is the difference important to so many people? 

Please share your thoughts.  Valerie Horton


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