ObieMAPS is one of the first major projects undertaken by the Oberlin Center for Languages and Cultures. A new way to visualize campus-wide academic content and activity, ObieMAPS is meant to make it much easier for anyone on and off campus to see connections across departments and programs in terms of geography, time periods, and themes or topics; to showcase Oberlin's many connections with the world; and to track our collective language skills. (Click here to access ObieMAPS directly.)
In a more general sense, ObieMAPS allows the public to get a better sense of the richness and diversity of intellectual life on campus, and the global nature of Oberlin as an institution. ObieMAPS allows anyone to see in one click, for instance, what Oberlin faculty specialize in South-East Asia, who can read French, who works on the Middle Ages, or what courses deal with photography. The main idea is to group or link courses and faculty not through the administrative structures that happen to house them, but the actual content of their courses and intellectual or artistic projects.
In practical terms, ObieMAPS is built on a massive college-wide database. This database currently holds faculty profiles and regularly taught courses, and identifies each in terms of geography, time period, and themes or key words. The database also tracks language skills and institutional connections beyond geographic areas of expertise. Finally, it provides links to published scholarship on Oberlin SHARES (Oberlin's digital Open Access repository) and Google Scholar. ObieMAPS also includes Oberlin's affiliated study abroad programs and major collections in the Oberlin Libraries, the Oberlin Archives, and the Allen Memorial Art Museum.
In addition to simple and advanced search capability, the database can be searched or browsed through four different custom-designed interfaces: a clickable and zoomable world map; a clickable and zoomable historical timeline; a thematic interface; and a list of languages.
ObieMAPS has been developed for Oberlin with open-source software by Justin Locsei, former Educational Technology Specialist at the Cooper International Learning Center (CILC).