SHANTI - Sciences, Humanities, and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives

Fathom / Profile

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“Fathom” (an early name which may be changed) is a Ruby on Rails  software application intended to facilitate (i) social networking, (ii) a directory of tools, technologies, and standards,  and (iii) integrated access to usage scenarios, recipes, case studies, narratives, and methodologies relating to the use of digital technology in higher education for learning, teaching, research, performance, service, engagement, and publication. see this link.

General Associations
Digital Humanities (5), social networking (16)

Notes on License

Creative Commons, Apache Software License.  The project is open source, and the source code can be found on Ruby Forge.




  • a WYSIWYG interface with standard tagging features to enable individuals, projects, and organizations to describe themselves and their work in structured ways
  • user-generated tagging to describes interests and affiliations in different classes (disciplines, time periods, geographical areas, technologies, etc.)
  • similar interface and tagging for creating structured descriptions of tools, technologies, and standards
  • indexing of tools entries through a web service api of a separate application that maintains an annotated hierarchical typology of  tools, technologies, and standards
  • ability to specify relationships between individuals, projects, organizations, and tool entries
  • visualization tool to visualize these relationships
  • faceted searching/browsing of entries using user-generated tags

Version and Plans

A present (summer 2009), we are working on the following tasks for completion in the next month:

  • ability to add multiple “reviews” to tool entries which have a structured template
  • creating a new posts section, which allows posts that are classified into categories (looking for programmer, seeking intern, etc.) as well as tagged with associations (technologies, academic disciplines, etc.)
  • making the application into an  “engine”, which will allow software to be presented in different styles and contexts without being wedded to a specific website/presentation
  • implementing RSS/email notifications
  • completing the tools module by adding various functionalities and refinements.
  • improving the presentation of the faceted searching interface to make it a bit more user friendly

Once complete, we will proceed to the following tasks:

  • redoing the browse interface for people, projects, organizations, and tools, to do such things as integrated the facetted browsing
  • address how to present narratives, use cases, and recipes of various scholarly activities and how they relate to technologies

We are currently planning to have release 1.0 in August of 2009, but we are currently running a pre-1.0 version with limited functionality in production at the SHANTI site at the University of Virginia (see

Interface Languages
English (416)
Technologies of Interest
Ruby on Rails (10)

UVa Support

This application is maintained and supported by SHANTI.