1. médialab Sciences Po
  2. Productions
  3. Fonio


Robin de Mourat, Mengying Du, Guillaume Plique, Daniele Guido, Donato Ricci


Fonio is a collaborative writing software aimed at building rich digital scholarly dissertations using the architecture of websites to structure arguments and the possibility to harness the richness of an inquiry's work in social sciences by featuring bibliographic references, images, tables, videos, and interactive elements.

Screenshot of Fonio
Screenshot of Fonio

Fonio puts an emphasis on documentation, allowing to describe all the resources gathered during an inquiry in a rich and homogeneous way (date, source, author, ...). It also allows to build an augmented glossary in order to define key terms and browse them in an interactive way.

Besides, the application is aimed at allowing to work extensively on the information design of the dissertations: it enables writers to choose a way to organize the reading experience of their readers, and to customize the visual identity of the websites in a meaningful way, through a graphical interface or the injection of custom CSS code.

Fonio is organized according to a decentralized logic in which access to the tool does not rely on a unique platform, but rather on the deployment of little instances (called "classrooms") that each correspond to a specific class and exist during a limited period of time. All works will be saved and privately archived after the semester is finished thanks to the Bocal tool. However, the application also allows students to download their work at anytime to backup it or to publish it online in a clean and easy way.

Fonio is collaborative and allows several writers to work simultaneously on contents, design and documentation. According to this collaborative state of mind, works in progress are readable by the whole classroom, but their edition is restricted to each team.

In order to install Fonio in the frame of your research or teaching institution, please refer to the instructions on the tool's source code page. Besides, a digital infrastructure handling the Docker technology is necessary to allow the deployment of Fonio instances.