Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time


MATILDA: Multi-AnnoTator multi-language Interactive Lightweight Dialogue Annotator

Authors: Davide Cucurnia, Nikolai Rozanov, Irene Sucameli, Augusto Ciuffoletti, Maria Simi


Paper: link to the EACL paper

Citation at bottom of README! (Please cite when using)

MATILDA is the first multi-annotator, multi-language annotation tool that is built on the top of an open source dialogue annotation tool LIDA, specifically it has full support for multiple annotators, project management and multiple annotation models. It uses MongoDB for data delivery and consistency, it comes with production ready server by using Gunicorn and nginx.

Document structure

  1. Requirements
  2. Installation
    • Option A: Running the Server with Docker
      • Docker and docker-compose
    • Option B: Running the Server with flask (WSGI) or gunicorn
      • Downloading & Installing Modules Requirements
      • Run the server
    • Optional: Installing a MongoDB local database
    • Accessing the interface
    • First username and password
  3. Configuration
    • Network and database
    • Annotation Models
  4. Advanced Configuration
    • New Labels
    • Interannotator Tool
    • Adding ML Models As Recommenders
    • Dummy Models
  5. JSON Format Example

0. Requirements

In order to run MATILDA on Docker you will need a 64bit system because that's the minimum requirements for Docker. If you wish to use MATILDA with a 32bit system you can just follow the Option B steps. In both cases server needs a minimum of 60MB on the hard disk, plus the space needed for the database.

MATILDA is very light-weight. Containerized with Docker MATILDA smoothly run on a system based on Intel Celeron J3355, a 2-core microprocessor dated 2016 created for entry level PCs, equipped with a 2GB RAM. During a significant processing peak induced with an upload, the footprint did not exceed a few (2-3%) percent of hardware capacity.

1. Installation

MATILDA is a client-server app. The server is written in Python with the Flask web framework. The front end is written with HTML/CSS/Vue.js and communicates with the back end via a RESTful API.

To run MATILDA, you will need to first run the Flask server on your local machine / wherever you want the back end to run.

To do this you have two options:

  1. Using the provided docker-compose.yml file to run it in a docker container together with its database. This is probably faster and cleaner.
  2. Otherwise you will need to have Python 3.6 or above installed on your machine and a mongoDB database, either online (there are many free services) or local. If you are using an online database you will need to set the database address in configuration/conf.json.

Further instructions are provided in the next paragraph.

Option A: Running the Server with Docker

MATILDA also comes with a docker container you may want to use for a fast and clean installation on Linux, OSX and Windows systems.

Docker and docker-compose

Simply install docker and docker-compose on your system and run the docker-compose.yml file in the repository as shown above. Using the git command, clone this repository (or download and uncompress the zipfile), and enter the matilda directory.

$ git clone
$ cd matilda
$ sudo docker-compose up -d

And it's done!

Stopping the service

Unless you manually stop the service for some reason, it will be automatically started at the next boot. So the server cab be switched off/on without intervention of the administrator.

To manually stop the service use the command:

$ sudo docker-compose kill

For further details, please see the specific instructions in /

Option B: Running the Server with Flask (WSGI) or Gunicorn

1. Downloading & Installing Modules Requirements

It is strongly recommended that you clone into a Python virtual environment:

$ mkdir MATILDA/
$ python3 -m venv MATILDA/
$ cd MATILDA/ && source bin/activate
(MATILDA)$ git clone
(MATILDA)$ cd matilda/web
(MATILDA)$ pip3 install -r requirements.txt

2. Run the server with Flask or Gunicorn

Assuming you have just followed the steps to "Downloading & Installing MATILDA Module Requirements" and you have a mongoDB locally installed on your system:

(MATILDA)$ pwd
(MATILDA)$ cd server/
(MATILDA)$ python

You should see the Flask server running in the Terminal now on port 5000.

Alternatively you may use gunicorn to run the server app:

(MATILDA)$ pwd
(MATILDA)$ cd server/
gunicorn --bind localhost:5000 matilda_app:MatildaApp

Optional: Installing a MongoDB local database

If you don't plan to use a local database but you prefer an online one, feel free to skip this step.

mongoDB requires Homebrew to install on OSX. Update instructions are on its official website:

Instructions for a working local mongoDB database are here:


You can test it's running by:

ps aux | grep -v grep | grep mongod

Accessing the interface

Each option you chose before you can now simply navigate to http://localhost:5000 if you installed the server locally or navigate to the remote server address. Keep in mind you may need to open the correct ports on your firewall(s) in order to reach the server.

HTTP Requests from your client may not reach your server in some configuration environment, in those few cases please check and edit the backend address in MATILDA's file /web/server/gui/source/utils/backend.js. Other configuration options are exposed in /Configuration/conf.json.

First username and password

On its first start MATILDA creates an administrator account with username "admin" and password "admin". You need to use this credentials for your first login. Once you are allowed to enter it's recommended to change the admin password from the graphical interface.

2. Configuration

Network and Database

All configuration changes that you may wish to make to MATILDA network and database can be done by editing the json file /Configuration/conf.json. There you can change:

  • App ports (default 5000) and address (
  • Database location with address:port combination ( or mongoDB URI (mongodb://mongo:27017/?retryWrites=true&w=majority)
  • The annotation models you want to be available inside MATILDA. The json files you are referring to must be included in the Configuration folder.

If you are using the Docker version you can also perform additional configuration with /Configuration/

Annotation Models

All configuration changes that you may wish to make to MATILDA's annotation model can be done by editing the json file /Configuration/lida_model.json or by adding a new one. This script contains a configuration dictionary that describes which labels will appear in MATILDA's front end. You can also add an entire new annotation model file and put a reference to it in the /Configuration/conf.json file in order to instruct the program to load it on start.

You can currently add three different types of new labels to MATILDA:

  1. multilabel_classification :: will display as checkboxes which you can select one or more of.

  2. multilabel_classification_string :: will display as checkboxes with values next to them and text input fields for a string. This kind of label would be used for a slot-value pair in dialogue state tracking, where you have the slot name (a classification) and the value (an arbitrary string).

  3. string :: will display underneath the user's utterance as a string response. This is the label field that would be used for a response to the user's query.

3. Advanced Configuration

New Labels

To add a new label, simply specify a new entry in the configDict in /web/server/ The key should be the name of the label, and the value a dictionary which has a field specifying the label_type, a boolean field required which defines whether the label is required or not and a field called labels which specify what label values there are for this label (not applicable to labels of type string).

You can optionally add a description field and a model field which provides a recommender for the label (see below for details on API requirement). You can see examples of all label types in /web/server/

The Annotator Config file

Annotator Config

Interannotator tool

All configuration changes that you would like to add to the Interannotator tool can be done in /web/server/

It currently allows you to modify the following:

  1. How to treat disagreements etc.
  2. How to calculate scores.

Adding ML Models As Recommenders

All configuration changes that you may wish to make to MATILDA can be done in the file /web/server/ This script contains a configuration dictionary that describes which labels will appear in MATILDA's front end.

To add a recommender, simply add a field called "model" to the element of the config dict that you want to add a recommender for. The value of this field needs to be a Python object that conforms to the interface defined below.

Any recommender you add to MATILDA must conform to the following API: each recommender is a Python object that has a method called transform:

transform(sent: str) -> List[str] or List[Tuple[str, str]] or str

That is, your recommender only needs to provide a method called transform that takes a single string as input and returns predicted labels. The predictions need to conform to the label_type. What this means is:

  • If the element's label_type is multilabel_classification, then the transform() method needs to return a list of strings (i.e. a list of the labels for the string). For example, for sentiment classification this may look like:

    predictor.transform("I liked the movie") -> ["positive"]

  • If the element's label_type is multilabel_classification_string, then the transform() method needs to return a list of tuples, where each tuple consists of two strings (i.e. a list of slots and values). For example, for hotel belief state tracking this may look like:

    predictor.transform("I want a hotel for 5 people") -> [("hotel-book people", "5")]

  • If the element's label_type is string, then the transform() method needs to also return a string. For example, you could add a dialogue system to MATILDA using this label type:

    dialogue_system.transform("I want a hotel") -> "What area of town?"

You can see more examples of this in /web/server/ and see how they are integrated to MATILDA's back end in the current web/server/ script.

Dummy Models

Dummy Models

Uploading JSON File Format

If you upload a JSON file representing a dialogue to be labelled, then it must have the following properties:

  • File is a dict with keys as the names of each dialogue and values as lists.

  • Each value is a list of dictionaries, where each dictionary contains a number of key-value pairs which are used to display the dialogue data for annotation.

  • Some key-value pairs are compulsory in order to correctly display the dialogue. The key-value pairs which are compulsory are defined in the annotation model json file in the /Configuration folder read by /web/gui/server/ module.

  • By default, the only required key-value pair in each turn is called usr and should be the user's query as a string.

An example of data in the correct form can be seen in /web/server/LIDA_ANNOTATIONS/dummy_data.json.

4. JSON Format Example

JSON format


Please cite these two papers when using.

    title = "{MATILDA} - Multi-{A}nno{T}ator multi-language {I}nteractive{L}ight-weight Dialogue Annotator",
    author = "Cucurnia, Davide  and
      Rozanov, Nikolai  and
      Sucameli, Irene  and
      Ciuffoletti, Augusto  and
      Simi, Maria",
    booktitle = "Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations",
    month = apr,
    year = "2021",
    address = "Online",
    publisher = "Association for Computational Linguistics",
    url = "",
    pages = "32--39",
    abstract = "Dialogue Systems are becoming ubiquitous in various forms and shapes - virtual assistants(Siri, Alexa, etc.), chat-bots, customer sup-port, chit-chat systems just to name a few.The advances in language models and their publication have democratised advanced NLP.However, data remains a crucial bottleneck.Our contribution to this essential pillar isMATILDA, to the best of our knowledge the first multi-annotator, multi-language dialogue annotation tool. MATILDA allows the creation of corpora, the management of users, the annotation of dialogues, the quick adaptation of the user interface to any language and the resolution of inter-annotator disagreement. We evaluate the tool on ease of use, annotation speed and interannotation resolution for both experts and novices and conclude that this tool not only supports the full pipeline for dialogue annotation, but also allows non-technical people to easily use it. We are completely open-sourcing the tool at and provide a tutorial video1.",
    title = "{LIDA}: Lightweight Interactive Dialogue Annotator",
    author = "Collins, Edward  and
      Rozanov, Nikolai  and
      Zhang, Bingbing",
    booktitle = "Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP): System Demonstrations",
    month = nov,
    year = "2019",
    address = "Hong Kong, China",
    publisher = "Association for Computational Linguistics",
    url = "",
    doi = "10.18653/v1/D19-3021",
    pages = "121--126",
    abstract = "Dialogue systems have the potential to change how people interact with machines but are highly dependent on the quality of the data used to train them.It is therefore important to develop good dialogue annotation tools which can improve the speed and quality of dialogue data annotation. With this in mind, we introduce LIDA, an annotation tool designed specifically for conversation data. As far as we know, LIDA is the first dialogue annotation system that handles the entire dialogue annotation pipeline from raw text, as may be the output of transcription services, to structured conversation data. Furthermore it supports the integration of arbitrary machine learning mod-els as annotation recommenders and also has a dedicated interface to resolve inter-annotator disagreements such as after crowdsourcing an-notations for a dataset. LIDA is fully open source, documented and publicly available.[] {--}{\textgreater} Screen Cast:",


MATILDA: Multi-AnnoTator multi-language Interactive Lightweight Dialogue Annotator








No releases published


No packages published