A multilevel annotation platform for linguistic corpora

Atomic 0.2.0 has been released on 24 June 2015!
Go to Download to get the version for your operating system.

This release adds corpus navigation to the Annotation Graph Editor. With this new feature you can navigate the annotation document by selecting one or more sentences/levels to view and edit.

What is Atomic?

Atomic is a multilevel corpus annotation tool – and platform – for the desktop, developed within the LinkType research project at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

Atomic is based on the Eclipse Rich Client Platform and written in Java.

Atomic is easily extensible, platform-independent, and supports different corpus formats.


Towards a corpus-based typology of clause linkage - An analytical framework and case studies on non-local dependencies (LinkType) is a DFG-funded linguistic research project that is jointly carried out by the universities of Zurich and Jena.

The project aims at statistically modeling linguistic variation in the area of complex sentences. It is based on the investigation of corpora from genealogically and geographically diverse languages that have been richly annotated.

LinkType homepage

Atomic at GitHub

The public Atomic repository is located at At GitHub you can:

About Atomic

Atomic is an open source annotation software for multi-level deep linguistic annotation of text corpora.

It is based on the Eclipse RCP, a modular rich client platform.

It features a graphical editor which can be controlled via keyboard, mouse, and command shell (with the native annotation language AtomicAL).

It works on a concrete implementation of the generic graph-based meta-model Salt, and embeds its complementary conversion framework Pepper, allowing for n : m mapping between data formats ( SaltNPepper homepage).


To install Atomic, just unzip the downloaded file into a directory of your choice. To run, simply click on the executable file called "atomic".

To receive updates about releases, please subscribe to the Atomic users mailing list: atomic-user.

Latest stable release: Atomic 0.2.1 (Release date: December 2015, CHANGELOG)

System requirements: Java Runtime Environment 1.6 or higher.

Mac OS X





There is no installation necessary. Once you have downloaded the zip archive for your operating system, simply extract it into a location of your choice, and run the Atomic executable.


The Atomic User Guide is available in the following formats: HTML (for viewing online), PDF, EPUB (for reading on your ebook reader).

The user guide is also available from Atomic's Help menu.


If you use Atomic in your scientific work, please cite it as follows.

Druskat, Stephan, Lennart Bierkandt, Volker Gast, Christoph Rzymski & Florian Zipser. 2014. Atomic: an open-source software platform for multi-level corpus annotation. In Josef Ruppert and Gertrud Faaß (eds.): Proceedings of the 12th Konferenz zur Verarbeitung natürlicher Sprache (KONVENS 2014), Hildesheim, October 2014. 228–234. ISBN 978-3-934105-46-1. PDF


If you cannot start Atomic in Windows, and get a pop up window with an error message similar to the one depicted below, you don't have the correct Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed.

In order to solve this issue, you need to install the correct JRE. Go to, and download the Java Platform, Standard Edition "JRE" (not the "Server JRE") for your operating system. If applicable, uninstall the existing JRE. Install the new JRE from the file you have just downloaded (probably called jre-8u25-windows-x64.exe or similar). You should now be able to run Atomic. If the error persists, please create a new issue at

Explanation: There are two different Java Virtual Machines, the Java HotSpot™ Client VM, and the Java HotSpot™ Server VM. The different versions relate to two different compilers (cf. the HotSpot FAQ), and Atomic uses the server system compiler, which is optimized for overall performance.

Telling which one you have: If you have installed Java via the online installer (available via the start page and at you will probably have got the client VM. You can check this by calling java -version from the command line. The third line of the output will give you something similar to Java HotSpot(TM) Client (or indeed Server) VM.

The Windows archive extraction tool for unpacking the Atomic zip doesn't work well with deep paths (i.e., long directory paths). Please try unzipping the Atomic zip with another program (e.g., 7zip), and unzip it to a "shallow path", perhaps in your user home directory (C:\Users\user\). Cf.



For Atomic-related questions, please write a message to the atomic-user mailing list:

atomic-user @ listserv . uni-jena . de


For questions related to the LinkType research project, please consult the project website:

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Responsible for the content of this site:
Volker Gast
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Ernst-Abbe-Platz 8
07743 Jena
Tel: +49 (0)3641 944500
stephan . druskat @ uni-jena . de