A Survey of Available Corpora for Building Data-Driven Dialogue Systems

During the past decade, several areas of speech and language understanding have witnessed substantial breakthroughs from the use of data-driven models. In the area of dialogue systems, the trend is less obvious, and most practical systems are still built through significant engineering and expert knowledge. Nevertheless, several recent results suggest that data-driven approaches are feasible and quite promising. To facilitate research in this area, we have carried out a wide survey of publicly available datasets suitable for data-driven learning of dialogue systems. We discuss important characteristics of these datasets, how they can be used to learn diverse dialogue strategies, and their other potential uses. We also examine methods for transfer learning between datasets and the use of external knowledge. Finally, we discuss appropriate choice of evaluation metrics for the learning objective.

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Human-Machine Dialogue Datasets

Name Type Topics Avg. # of turns Total # of dialogues Total # of words Description Links
[Williams et al., 2013]
Spoken Bus schedules 13.56 15,000 3.7M Bus ride information system Info and download
[Henderson et al., 2014b]
Spoken Restaurants 7.88 3,000 432K Restaurant booking system Info and Download
[Henderson et al., 2014a]
Spoken Tourist information 8.27 2,265 403K Information for tourists Info and Download
CMU Communicator Corpus
[Bennett and Rudnicky, 2002]
Spoken Travel 11.67 15,481 2M* Travel planning and booking system Info and Download
ATIS Pilot Corpus
[Hemphill et al., 1990]
Spoken Travel 25.4 41 11.4K* Travel planning and booking system Info
Ritel Corpus
[Rosset and Petel, 2006]
Spoken Unrestricted/ Diverse Topics 9.3* 582 60k An annotated open-domain question answering spoken dialogue system Info
Contact corpus authors for download
DIALOG Mathematical Proofs [Wolska et al., 2004] Spoken Mathematics 12 66 8.7K* Humans interact with computer system to do mathematical theorem proving Info
Contact corpus authors for download
MATCH Corpus
[Georgila et al., 2010]
Spoken Appointment Scheduling 14.0 447 69K* A system for scheduling appointments. Info and download
Maluuba Frames
[El Asri et al., 2017]
Chat, QA & Recommendation Travel & Vacation Booking 15 1369 - For goal-driven dialogue systems. Semantic frames labeled and actions taken on a knowledge-base annotated. Info and Download
Table 1: Human-machine dialogue datasets. Starred (*) numbers are approximated based on the average number of words per utterance.

Human-Human Constrained Dialogue Datasets

Name Topics Total # of dialogues Total # of words Total length Description Links
HCRC Map Task Corpus [Anderson et al., 1991] Map-Reproducing Task 128 147k 18hrs Dialogues from HLAP Task in which speakers must collaborate verbally to reproduce on one participant’s map a route printed on the other’s. Info and Download
The Walking Around Corpus [Brennan et al., 2013] Location Finding Task 36 300k* 33hrs People collaborating over telephone to find certain locations. Info and Download
Green Persuasive Database [Douglas-Cowie et al., 2007] Lifestyle 8 35k* 4hrs A persuader with (genuinely) strong pro-green feelings tries to convince persuadees to consider adopting more ‘green’ lifestyles. Info
Intelligence Squared Debates [Zhang et al., 2016] Debates 108 1.8M 200hrs* Various topics in Oxford-style debates, each constrained to one subject. Audience opinions provided pre- and post-debates. Info and Download
The Corpus of Professional Spoken American English [Barlow, 2000] Politics, Education 200 2M 220hrs* Interactions from faculty meetings and White House press conferences. Info and Download
(Download may require purchase.)
MAHNOB Mimicry Database [Sun et al., 2011] Politics, Games 54 100k* 11hrs Two experiments: a discussion on a political topic, and a role-playing game. Info and Download
The IDIAP Wolf Corpus [Hung and Chittaranjan, 2010] Role-Playing Game 15 60k* 7hrs A recording of Werewolf role-playing game with annotations related to game progress. Info and Download
SEMAINE corpus [McKeown et al., 2010] Emotional Conversations 100 450k* 50hrs Users were recorded while holding conversations with an operator who adopts roles designed to evoke emotional reactions. Info and Download
DSTC4/DSTC5 Corpora [Kim et al., 2015,Kim et al., 2016] Tourist 35 273k 21hrs Tourist information exchange over Skype. DSTC4


(DSTC4 Training Set with Chinese lang. Test Set)
Loqui Dialogue Corpus [Passonneau and Sachar, 2014] Library Inquiries 82 21K 140* Telephone interactions between librarians and patrons. Annotated dialogue acts, discussion topics, frames (discourse units), question-answer pairs. Info and Download
MRDA Corpus [Shriberg et al., 2004] ICSI Meetings 75 11K* 72hrs Recordings of ICSI meetings. Topics include: ICSI meeting recorder project itself, automatic speech recognition, natural language processing and neural theories of language. Dialogue acts, question-answer pairs, and hot spots. Info and Download
TRAINS 93 Dialogues Corpus [Heeman and Allen, 1995] Railroad Freight Route Planning 98 55K 6.5hrs Collaborative planning of railroad freight routes. Info and Download
Verbmobil Corpus [Burger et al., 2000] Appointment Scheduling 726 270K 38Hrs Spontaneous speech data collected for the Verbmobil project. Full corpus is in English, German, and Japanese. We only show English statistics. Info
Download I
Download II
ICT Rapport Datasets [Gratch et al., 2007] Sexual Harassment Awareness 165 N/A N/A A speaker tells a story to a listener. The listener is asked to not speak during the story telling. Contains audio-visual data, transcriptions, and annotations. Info and Download
Table 2: Human-human constrained spoken dialogue datasets. Starred (*) numbers are estimates based on the average rate of English speech from the National Center for Voice and Speech.

Human-Human Spontaneous Dialogue Datasets

Name Topics Total # of dialogues Total # of words Total length Description Links
Switchboard [Godfrey et al., 1992] Casual Topics 2,400 3M 300hrs* Telephone conversations on pre-specified topics Info and Download
British National Corpus (BNC) [Leech, 1992] Casual Topics 854 10M 1,000hrs* British dialogues many contexts, from formal business or government meetings to radio shows and phone-ins. Info and Download
CALLHOME American English Speech [Canavan et al., 1997] Casual Topics 120 540k* 60hrs Telephone conversations between family members or close friends. Info and Download
CALLFRIEND American English Non-Southern Dialect [Canavan and Zipperlen, 1996] Casual Topics 60 180k* 20hrs Telephone conversations between Americans with a Southern accent. Info and Download
The Bergen Corpus of London Teenage Language [Haslerud and Stenström, 1995] Unrestricted 100 500k 55hrs Spontaneous teenage talk recorded in 1993. Conversations were recorded secretly. Info and Download
The Cambridge and Nottingham Corpus of Discourse in English [McCarthy, 1998] Casual Topics - 5M 550hrs* British dialogues from wide variety of informal contexts, such as hair salons, restaurants, etc. Info and Download
Note: CANCODE is a subset of the Cambridge English Corpus.
D64 Multimodal Conversation Corpus [Oertel et al., 2013] Unrestricted 2 70k* 8hrs Several hours of natural interaction between a group of people Contact corpus authors for data.
AMI Meeting Corpus [Renals et al., 2007] Meetings 175 900k* 100hrs Face-to-face meeting recordings. Info and Download
Cardiff Conversation Database (CCDb) [Aubrey et al., 2013] Unrestricted 30 20k* 150min Audio-visual database with unscripted natural conversations, including visual annotations. Info and Download
4D Cardiff Conversation Database (4D CCDb) [Vandeventer et al., 2015] Unrestricted 17 2.5k* 17min A version of the CCDb with 3D video Info and Download
The Diachronic Corpus of Present-Day Spoken English [Aarts and Wallis, 2006] Casual Topics 280 800k 80hrs* Selection of face-to-face, telephone, and public discussion dialogue from Britain. Info and Download
The Spoken Corpus of the Survey of English Dialects [Beare and Scott, 1999] Casual Topics 314 800k 60hrs Dialogue of people aged 60 or above talking about their memories, families, work and the folklore of the countryside from a century ago. Info
Contact corpus authors for download.
The Child Language Data Exchange System [MacWhinney and Snow, 1985] Unrestricted 11K 10M 1,000hrs* International database organized for the study of first and second language acquisition. Info and Download
The Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection (CNCC) [Reppen and Ide, 2004] Casual Topics 95 20K 2hrs* Narratives, conversations and interviews representative of the residents of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Info and Download
Table 3: Human-human spontaneous spoken dialogue datasets. Starred (*) numbers are estimates based on the average rate of English speech from the National Center for Voice and Speech.

Human-Human Scripted Dialogue Datasets

Name Topics Total # of utterances Total # of dialogues Total # of works Total # of words Description Links
Movie-DiC [Banchs, 2012] Movie dialogues 764k 132K 753 6M Movie scripts of American films. Contact corpus authors for data.
Movie-Triples [Serban et al., 2016] Movie dialogues 736k 245K 614 13M Triples of utterances which are filtered to come from X-Y-X triples. Contact corpus authors for data.
Film Scripts Online Series Movie scripts 1M* 263K 1,500 16M* Two subsets of scripts (1000 American films and 500 mixed British/American films). Info and Download
Cornell Movie-Dialogue Corpus [Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil and Lee, 2011] Movie dialogues 305K 220K 617 9M* Short conversations from film scripts, annotated with character metadata. Info and Download
Filtered Movie Script Corpus [Nio et al., 2014] Movie dialogues 173k 86K 1,786 2M* Triples of utterances which are filtered to come from X-Y-X triples. Info and Download
American Soap Opera Corpus [Davies, 2012b] TV show scripts 10M* 1.2M 22,000 100M Transcripts of American soap operas. Info and Download
TVD Corpus [Roy et al., 2014] TV show scripts 60k* 10K 191 600k* TV scripts from a comedy (Big Bang Theory) and drama (Game of Thrones) show. Info and Download
Character Style from Film Corpus [Walker et al., 2012a] Movie scripts 664k 151K 862 9.6M Scripts from IMSDb, annotated for linguistic structures and character archetypes. Contact corpus authors for data.
SubTle Corpus [Ameixa and Coheur, 2013] Movie subtitles 6.7M 3.35M 6,184 20M Aligned interaction-response pairs from movie subtitles. Contact corpus authors for data.
OpenSubtitles [Tiedemann, 2012] Movie subtitles 140M* 36M 207,907 1B Movie subtitles which are not speaker-aligned. Info and Download
CED (1560-1760) Corpus [Kytö and Walker, 2006] Written Works & Trial Proceedings - - 177 1.2M Various scripted fictional works from (1560-1760) as well as court trial proceedings. Info and Download
Table 4: Human-human scripted dialogue datasets. Quantities denoted with () indicate estimates based on average dialogues per movie seen in [Banchs, 2012] and the number of scripts or works. Dialogues may not be explicitly separated in these datasets. TV show datasets were adjusted based on the ratio of average film runtime (112 minutes) to average TV show runtime (36 minutes). This data was scraped from the IMBD database (http://www.imdb.com/interfaces). ( Starred (*) quantities are estimated based on the average number of words and utterances per film, and the average lengths of films and TV shows. Estimates derived from the Tameri Guide for Writers (http://www.tameri.com/format/wordcounts.html).

Human-Human Written Dialogue Datasets

Name Type Topics Avg. # of turns Total # of dialogues Total # of words Description Links
NPS Chat Corpus [Forsyth and Martell, 2007] Chat Unrestricted  704 15 100M Posts from age-specific online chat rooms. Info and Download
Twitter Corpus [Ritter et al., 2010] Microblog Unrestricted 2 1.3M  125M Tweets and replies extracted from Twitter Contact corpus authors for data.
Twitter Triple Corpus [Sordoni et al., 2015] Microblog Unrestricted 3 4,232  65K A-B-A triples extracted from Twitter Info and Download
UseNet Corpus [Shaoul and Westbury, 2009] Microblog Unrestricted  687 47860  7B UseNet forum postings Info and Download
NUS SMS Corpus [Chen and Kan, 2013] SMS messages Unrestricted  18  3K 580,668*[¯] SMS messages collected between two users, with timing analysis. Info and Download
Reddit Domestic Abuse Corpus [Schrading et al., 2015] Forum Abuse help 17.53 21,133 19M-103M \triangle Reddit posts from either domestic abuse subreddits, or general chat. Info and Download
Reddit All Comments Corpus Forum General -- -- -- 1.7 Billion Reddit comments. Info and Download
Settlers of Catan [Afantenos et al., 2012] Chat Game terms  95 21 - Conversations between players in the game `Settlers of Catan'. Info

Contact corpus authors for download.
Cards Corpus [Djalali et al., 2012] Chat Game terms 38.1 1,266 282K Conversations between players playing `Cards world'. Info and Download
Agreement in Wikipedia Talk Pages [Andreas et al., 2012] Forum Unrestricted 2 822 110K LiveJournal and Wikipedia Discussions forum threads. Agreement type and level annotated. Info and Download
Agreement by Create Debaters [Rosenthal and McKeown, 2015] Forum Unrestricted 2 10K 1.4M Create Debate forum conversations. Annotated what type of agreement (e.g. paraphrase) or disagreement. Info and Download
Internet Argument Corpus [Walker et al., 2012b] Forum Politics  35.45  11K  73M Debates about specific political or moral positions. Info and Download
MPC Corpus [Shaikh et al., 2010] Chat Social tasks 520 14 58K Conversations about general, political, and interview topics. Contact corpus authors for data.
Ubuntu Dialogue Corpus [Lowe et al., 2015a] Chat Ubuntu Operating System 7.71 930K 100M Dialogues extracted from Ubuntu chat stream on IRC. Info and Download
Ubuntu Chat Corpus [Uthus and Aha, 2013] Chat Ubuntu Operating System  3381.6 10665  2B*[¯] Chat stream scraped from IRC logs (no dialogues extracted). Info and Download
Movie Dialog Dataset [Dodge et al., 2015] Chat, QA & Recommendation Movies  3.3  3.1M\blacktriangledown  185M For goal-driven dialogue systems. Includes movie metadata as knowledge triples. Info and Download
Table 5: Human-human written dialogue datasets. Starred (*) quantities are computed using word counts based on spaces (i.e. a word must be a sequence of characters preceded and followed by a space), but for certain corpora, such as IRC and SMS corpora, proper English words are sometimes concatenated together due to slang usage. Triangle (\triangle) indicates lower and upper bounds computed using average words per utterance estimated on a similar Reddit corpus Schrading [2015]. Square ([¯]) indicates estimates based only on English part of the corpus. Note that 2.1M dialogues from the Movie Dialog dataset (\blacktriangledown) are in the form of simulated QA pairs. Dialogs indicated by () are contiguous blocks of recorded conversation in a multi-participant chat. In the case of UseNet, we note the total number of newsgroups and find the average turns as average number of posts collected per newsgroup. () indicates an estimate based on a Twitter dataset of similar size and refers to tokens as well as words.


The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support by the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canada Research Chairs, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and Compute Canada. Early versions of the manuscript benefited greatly from the proofreading of Melanie Lyman-Abramovitch, and later versions were extensively revised by Genevieve Fried and Nicolas Angelard-Gontier. The authors also thank Nissan Pow, Michael Noseworthy, Chia-Wei Liu, Gabriel Forgues, Alessandro Sordoni, Yoshua Bengio and Aaron Courville for helpful discussions.