How-to | Use the Python Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK) in Dataiku#

To use the NLTK (Natural Language Toolkit) in Dataiku, start by installing it like any other Python package in Dataiku:

  • Create a code environment, and add nltk to your package requirements.


To do so, follow the reference documentation on managing Python packages.

Be aware that some functionalities of NLTK, such as text corpora and language-specific models, rely on resources which are not bundled in the library itself. The full list of available resources is available on the NLTK project site.

To use these models, you need one of the three following additional download steps. Typically, this can create issues on shared Dataiku nodes where users do not have write access to shared locations on the server (see the User Isolation Framework documentation for details).

Download NLTK Data for your system user


This code might not work for other users if your Dataiku node is configured with the User Isolation Framework and didn’t initialize downloads.

  • Open a local Python notebook running locally with the code environment you built that contains nltk:

import nltk
#this will download nltk in your $HOME/nltk_data directory"all")
Download NLTK Data for all users in a shared temp location

If you wish to share the downloaded packages with many system users, you can choose a custom location accessible to every user running nltk. Some locations would make it available without extra effort, and they are all listed in the Python property.

In this example we will be using /tmp/nltk as our download location.

  1. Start a Python notebook with local execution and the code environment that contains nltk, and run the following code:

    import nltk
    #this will download nltk /tmp/nltk'all', download_dir='/tmp/nltk')
  2. Once this is done, it’s necessary for every implementation in your project using nltk to set this location:

    import nltk'/tmp/nltk')
  3. You can also initialize your recipes or your notebooks with a dynamic download in case your directory is cleared from time to time.

    import nltk'/tmp/nltk')
    if not (os.path.exists("/tmp/nltk")):'all', download_dir='/tmp/nltk')
  4. You can also ask your Dataiku administrator to set the NLTK_DATA environment variable in your DATA_DIR/bin/ as the following:

    # add this at the end of your file
    export NLTK_DATA=/tmp/nltk
Download NLTK Data for all users (not recommended)


This procedure needs command-line access and administrative privileges on the machine hosting Dataiku. You may need to speak to your Dataiku admin and/or Linux admin as the maintenance and upgrade might always require their involvement.

  1. Assuming you are on a Linux machine and have administrative privileges, run:

    pip install nltk
    sudo python -m nltk.downloader -d /usr/share/nltk_data all


    For macOS, the path is slightly different: /usr/local/share/nltk_data

  2. To test that it worked correctly, run the following code in a notebook using your code environment with nltk.

    from nltk.corpus import brown


    For further details, please refer to this NLTK documentation.