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From "Jukka Zitting" <>
Subject [PROPOSAL] Tika, a content analysis toolkit
Date Wed, 07 Mar 2007 17:55:51 GMT

[Cross-posting to announce the Tika proposal, please use for followup discussion.]

This is a proposal to start a content analysis toolkit project in the
Apache Incubator. The live version of the proposal is available at

Comments and questions are welcome. There is also a vacant place for a
third mentor. Once people are satisfied with the proposal I will first
call a vote on the Lucene PMC to sponsor the proposal and then a vote
on the Incubator PMC to accept the project for incubation.

PS. Based on quick Google and USPTO searches there doesn't seem to be
anything that would cause trouble with the "Tika" name.


Jukka Zitting

Tika, a content analysis toolkit


Tika is a toolkit for detecting and extracting metadata and structured
text content from various documents using existing parser libraries.


The Tika content analysis toolkit will include features for detecting
the content types, character encodings, languages, and other characteristics
of existing documents and for extracting structured text content from
the documents.

The toolkit is targeted especially for search engines and other content
indexing and analysis tools, but will be useful also for other applications
that need to extract meaningful information from documents that might
be presented as nothing else than binary streams.

Instead of implementing its own document parsers, Tika will use existing
parser libraries like Jakarta POI [1] and PDFBox [2].


The initial idea for the Tika project was voiced in April 2006 by
Jérôme Charron and Chris A. Mattman on the Nutch mailing list. The Nutch
parser framework and other content analysis features were seen as
value-added components that would benefit also other projects. The idea
received positive feedback, but lacked the momentum.

The idea was revisited in August 2006 when Jukka Zitting from the
Jackrabbit project contacted Nutch for possible cooperation with similar
ideas. The original Tika idea gained extra momentum and a Google Code
project was set up as a staging area for prototype code before deciding
how to best handle the setup of a new project. After a few initial
commits the activity again declined.

In January 2007 the idea started gaining more momentum when Rida Benjelloun
offered to contribute the Lius project [3] to Apache Lucene and when Mark
Harwood also started looking for a generic toolkit like Tika.

This proposal is the result of the above efforts and related discussions
both in private and on various public forums. Some alternatives to
incubation, like Apache Labs [4] or Jakarta Commons [5], came up during
the discussions but we believe that taking the project to the Incubator
is the best way to start growing a viable community to sustain the Tika


There is ever more demand for tools that automatically analyze and index
documents in various formats. Search engines, content repositories, and
other tools often need to extract metadata and text content from documents
given as nothing or little else than a simple octet stream. While there
are a number of existing parser libraries for various document types,
each of them comes with a custom API and there are no generic tools for
automatically determining which parser to use for which documents.
Currently many projects end up creating their custom content analysis
and extraction tools.

The Tika project attempts to remove this duplication of efforts. We
believe that by pooling the efforts of multiple projects we will be able
to create a generic toolkit that exceeds the capabilities and quality of
the custom solutions of any single project. A generic toolkit project
will also provide common ground for the developers of parser libraries
and content applications to interact.

Initial Goals

The initial goals of the proposed project are:

    * Viable community around the Tika codebase

    * Active relationships and possible cooperation with related
      projects and communities

    * Generic parser API for extracting structured text content from
      various document formats

    * Flexible metadata detection and extraction API

    * Java implementations of the metadata standards mentioned below

Current Status


All the initial committers are familiar with the meritocracy principles
of Apache, and have already worked on the various source codebases. We will
follow the normal meritocracy rules also with other potential contributors.


There is not yet a clear Tika community. Instead we have a number of people
and related projects with an understanding that a shared toolkit project
would best serve everyone's interests. The primary goal of the incubating
project is to build a self-sustaining community around this shared vision.

Core Developers

The initial set of developers comes from various backgrounds, with different
but compatible needs for the proposed project.


As a generic toolkit the Tika will likely be widely used by various open
source and commercial projects both together with and independent of other
Apache tools like Lucene Java or Jakarta POI. Other Apache projects like
Nutch and Jackrabbit are potential candidates for using Tika as an
embedded component.

Known Risks

Orphaned products

There are a number of projects at various stages of maturity that implement
a subset of the proposed features in Tika. For many potential users the
existing tools are already enough, which reduces the demand for a more
generic toolkit. This can also be seen in the slow progress of this
proposal over the past year.

However, once the project gets started we can quickly reach the feature
level of existing tools based on seed code from sources mentioned below.
After that we believe to be able to quickly grow the developer and user
communities based on the benefits of a generic toolkit over custom

Inexperience with Open Source

All the initial developers have worked on open source before and many are
committers and PMC members within other Apache projects.

Homogenous Developers

The initial developers come from a variety of backgrounds and with a
variety of needs for the proposed toolkit.

Reliance on Salaried Developers

Some of the developers are paid to work on this or related projects,
but the proposed project is not the primary task for anyone.

Relationships with Other Apache Products

Tika is related to at least the following Apache projects. None of
the projects is a direct competitor for Tika, but there are many cases
of potential overlap in functionality.

    * Apache Lucene []
      The analysis part of Lucene contains code that might overlap with
      some of the potential Tika functionality. There might also be some
      overlap regarding the Document model in Lucene.

    * Lucene Nutch []
      The Nutch project already contains a parser framework that does
      many of the things that Tika is designed to do.

    * Apache Jackrabbit []
      The Jackrabbit project contains a text extraction component that
      also implements a subset of the proposed Tika features.

    * Apache UIMA []
      The UIMA project provides a framework and pluggable tools for
      analyzing text content and extracting information. Example tools
      include language identification, sentence boundary detection and
      "entity extraction" - finding references to people, places and
      organisations. Tika could be used by UIMA to parse text but Tika
      should be careful not to duplicate the subsequent text analysis
      features UIMA offers.

A Excessive Fascination with the Apache Brand

All of us are familiar with Apache and we have participated in Apache
projects as contributors, committers, and PMC members. We feel that the
Apache Software Foundation is a natural home for a project like this.


There are bits and pieces of design discussions and other documentation
around, see for example the following:

    * August 2006 nutch-dev: Parser design

    * September 2006 nutch-dev: Content type detection

    * October 2006 Lius tutorial

    * February 2007 Tika wiki: Design discussion

Standards and conventions related to Tika include the Dublin Core [6]
metadata set, the Shared MIME information draft [7] specification from [8], and of course RFCs 2046 [9] and 3066 [10] for
identifying media types and languages.

See also the potential parser libraries listed below for details on the
various document formats that Tika plans to support.

Initial Source

Tika will start with a combination of seed code from the efforts listed

    * The Apache Nutch project that contains a parser framework and
      various content analysis tools

    * The Lius project, an indexing framework for Apache Lucene

    * The Apache Jackrabbit project that contains a text extraction

No existing codebase is selected as "the" starting point of Tika to avoid
inheriting the world view and design limitations of any single project.

Source and Intellectual Property Submission Plan

All seed code and other contributions will be handled through the normal
Apache contribution process.

We will also contact other related efforts for possible cooperation
and contributions.

External Dependencies

Tika will depend on a number of external parser libraries with various
licensing conditions. An initial list of potential dependencies is shown

    Library      URL                               License
    Jakarta POi    ASLv2
    PDFBox            BSD
                                                   CyberNeko (like ASL)
    JTidy     W3C
There are also some LGPL parser libraries that would be useful. Whether
and how such dependencies could be handled will be discussed during
incubation. No such dependencies will be added to the project before
the legal implications have been cleared.


Tika itself will not use cryptography, but it is possible that some of
the external parser libraries will include cryptographic code to handle
features like DRM in various document formats.

Required Resources

Mailing lists


Subversion Directory


Issue Tracking

    * JIRA Tika (TIKA)

Other Resources

    * none

Initial Committers

    Name               Email                                     CLA
    Rida Benjelloun    rida dot benjelloun at doculibre dot com  yes
    Mark Harwood       mharwood at apache dot org                yes
    Chris A. Mattmann  mattmann at apache dot org                yes
    Sami Siren         siren at apache dot org                   yes
    Jukka Zitting      jukka at apache dot org                   yes


    Name               Affiliation
    Rida Benjelloun    Doculibre inc.
    Chris A. Mattmann  NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    Jukka Zitting      Day Management AG



    * Jukka Zitting (jukka at apache dot org)

Nominated Mentors

    * Doug Cutting (cutting at apache dot org)
    * Jukka Zitting (jukka at apache dot org)

Sponsoring Entity

    * TODO: Apache Lucene (vote needed)

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