Installing ConceptNet

So you want to install the ConceptNet API. Here’s the summary of how to do it:

  1. Install system-wide packages that we depend on, including Python and Pip.
  2. Use pip install to download and install ConceptNet.
  3. Acquire the ConceptNet database and tell Python where to find it.

If you’re an Open Mind developer, these aren’t really the right directions. Look at the “CSC Development” section of the documentation.

Quick start

On Ubuntu, this should get you from zero to ConceptNet:

$ sudo aptitude install python-dev python-setuptools python-pip ipython
$ sudo pip install conceptnet
$ ipython -cl
>>> from conceptnet.models import *

Then type ‘y’ to download and install the ConceptNet database.

On other operating systems, you’ll need to keep reading.


You need Python 2.5 or 2.6, plus Pip for managing packages. If you don’t have these, follow the Common Installation Instructions first.

Remember to leave the “sudo” off of these commands if you’re on Windows.

Install ConceptNet and its dependencies

Pip will take care of the hard work; all you need to type is:

sudo pip install conceptnet

This should download ConceptNet and its dependencies, which include:

  • Django
  • csc-utils (our utility package)
  • south (allows the database to be upgraded later)

If for some reason pip install fails, you can get the release from PyPI.

Getting the database

With the newest release of ConceptNet, just try importing ConceptNet and it will download the database for you if necessary:

>>> from conceptnet.models import *

If that works for you, you’re done. Skip to the last section. If that fails, or you just want to do things manually, keep reading.

Downloading the database manually

The easiest way to get the database is as a SQLite file. You can get this file from here.

Unzipping this file gives you the database (ConceptNet.db) and a configuration file (

If you’re just trying it out, the easiest approach is to just run python (or ipython) in the same directory where you put the extracted files.

Your Python code will only be able to find the database if one of these is the case:

  • The environment variable CONCEPTNET_DB_CONFIG contains the full path to
  • is in the current directory
  • is in a directory in your PYTHONPATH

On Python 2.6, you get a per-user site-packages directory, which is a great place to put

Optional: Using a PostgreSQL database

We have also periodically provided PostgreSQL dumps of the ConceptNet database. PostgreSQL is much faster than SQLite at looking things up in ConceptNet, but it is harder to set up.

If you want to use one of these, follow the directions here. You do not need to do this if you are using the SQLite database.

You will need to set up PostgreSQL, and install the psycopg2 library for Python. Then, edit as follows:

from db_password import DB_PASSWORD
DB_ENGINE = "postgresql_psycopg2"
DB_NAME = "ConceptNet"
DB_HOST = "localhost"    # or whatever server it's on
DB_PORT = "5432"         # or whatever port it's on
DB_USER = "username"     # change this to your PostgreSQL username
DB_SCHEMAS = "public"

Finally, make a file containing the line DB_PASSWORD = "yourpassword", and make sure that the file is only readable by you.

Try it out

If you’ve set up ConceptNet correctly, you should be able to run the following small example. Start ipython and type the following lines:

from conceptnet.models import Concept
dog = Concept.get('dog', 'en')
for fwd in dog.get_assertions_forward()[:20]:
    print fwd

To understand what that just printed, go on to the conceptnet4 module.