SuttaCentral meets Citavi

I originally started this project years ago based on the translations by Wisdom Publications. I was in the Nidana-samyutta when I heard the good news that the Venerable Sujato will translate the four main nikaya in a uniform voice and make them freely available.

I started anew on June 1, 2018 and today it’s done. For the moment. In the next few weeks, I will have to go over it again to eliminate the more obvious errors.

Citavi is a reference management and knowledge database (not meant as an advertisement). The project has 3,411 data entries. These are not equivalent to the number of suttas, this is due to concatenated discourses where 1 data entry sometimes covers hundreds of suttas. The recent changes have not been implemented here.

How does is look?

What does it do?

One of the main aims was to structure the discourses. Each data entry has been categorized and each of the 1,435 quotations has been tagged with keywords.

For example, if I want to know how often the Buddha used the ‘jhana simile’ and in which discourses, the answer is two clicks away. Or how often did he talk about the different kinds of meditations. Which discourses were spoken to householders, renunciates and did they talk about brahmavihara or satipatthana or rebirth.

Or if I want to read up on the topic of kamma, which is a keyword with 85 quotations, I can read it directly in the app or export it to Word.

Hopefully in the near future I can continue with the Vinaya and the Khuddaka-EBTs. Big thanks for making the translations freely available. :pray:


Florian, this looks incredible. I would love to learn more about it, especially, how to get it!


Once I’m done proof-reading I’m happy to share the database. But the app is paid software. There is a fully funtional free version that is limited to 100 data entries. If you just want to get a feel for it I could provide a Dighanikaya-Version.

After proof-reading I will also prepare an Excel export, which makes some analyzing easier. But the Excel export will not contain the quotations.

Feel free to ask!


So can you give a link to where the app lives? Or something so I can have a poke around?

Good. We’re currently working on an i/o for bilara, so you can export the texts in csv, tsc, excel, or whatever format you like.


This is their website: Citavi - Reference Management and Knowledge Organization. I am in no way affiliated with them, just love using their app since college days.

I can prepare the Dighanikaya-database in the next 1-2 days if you like.


This is eerily similar to something I was doing, but gave up on. My idea involved crowdsourcing the tagging instead of doing it myself. This is my design document


That would be great; is the code shareable? Can I see it outside the app?

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An Excel file would be excellent. :slight_smile:
Citavi is Windows only, but Mac Users could import from Excel to EndNote, or produce RIS file in Endnote and from there to Zotero (which is free). Importing items from Excel? - Zotero Forums


Attached is the Dighanikaya test, not proofread yet. Within the zip.file you will also find the Excel export. The app allows for exports to EndNote etc.

Questions like “is the code shareable” go right over my head. From my perspective it seems the Venerable Sujato et al. are able to hack the pentagon mainframe in under 60 seconds, while I am comfortable navigating 3-4 apps.

This is a one-man project so there are shortcomings and errors. (4.1 MB)


That’s excellent, thanks. I can see what it is you’re doing here. And the Excel file is perfectly usable.

It’s definitely an interesting thing to explore. The problem with the suttas, of course, is that what seems easy for the DN gets hard for SN and AN, and nigh-impossible for Chinese texts. But even doing a part of the corpus can be useful.

Unfortunately, they have a limited range of materials on early Buddhism. :wink:


Yes, while DN was mostly reading that changed with SN and AN were it became mostly copy-and-paste.

Hi Florian,
I cant appreciate enough for undertaking this project.
As per the Citavi is concern, I too find it extremely useful and have just began to use it.
Please let us know once you have done proof-reading and ready to share.
Would be glad to be contribute in any way I can.
Thanks and regards,


Welcome to the Forum @humbleLearner. I hope you find more to interest you here. If you have any questions just ask, or send a personal message to one of the moderators. :slight_smile:

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