rstWeb - Browser Annotation of Rhetorical Structure Theory

rstWeb is an open source, browser based annotation tool for discourse analyses in Rhetorical Structure Theory. It is meant to support collaborative, online annotation projects using just a web browser, without the need to install software for annotators.

New: Version 3 is now out, supporting discourse relation signal annotation! For more information, see our paper.

Do RST: Online — Collaborative — Browser Based!

For a server installation, rstWeb needs Python > 2.6.X for its backend (versions at least up to Python 3.6 have been extensively tested), which accesses a SQLite database. The client runs in JavaScript and only needs a browser. User management and configurations use Michael Foord's logintools, and the front end uses the excellent jsPlumb, jQuery and Font Awesome, all of which are packaged with rstWeb and require no installation. To take screenshots of analyses automatically, it is optionally possible to install Selenium and PhantomJS, which automate saving scaled screenshots that fit your analysis size at high quality. This project's source code is available from Github - feel free to fork, contribute, get in touch and let me know what you're working on.

rstWeb interface


New: Discourse relation signal annotation

Signal annotation
Highlighted warnings for annotation scheme violations

Warning highlighting

Licensing and availability

rstWeb is open source, freely available and comes with absolutely no warranty under the MIT License. You can always find the latest release on Github:


Online demo

You can try out rstWeb at Just use the demo login credentials supplied on the login page (note that saving your work does not work for the demo login).

Example documents

You can get a lot of good examples of RST annotations online from the RST Website. At Georgetown University we are also building a corpus that includes RST annotation: the GUM corpus. You can download the RST annotations for GUM here:

RST annotations


If you're using rstWeb for a project or article, please cite the following paper:


The rstWeb User Guide gives basic information on installing and using the software:

User Guide

If you have questions about installing or using the interface, please contact me. If you have feature requests or find bugs, please use the issue tracker on the Github repository.

© Amir Zeldes 2015-2022