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Source Datasets: original
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Cannot load the dataset split (in streaming mode) to extract the first rows.
Error code:   StreamingRowsError
Exception:    JSONDecodeError
Message:      Expecting value: line 1 column 1 (char 0)
Traceback:    Traceback (most recent call last):
                File "/src/workers/datasets_based/src/datasets_based/workers/", line 485, in compute_first_rows_response
                  rows = get_rows(
                File "/src/workers/datasets_based/src/datasets_based/workers/", line 120, in decorator
                  return func(*args, **kwargs)
                File "/src/workers/datasets_based/src/datasets_based/workers/", line 176, in get_rows
                  rows_plus_one = list(itertools.islice(ds, rows_max_number + 1))
                File "/src/workers/datasets_based/.venv/lib/python3.9/site-packages/datasets/", line 846, in __iter__
                  for key, example in self._iter():
                File "/src/workers/datasets_based/.venv/lib/python3.9/site-packages/datasets/", line 788, in _iter
                  yield from ex_iterable
                File "/src/workers/datasets_based/.venv/lib/python3.9/site-packages/datasets/", line 113, in __iter__
                  yield from self.generate_examples_fn(**self.kwargs)
                File "/tmp/modules-cache/datasets_modules/datasets/GEM--xlsum/eb0c1bd988fe61962620fe73722ebc91e0fd5729b4c8acbf3e3b3c50f8b22a96/", line 161, in _generate_examples
                  data = json.loads(row)
                File "/usr/local/lib/python3.9/json/", line 346, in loads
                  return _default_decoder.decode(s)
                File "/usr/local/lib/python3.9/json/", line 337, in decode
                  obj, end = self.raw_decode(s, idx=_w(s, 0).end())
                File "/usr/local/lib/python3.9/json/", line 355, in raw_decode
                  raise JSONDecodeError("Expecting value", s, err.value) from None
              json.decoder.JSONDecodeError: Expecting value: line 1 column 1 (char 0)

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Dataset Card for GEM/xlsum

Link to Main Data Card

You can find the main data card on the GEM Website.

Dataset Summary

XLSum is a highly multilingual summarization dataset supporting 44 language. The data stems from BBC news articles.

You can load the dataset via:

import datasets
data = datasets.load_dataset('GEM/xlsum')

The data loader can be found here.




ACL Anthology

Dataset Overview

Where to find the Data and its Documentation






ACL Anthology


    title = "{XL}-Sum: Large-Scale Multilingual Abstractive Summarization for 44 Languages",
    author = "Hasan, Tahmid  and
      Bhattacharjee, Abhik  and
      Islam, Md. Saiful  and
      Mubasshir, Kazi  and
      Li, Yuan-Fang  and
      Kang, Yong-Bin  and
      Rahman, M. Sohel  and
      Shahriyar, Rifat",
    booktitle = "Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021",
    month = aug,
    year = "2021",
    address = "Online",
    publisher = "Association for Computational Linguistics",
    url = "",
    pages = "4693--4703",

Contact Name

Tahmid Hasan

Contact Email

Has a Leaderboard?


Leaderboard Link


Leaderboard Details

The leaderboard ranks models based on ROUGE scores (R1/R2/RL) of the generated summaries.

Languages and Intended Use



Covered Languages

Amharic, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Bangla, Burmese, Chinese (family), English, French, Gujarati, Hausa, Hindi, Igbo, Indonesian, Japanese, Rundi, Korean, Kirghiz, Kyrgyz, Marathi, Nepali (individual language), Oromo, Pushto, Pashto, Persian, Ghanaian Pidgin English, Portuguese, Panjabi, Punjabi, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Gaelic, Serbian, Romano-Serbian, Sinhala, Sinhalese, Somali, Spanish, Castilian, Swahili (individual language), Kiswahili, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Tigrinya, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yoruba


cc-by-nc-sa-4.0: Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International

Intended Use

Abstractive summarization has centered around the English language, as most large abstractive summarization datasets are available in English only. Though there have been some recent efforts for curating multilingual abstractive summarization datasets, they are limited in terms of the number of languages covered, the number of training samples, or both. To this end, XL-Sum presents a large-scale abstractive summarization dataset of 1.35 million news articles from 45 languages crawled from the British Broadcasting Corporation website. It is intended to be used for both multilingual and per-language summarization tasks.

Primary Task


Communicative Goal

Summarize news-like text in one of 45 languages.


Curation Organization Type(s)


Curation Organization(s)

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology

Who added the Dataset to GEM?

Tahmid Hasan (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology), Abhik Bhattacharjee (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology)

Dataset Structure

Data Fields

  • gem_id: A string representing the article ID.
  • url: A string representing the article URL.
  • title: A string containing the article title.
  • summary: A string containing the article summary.
  • text : A string containing the article text.

Example Instance

    "gem_id": "GEM-xlsum_english-train-1589",
    "url": "[BBC news](",
    "title": "Yahoo files e-book advert system patent applications",
    "summary": "Yahoo has signalled it is investigating e-book adverts as a way to stimulate its earnings.",
    "text": "Yahoo's patents suggest users could weigh the type of ads against the sizes of discount before purchase. It says in two US patent applications that ads for digital book readers have been \"less than optimal\" to date. The filings suggest that users could be offered titles at a variety of prices depending on the ads' prominence They add that the products shown could be determined by the type of book being read, or even the contents of a specific chapter, phrase or word. The paperwork was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office late last week and relates to work carried out at the firm's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. \"Greater levels of advertising, which may be more valuable to an advertiser and potentially more distracting to an e-book reader, may warrant higher discounts,\" it states. Free books It suggests users could be offered ads as hyperlinks based within the book's text, in-laid text or even \"dynamic content\" such as video. Another idea suggests boxes at the bottom of a page could trail later chapters or quotes saying \"brought to you by Company A\". It adds that the more willing the customer is to see the ads, the greater the potential discount. \"Higher frequencies... may even be great enough to allow the e-book to be obtained for free,\" it states. The authors write that the type of ad could influence the value of the discount, with \"lower class advertising... such as teeth whitener advertisements\" offering a cheaper price than \"high\" or \"middle class\" adverts, for things like pizza. The inventors also suggest that ads could be linked to the mood or emotional state the reader is in as a they progress through a title. For example, they say if characters fall in love or show affection during a chapter, then ads for flowers or entertainment could be triggered. The patents also suggest this could applied to children's books - giving the Tom Hanks animated film Polar Express as an example. It says a scene showing a waiter giving the protagonists hot drinks \"may be an excellent opportunity to show an advertisement for hot cocoa, or a branded chocolate bar\". Another example states: \"If the setting includes young characters, a Coke advertisement could be provided, inviting the reader to enjoy a glass of Coke with his book, and providing a graphic of a cool glass.\" It adds that such targeting could be further enhanced by taking account of previous titles the owner has bought. 'Advertising-free zone' At present, several Amazon and Kobo e-book readers offer full-screen adverts when the device is switched off and show smaller ads on their menu screens, but the main text of the titles remains free of marketing. Yahoo does not currently provide ads to these devices, and a move into the area could boost its shrinking revenues. However, Philip Jones, deputy editor of the Bookseller magazine, said that the internet firm might struggle to get some of its ideas adopted. \"This has been mooted before and was fairly well decried,\" he said. \"Perhaps in a limited context it could work if the merchandise was strongly related to the title and was kept away from the text. \"But readers - particularly parents - like the fact that reading is an advertising-free zone. Authors would also want something to say about ads interrupting their narrative flow.\""

Data Splits

The splits in the dataset are specified by the language names, which are as follows:

  • amharic
  • arabic
  • azerbaijani
  • bengali
  • burmese
  • chinese_simplified
  • chinese_traditional
  • english
  • french
  • gujarati
  • hausa
  • hindi
  • igbo
  • indonesian
  • japanese
  • kirundi
  • korean
  • kyrgyz
  • marathi
  • nepali
  • oromo
  • pashto
  • persian
  • pidgin
  • portuguese
  • punjabi
  • russian
  • scottish_gaelic
  • serbian_cyrillic
  • serbian_latin
  • sinhala
  • somali
  • spanish
  • swahili
  • tamil
  • telugu
  • thai
  • tigrinya
  • turkish
  • ukrainian
  • urdu
  • uzbek
  • vietnamese
  • welsh
  • yoruba

Splitting Criteria

We used a 80%-10%-10% split for all languages with a few exceptions. English was split 93%-3.5%-3.5% for the evaluation set size to resemble that of CNN/DM and XSum; Scottish Gaelic, Kyrgyz and Sinhala had relatively fewer samples, their evaluation sets were increased to 500 samples for more reliable evaluation. Same articles were used for evaluation in the two variants of Chinese and Serbian to prevent data leakage in multilingual training. Individual dataset download links with train-dev-test example counts are given below:

Language ISO 639-1 Code BBC subdomain(s) Train Dev Test Total
Amharic am BBC amharic 5761 719 719 7199
Arabic ar BBC arabic 37519 4689 4689 46897
Azerbaijani az BBC azeri 6478 809 809 8096
Bengali bn BBC bengali 8102 1012 1012 10126
Burmese my BBC burmese 4569 570 570 5709
Chinese (Simplified) zh-CN BBC ukchina/simp, BBC zhongwen/simp 37362 4670 4670 46702
Chinese (Traditional) zh-TW BBC ukchina/trad, BBC zhongwen/trad 37373 4670 4670 46713
English en BBC english, BBC sinhala * 306522 11535 11535 329592
French fr BBC afrique 8697 1086 1086 10869
Gujarati gu BBC gujarati 9119 1139 1139 11397
Hausa ha BBC hausa 6418 802 802 8022
Hindi hi BBC hindi 70778 8847 8847 88472
Igbo ig BBC igbo 4183 522 522 5227
Indonesian id BBC indonesia 38242 4780 4780 47802
Japanese ja BBC japanese 7113 889 889 8891
Kirundi rn BBC gahuza 5746 718 718 7182
Korean ko BBC korean 4407 550 550 5507
Kyrgyz ky BBC kyrgyz 2266 500 500 3266
Marathi mr BBC marathi 10903 1362 1362 13627
Nepali np BBC nepali 5808 725 725 7258
Oromo om BBC afaanoromoo 6063 757 757 7577
Pashto ps BBC pashto 14353 1794 1794 17941
Persian fa BBC persian 47251 5906 5906 59063
Pidgin** pcm BBC pidgin 9208 1151 1151 11510
Portuguese pt BBC portuguese 57402 7175 7175 71752
Punjabi pa BBC punjabi 8215 1026 1026 10267
Russian ru BBC russian, BBC ukrainian * 62243 7780 7780 77803
Scottish Gaelic gd BBC naidheachdan 1313 500 500 2313
Serbian (Cyrillic) sr BBC serbian/cyr 7275 909 909 9093
Serbian (Latin) sr BBC serbian/lat 7276 909 909 9094
Sinhala si BBC sinhala 3249 500 500 4249
Somali so BBC somali 5962 745 745 7452
Spanish es BBC mundo 38110 4763 4763 47636
Swahili sw BBC swahili 7898 987 987 9872
Tamil ta BBC tamil 16222 2027 2027 20276
Telugu te BBC telugu 10421 1302 1302 13025
Thai th BBC thai 6616 826 826 8268
Tigrinya ti BBC tigrinya 5451 681 681 6813
Turkish tr BBC turkce 27176 3397 3397 33970
Ukrainian uk BBC ukrainian 43201 5399 5399 53999
Urdu ur BBC urdu 67665 8458 8458 84581
Uzbek uz BBC uzbek 4728 590 590 5908
Vietnamese vi BBC vietnamese 32111 4013 4013 40137
Welsh cy BBC cymrufyw 9732 1216 1216 12164
Yoruba yo BBC yoruba 6350 793 793 7936

* A lot of articles in BBC Sinhala and BBC Ukrainian were written in English and Russian respectively. They were identified using Fasttext and moved accordingly. ** West African Pidgin English

Dataset in GEM

Rationale for Inclusion in GEM

Why is the Dataset in GEM?

Traditional abstractive text summarization has been centered around English and other high-resource languages. XL-Sum provides a large collection of high-quality article-summary pairs for 45 languages where the languages range from high-resource to extremely low-resource. This enables the research community to explore the summarization capabilities of different models for multiple languages and languages in isolation. We believe the addition of XL-Sum to GEM makes the domain of abstractive text summarization more diversified and inclusive to the research community. We hope our efforts in this work will encourage the community to push the boundaries of abstractive text summarization beyond the English language, especially for low and mid-resource languages, bringing technological advances to communities of these languages that have been traditionally under-served.

Similar Datasets


Unique Language Coverage


Difference from other GEM datasets

The summaries are highly concise and abstractive.

Ability that the Dataset measures

Conciseness, abstractiveness, and overall summarization capability.

GEM-Specific Curation

Modificatied for GEM?


Additional Splits?


Getting Started with the Task

Previous Results

Previous Results

Measured Model Abilities

Conciseness, abstractiveness, and overall summarization capability.



Proposed Evaluation

ROUGE is the de facto evaluation metric used for text summarization. However, it was designed specifically for evaluating English texts. Due to the nature of the metric, scores are heavily dependent on text tokenization / stemming / unnecessary character removal, etc. Some modifications to the original ROUGE evaluation were done such as punctuation only removal, language specific tokenization/stemming to enable reliable comparison of source and target summaries across different scripts.

Previous results available?


Dataset Curation

Original Curation

Original Curation Rationale

State-of-the-art text summarization models are heavily data-driven, i.e., a large number of article-summary pairs are required to train them effectively. As a result, abstractive summarization has centered around the English language, as most large abstractive summarization datasets are available in English only. Though there have been some recent efforts for curating multilingual abstractive summarization datasets, they are limited in terms of the number of languages covered, the number of training samples, or both. To this end, we curate XL-Sum, a large-scale abstractive summarization dataset of 1.35 million news articles from 45 languages crawled from the British Broadcasting Corporation website.

Communicative Goal

Introduce new languages in the english-centric domain of abstractive text summarization and enable both multilingual and per-language summarization.

Sourced from Different Sources


Source Details

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) news websites.

Language Data

How was Language Data Obtained?


Where was it found?

Multiple websites

Language Producers

The language content was written by professional news editors hired by BBC.

Topics Covered


Data Validation

not validated

Data Preprocessing

We used 'NFKC' normalization on all text instances.

Was Data Filtered?


Filter Criteria

We designed a crawler to recursively crawl pages starting from the homepage by visiting different article links present in each page visited. We were able to take advantage of the fact that all BBC sites have somewhat similar structures, and were able to scrape articles from all sites. We discarded pages with no textual contents (mostly pages consisting of multimedia contents) before further processing. We designed a number of heuristics to make the extraction effective by carefully examining the HTML structures of the crawled pages:

  1. The desired summary must be present within the beginning two paragraphs of an article.
  2. The summary paragraph must have some portion of texts in bold format.
  3. The summary paragraph may contain some hyperlinks that may not be bold. The proportion of bold texts and hyperlinked texts to the total length of the paragraph in consideration must be at least 95%.
  4. All texts except the summary and the headline must be included in the input text (including image captions).
  5. The input text must be at least twice as large as the summary.

Structured Annotations

Additional Annotations?


Annotation Service?



Any Consent Policy?


Consent Policy Details

BBC's policy specifies that the text content within its websites can be used for non-commercial research only.

Private Identifying Information (PII)

Contains PII?


Categories of PII

generic PII

Any PII Identification?

no identification


Any Maintenance Plan?


Broader Social Context

Previous Work on the Social Impact of the Dataset

Usage of Models based on the Data


Impact on Under-Served Communities

Addresses needs of underserved Communities?


Details on how Dataset Addresses the Needs

This dataset introduces summarization corpus for many languages where there weren't any datasets like this curated before.

Discussion of Biases

Any Documented Social Biases?


Are the Language Producers Representative of the Language?


Considerations for Using the Data

PII Risks and Liability


Copyright Restrictions on the Dataset

research use only, non-commercial use only

Copyright Restrictions on the Language Data

research use only, non-commercial use only

Known Technical Limitations

Technical Limitations

Human evaluation showed most languages had a high percentage of good summaries in the upper nineties, almost none of the summaries contained any conflicting information, while about one-third on average had information that was not directly inferrable from the source article. Since generally multiple articles are written regarding an important event, there could be an overlap between the training and evaluation data in terms on content.

Unsuited Applications

The dataset is limited to news domain only. Hence it wouldn't be advisable to use a model trained on this dataset for summarizing texts from a different domain i.e. literature, scientific text etc. Another pitfall could be hallucinations in the model generated summary.

Discouraged Use Cases

ROUGE evaluates the quality of the summary as a whole by considering up to 4-gram overlaps. Therefore, in an article about India if the word "India" in the generated summary gets replaced by "Pakistan" due to model hallucination, the overall score wouldn't be reduced significantly, but the entire meaning could get changed.

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