Getting started


Unless system packages are available for your operating system (see below), DataLad can be installed via pip (Pip Installs Python). To automatically install datalad and all its software dependencies type:

pip install datalad

In addition, it is necessary to have a current version of git-annex installed which is not set up automatically by using the pip method.

Advanced users can chose from several installation schemes (e.g. publish, metadata, tests or crawl):

pip install datalad[SCHEME]

where SCHEME could be

  • crawl to also install scrapy which is used in some crawling constructs
  • tests to also install dependencies used by unit-tests battery of the datalad
  • full to install all dependencies

(Neuro)Debian, Ubuntu, and similar systems

For Debian-based operating systems the most convenient installation method is to enable the NeuroDebian repository. The following command installs datalad and all its software dependencies (including the git-annex-standalone package):

sudo apt-get install datalad


A simple way to get things installed is the homebrew package manager, which in itself is fairly easy to install. Git-annex is installed by the command:

brew install git-annex

Once Git-annex is available, datalad can be installed via pip as described above. pip comes with Python distributions like anaconda.

First steps

DataLad can be queried for information about known datasets. Doing a first search query, datalad automatically offers assistence to obtain a superdataset first. The superdataset is a lightweight container that contains meta information about known datasets but does not contain actual data itself.

For example, we might want to look for dataset thats were funded by, or acknowledge the US National Science Foundation (NSF):

~ % datalad search NSF
No DataLad dataset found at current location
Would you like to install the DataLad superdataset at '~/datalad'? (choices: yes, no): yes
2016-10-24 09:13:32,414 [INFO   ] Installing dataset at ~/datalad from
From now on you can refer to this dataset using the label '///'
2016-10-24 09:13:39,072 [INFO   ] Performing search using DataLad superdataset '~/datalad'
2016-10-24 09:13:39,086 [INFO   ] Loading and caching local meta-data... might take a few seconds

Any known dataset can now be installed inside the local superdataset with a command like this:

datalad install ~/datalad/openfmri/ds000002