Virtual directory tree of a nested DataLad dataset

The Handbook


This handbook is a living resource about why and – more importantly – how to use DataLad. It aims to provide novices and advanced users of all backgrounds with both the basics of DataLad and start-to-end use cases of specific applications. If you want to get hands-on experience and learn DataLad, the Basics part of this book will teach you. If you want to know what is possible, the use cases will show you. And if you want to help others to get started with DataLad, the companion repository provides free and open source teaching material tailored to the handbook.

Before you read on, please note that the handbook is based on DataLad version 0.12, but the section Installation and configuration will set you up with what you need if you currently do not have DataLad 0.12 or higher installed.

If you’re new here, please start the handbook here. Alternatively, try to identify with one of several user-types in this user specific guide to the handbook.


PLEASE NOTE: This is an archived version of the DataLad handbook If you would be willing to provide feedback on its contents, please corresponding to its 0.14 version (February 2021 - September 2021), which in turn was corresponding to the 0.13.x series of DataLad.

This handbook version is not a complete documentation of all functionality in DataLad 0.13, but the state the handbook was in at this time. Find the latest released version of the handbook at, and its most recent version (including general fixes, visual improvements, and additions of existing commands or workflows based on existing functionality) at The CHANGELOG summarizes the contents and additions that happened between Handbook versions.



Code lists from chapters