Welcome to the first, what we hope would be monthly, summary of the DataLad project activities and development. September of 2014 was the first official month of the project for the US side (Yaroslav Halchenko at Dartmouth College) and we hope that German side (Michael Hanke at Magdeburg) will be cleared out to start in December 2014. Because of being the first month, it was heavily organizational (going through necessary paper works for the collaborators, deciding and obtaining quotes for some hardware) and bootstrapping for the upcoming development. Luckily this month coincided with my trip to Germany, where with Michael we taught PyMVPA course at Giessen. It gave us an ample opportunity to have productive few days discussing various aspects of the DataLad project, the most burning issue was to choose a ...

New project name

Originally we have called the project DataGit. And instead of staying ignorantly blessed of possible trademark issues with using Git in our project name, I have sent out an inquiry to the software freedom conservancy early in this year. Unfortunately whenever they reached back to us, we were denied use of Git as in DataGit name for our project. After considering few dozens of alternative names, gaining and then surrendering rights for another tentative name on GitHub, we have called our project DataLad. So now you can find us on twitter, GitHub, Google groups, etc. We hope you will get to like the name, and we will come up with a beautiful project logo soonish. Meanwhile enjoy a functional colorful qrcode you might find associated with DataLad on those pages.


With the original design (or actually the lack of such) of the DataLad crawl command, it is already capable of easily specifying (continuous) scraping of arbitrary websites to get their data fetched and committed to Git/Git-annex repository. Unfortunately such original code was more of a prototype to try hands-on and identify additional use-cases and possible implementation approaches. A new design sketch formalizes a viable approach on how to establish more flexible specification and design which could address majority of discovered use-cases. Further brainstorming and actual coding will be initiated soon to provide initial re-implementation. Meanwhile, DataLad on Github obtained integration with Travis-CI and coveralls.io -- apparently we are at 85% coverage of the codebase, not bad at all for starters. So you are welcome to submit pull requests without a fear of breaking our beautiful code.


A very important part of this project is also to identify cases of git-annex use specific to managing and sharing scientific data. We are happy to have git-annex author, Joey Hess, on board helping us to where possibly resolve then without creating workarounds in the DataLad land. One of the interesting use cases was to Facilitate space-efficient throw-away clones (GH#1) -- now if you clone git-annex repository within the same drive using git clone --shared on a modern file system, you can benefit from hard-linking of the key store content. We invite you to browse the other issues we have identified (such as "upgrade" operation for existing files) which might find a reasonable resolution at the git-annex level.

If you are looking for a real rich neuroimaging dataset to get your hands dirty and identify more of new use-cases you would like to get addressed, consider playing with or analyzing the http://www.studyforrest.org dataset on auditory perception.


OpenfMRI.org (PI: R. Poldrack, supported by NSF as well) is a great data resource collating data from a growing number of studies. It also works on unification of data layout across studies, and providing multiple ways to download the data (tarballs + plain files from AWS S3). We have been in touch with OpenfMRI folks helping to iron out detected by us glitches among provided files. Also another little issue we are yet to tackle is to efficiently invoke re-computation of ETags which would be great to have corresponding to files' md5sums.


XNAT is the most well established informatics platform in neuroimaging. It is behind https://db.humanconnectome.org, http://www.nitrc.org/ir and other portals, and that is why on our radar for this project. In a video-conference with XNAT developers I have presented a high-level design and goal behind DataLad project and we had initial discussion on possible ways to obtain desired for us data versioning (currently absent in XNAT) and access schemes. Further discussion will happen or be referenced at GH#2 issue. Related discussion is also on providing interface to Aspera client to facilitate efficient data download schemes with git-annex/DataLad.


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