For Git and git-annex Users

DataLad is built atop of Git and git-annex, and if you are familiar with these tools, you should feel at home with DataLad too. DataLad aims to be a unifying top-level layer that makes working with Git and git-annex easier — without getting in the way of power-users.

DataLad's most unique feature, compared to Git and git-annex, is its ability to seamlessly work with an entire tree of nested repositories (i.e. Git submodules). This is best explained in a brief demo:

The following table helps to illustrate which features are contributed by which technology layer.

Feature Git git-annex DataLad
Version control (text, code)
Version control (binary data) (not advised)
Auto-crawling available resources   RSS feeds flexible
Unified dataset handling    
  • recursive operation on datasets
  • seamless operation across datasets boundaries
  • metadata support
  • metadata aggregation
Unified authentication interface