Data management#

A challenging aspect of tutorial development is how to manage dataset dependencies. Ideally, the data you use will be publicly accessible and permanent for reproducibility.


Remember, a hackweek tutorial is learning-oriented and should guide participants through a step-wise process with a meaningful outcome.

If you typically work with large datasets, consider designing your tutorial to work with a small subset (~10 MB) to achieve your learning objectives. Below are some general guidelines based on past hackweeks:

Make your tutorial data publicly accessible!#

My data is small (<10MB)#

If your tutorial just needs a small image, or tabular data like a .csv file, go ahead and add it to the repository along with your tutorial code.

My data is moderate (10 - 100 MB)#

You can create a separatel repository on GitHub to publicly host your tutorial dataset. Per GitHub repository limits, individual files are required to be < 100 MB. Here is an example for images, and here is an example for n-dimensional arrays.


If using a subset be sure to capture data provenance, for example by including a script that you used to access the original full-sized dataset from the data provider.

My data is cumbersome (>100 MB)#

Increasingly there are ways to load remote data in a streaming fashion, which allows you to avoid download and storage! At a basic level, software can read URLs instead of local file paths, such as at the beginning of this tutorial.


If your tutorial streams data directly from a data provider, check that scheduled server downtime for maintenance isn’t planned during your presentation! Also, be aware that URLs can be changed at any time by the data provider.

Data permanence#

If you want long-term hosting of a tutorial dataset that receives a citable Digital Object Identifier (DOI), you can use

  1. Link your GitHub repository with data Zenodo *subject to GitHub repository size limits

  2. Use Zenodo directly *50 GB standard limit

Here is an example tutorial that retrieves a dataset from a Zenodo ‘record’

Computational resource considerations#

In order for tutorial notebooks to be executable on different machines, we recommend targeting limited computational requirements such as 2-core CPU, 8 GB of RAM memory, 10 GB of disk space (at the time of writing)