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datalab is command-line Python client for the NOAO Data Lab.

It provides easy access to Data Lab functionalities:

  1. remote storage (VOSpace)
  2. (a)synchronous data queries (TAP)
  3. job management

Authentication to Data Lab is based on a username and password.

System requirements

  • A Data Lab account
  • Python 3.x (Python 3.8 recommended; We are no longer supporting Python 2)
  • fuse or OSX-FUSE (if you want to mount the remote storage as a local filesystem)


The noaodatalab package installs the datalab command line client, and some Data Lab Python libraries that allow you to use Data Lab functionality locally on your computer (for instance in Ipython etc.)

Install via pip

The easiest way to install the datalab client is via pip:

pip install --ignore-installed --no-cache-dir noaodatalab

The flags --ignore-installed and --no-cache-dir should ensure that the lastest version is pulled freshly from the internet.

Install from sources

You can also install the datalab client from source on GitHub:

git clone
cd datalab
python install

If you want it installed in your private Python repository (because you maintain multiple Python instances on your machine) then do:

python install --user

Finally, if you intend to mount the virtual storage as a local filesystem, you will need to touch a file in your home directory:

touch ~/.netrc


datalab command line client

To check the currently installed version of datalab:

datalab --version

Task Version:  2.18.3

To get a list of available datalab commands (tasks):

datalab help


    % datalab <task> [task_options]

where <task> is one of:

                 cp - copy a file in Data Lab
             dropdb - Drop a user MyDB table
                get - get a file from Data Lab
             listdb - List the user MyDB tables
                 ln - link a file in Data Lab
              login - Login to the Data Lab
             logout - Logout of the Data Lab
                 ls - list a location in Data Lab
              mkdir - create a directory in Data Lab
                 mv - move a file in Data Lab
          mydb_copy - Rename a user MyDB table
        mydb_create - Create a user MyDB table
          mydb_drop - Drop a user MyDB table
        mydb_import - Import data into a user MyDB table
         mydb_index - Index data in a MyDB table
        mydb_insert - Insert data into a user MyDB table
          mydb_list - List the user MyDB tables
        mydb_rename - Rename a user MyDB table
      mydb_truncate - Truncate a user MyDB table
           profiles - List the available Query Manager profiles
                put - Put a file into Data Lab
           qresults - Get the async query results
            qstatus - Get an async query job status
              query - Query a remote data service in the Data Lab
                 rm - delete a file in Data Lab
              rmdir - delete a directory in Data Lab
             schema - Print data service schema info
           services - Print available data services
             status - Report on the user status
           svc_urls - Print service URLs in use
                tag - tag a file in Data Lab
            version - Print task version
             whoami - Print the current active user

You can get summaries of the arguments to a task with the help option:

datalab login help

The 'login' task takes the following parameters:

          user - Username of account in Data Lab [required]
      password - Password for account in Data Lab [required]
         mount - Mountpoint of remote Virtual Storage [optional]
       verbose - print verbose level log messages [optional]
         debug - print debug log level messages [optional]
       warning - print warning level log messages [optional]

The datalab command will prompt you for required arguments if you do not provide them on the command line, e.g.:

datalab login

user (default: None): foousername
password (default: None): foouserpassword
Welcome to the Data Lab, foousername

Documentation for the datalab commands can be also found in the docs/ directory:

dl Data Lab Python module

Once the client is installed, some Data Lab Python modules can be imported and used in your Python programs locally, e.g.

In [1]: from dl import queryClient as qc
In [2]: result = qc.query(sql='SELECT ra,dec from smash_dr1.object LIMIT 10')
In [3]: print(result)

A very comprehensive user manual explains the many features of Data Lab.

To mount virtual storage as a local directory at login

You can mount the virtual storage as a local directory at login by using the optional mount argument.

datalab login --user=<user> --password=<password> --mount=/tmp/vospace

This will attempt to mount the default virtual storage (at NOAO). If you need to mount another one, you should use the datalab mount option.

To mount virtual storage as a local directory once logged in

datalab mount
vospace (default: vos:):
mount (default: /tmp/vospace):

To unmount virtual storage

You can either use a regular Unix command:

umount /tmp/vospace

or unmount the space when you log out of Data Lab:

datalab logout --unmount=/tmp/vospace


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