Introduction to the Data Catalog

In a Kedro project, the Data Catalog is a registry of all data sources available for use by the project. It is specified with a YAML catalog file that maps the names of node inputs and outputs as keys in the DataCatalog class.

This page introduces the basic sections of catalog.yml, which is the file used to register data sources for a Kedro project.

The basics of catalog.yml

A separate page of Data Catalog YAML examples gives further examples of how to work with catalog.yml, but here we revisit the basic catalog.yml introduced by the spaceflights tutorial.

The example below registers two csv datasets, and an xlsx dataset. The minimum details needed to load and save a file within a local file system are the key, which is name of the dataset, the type of data to indicate the dataset to use (type) and the file’s location (filepath).

  type: pandas.CSVDataSet
  filepath: data/01_raw/companies.csv

  type: pandas.CSVDataSet
  filepath: data/01_raw/reviews.csv

  type: pandas.ExcelDataSet
  filepath: data/01_raw/shuttles.xlsx
    engine: openpyxl # Use modern Excel engine (the default since Kedro 0.18.0)

Dataset type

Kedro offers a range of datasets, including CSV, Excel, Parquet, Feather, HDF5, JSON, Pickle, SQL Tables, SQL Queries, Spark DataFrames and more. They are supported with the APIs of pandas, spark, networkx, matplotlib, yaml and more.

The kedro-datasets package documentation contains a comprehensive list of all available file types.

Dataset filepath

Kedro relies on fsspec to read and save data from a variety of data stores including local file systems, network file systems, cloud object stores, and Hadoop. When specifying a storage location in filepath:, you should provide a URL using the general form protocol://path/to/data. If no protocol is provided, the local file system is assumed (which is the same as file://).

The following prepends are available:

  • Local or Network File System: file:// - the local file system is default in the absence of any protocol, it also permits relative paths.

  • Hadoop File System (HDFS): hdfs://user@server:port/path/to/data - Hadoop Distributed File System, for resilient, replicated files within a cluster.

  • Amazon S3: s3://my-bucket-name/path/to/data - Amazon S3 remote binary store, often used with Amazon EC2, using the library s3fs.

  • S3 Compatible Storage: s3://my-bucket-name/path/_to/data - e.g. Minio, using the s3fs library.

  • Google Cloud Storage: gcs:// - Google Cloud Storage, typically used with Google Compute resource using gcsfs (in development).

  • Azure Blob Storage / Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2: abfs:// - Azure Blob Storage, typically used when working on an Azure environment.

  • HTTP(s): http:// or https:// for reading data directly from HTTP web servers.

fsspec also provides other file systems, such as SSH, FTP and WebHDFS. See the fsspec documentation for more information.

Additional settings in catalog.yml

This section explains the additional settings available within catalog.yml.

Load and save arguments

The Kedro Data Catalog also accepts two different groups of *_args parameters that serve different purposes:

  • load_args and save_args: Configures how a third-party library loads/saves data from/to a file. In the spaceflights example above, load_args, is passed to the excel file read method (pd.read_excel) as a keyword argument. Although not specified here, the equivalent output is save_args and the value would be passed to pd.DataFrame.to_excel method.

For example, to load or save a CSV on a local file system, using specified load/save arguments:

  type: pandas.CSVDataSet
  filepath: data/01_raw/company/cars.csv
    sep: ','
    index: False
    date_format: '%Y-%m-%d %H:%M'
    decimal: .
  • fs_args: Configures the interaction with a filesystem. All the top-level parameters of fs_args (except open_args_load and open_args_save) will be passed to an underlying filesystem class.

For example, to provide the project value to the underlying filesystem class (GCSFileSystem) to interact with Google Cloud Storage:

  type: ...
    project: test_project

The open_args_load and open_args_save parameters are passed to the filesystem’s open method to configure how a dataset file (on a specific filesystem) is opened during a load or save operation, respectively.

For example, to load data from a local binary file using utf-8 encoding:

  type: ...
      mode: "rb"
      encoding: "utf-8"

Dataset access credentials

The Data Catalog also works with the credentials.yml file in conf/local/, allowing you to specify usernames and passwords required to load certain datasets.

Before instantiating the DataCatalog, Kedro will first attempt to read the credentials from the project configuration. The resulting dictionary is then passed into DataCatalog.from_config() as the credentials argument.

Let’s assume that the project contains the file conf/local/credentials.yml with the following contents:

    aws_access_key_id: key
    aws_secret_access_key: secret

and the Data Catalog is specified in catalog.yml as follows:

  type: pandas.CSVDataSet
  filepath: s3://your_bucket/data/02_intermediate/company/motorbikes.csv
  credentials: dev_s3
    sep: ','

In the example above, the catalog.yml file contains references to credentials keys dev_s3. The Data Catalog first reads dev_s3 from the received credentials dictionary, and then passes its values into the dataset as a credentials argument to __init__.

Dataset versioning

Kedro enables dataset and ML model versioning through the versioned definition. For example:

  type: pandas.CSVDataSet
  filepath: data/01_raw/company/cars.csv
  versioned: True

In this example, filepath is used as the basis of a folder that stores versions of the cars dataset. Each time a new version is created by a pipeline run it is stored within data/01_raw/company/cars.csv/<version>/cars.csv, where <version> corresponds to a version string formatted as

By default, kedro run loads the latest version of the dataset. However, you can also specify a particular versioned data set with --load-version flag as follows:

kedro run

where --load-version is dataset name and version timestamp separated by :.

A dataset offers versioning support if it extends the AbstractVersionedDataset class to accept a version keyword argument as part of the constructor and adapt the _save and _load method to use the versioned data path obtained from _get_save_path and _get_load_path respectively.

To verify whether a dataset can undergo versioning, you should examine the dataset class code to inspect its inheritance (you can find contributed datasets within the kedro-datasets repository). Check if the dataset class inherits from the AbstractVersionedDataset. For instance, if you encounter a class like CSVDataSet(AbstractVersionedDataset[pd.DataFrame, pd.DataFrame]), this indicates that the dataset is set up to support versioning.


Note that HTTP(S) is a supported file system in the dataset implementations, but if you it, you can’t also use versioning.

Use the Data Catalog within Kedro configuration

Kedro configuration enables you to organise your project for different stages of your data pipeline. For example, you might need different Data Catalog settings for development, testing, and production environments.

By default, Kedro has a base and a local folder for configuration. The Data Catalog configuration is loaded using a configuration loader class which recursively scans for configuration files inside the conf folder, firstly in conf/base and then in conf/local (which is the designated overriding environment). Kedro merges the configuration information and returns a configuration dictionary according to rules set out in the configuration documentation.

In summary, if you need to configure your datasets for different environments, you can create both conf/base/catalog.yml and conf/local/catalog.yml. For instance, you can use the catalog.yml file in conf/base/ to register the locations of datasets that would run in production, while adding a second version of catalog.yml in conf/local/ to register the locations of sample datasets while you are using them for prototyping data pipeline(s).

To illustrate this, consider the following catalog entry for a dataset named cars in conf/base/catalog.yml, which points to a csv file stored in a bucket on AWS S3:

  filepath: s3://my_bucket/cars.csv
  type: pandas.CSVDataSet

You can overwrite this catalog entry in conf/local/catalog.yml to point to a locally stored file instead:

  filepath: data/01_raw/cars.csv
  type: pandas.CSVDataSet

In your pipeline code, when the cars dataset is used, it will use the overwritten catalog entry from conf/local/catalog.yml and rely on Kedro to detect which definition of cars dataset to use in your pipeline.