Using Software Heritage data#

This page documents the various ways Software Heritage provides programmatic access to data in the archive, and pointers to use them.

First, please familiarize yourself with:

  • the data model,

  • the content policy,

  • your local data protection legislation, and

  • if relevant, your employer’s/university’s guidelines regarding research data.

Data sources#

Software Heritage provides several ways to access the archive, with different tradeoffs suitable for different access patterns.


The REST API allows non-bulk read access to the whole archive, as well as requesting archival of specific repositories or forges, and downloading tarballs of individual repositories.

It is available anonymously, but we recommend authenticating in order to benefit from higher rate limits, and request access to beta features.

This API provides non-pseudonymized access to archive data; but some content may be taken down, or author names may be amended, according to the content policy.

Compressed graph#

swh-graph provides three APIs to perform large traversal on the graph of the archive – even in the opposite direction of the data model’s DAG.

It also has limited capabilities to read or filter on node/edge labels (ie. directory and file names, commit messages, …) and does not include file content.

For example, it allows getting a list of origins containing a specific file or directory.

The APIs are:

The latter two are currently not hosted publicly. However, you can run your own using the same data we have on your own computers, by downloading the “Compressed graph” files from the Software Heritage Graph Dataset.

Beware that this is resource-intensive, as the full dataset takes about 150GB of disk and RAM for each of the two graphs (forward and backward edges); and swapping severely affects its performance, which defeats the purpose of swh-graph.

Producing this dataset is computationally intensive, and is not yet automated; so it is currently published only once a year.

Author/committer name and email are pseudonymized.

Dataset export#

The Software Heritage Graph Dataset also includes a raw export of all of the archive’s database tables (as ORC files) and graph structure (as compressed CSV). It does not include file content.

As of 2022-12, the ORC dataset takes about 11TB on disk.

Producing this dataset is also not yet automated; so it is currently published only once a year.

Author/committer name and email are pseudonymized.

Contents on S3#

Finally, to complement the compressed graph and dataset export, we provide public access to file content via a S3 bucket, accessible at s3://softwareheritage/content/<sha1> and<sha1> where <sha1> is the hexadecimal representation of the content’s sha1 hash (not to be confused with sha1_git hash used in some places in the datasets and in SWHID).

Possible bias#

Statistical analyses on the archive may be biased by the way source code is collected by the archive. This section details the main ones to be aware of when performing research on the archive.

Code and configuration changes#

Software Heritage’s codebase evolves over time, and the archive adds support for new forges regularly. Major changes are documented in the archive changelog

Typically, this means that source code deleted from a given forge before Software Heritage started archiving that forge is missing – which may lead to code hosted in less popular places to be underrepresented in the archive.

Large objects#

Some source code repositories, such as Chromium’s and Linux’s git repositories and their clones, are particularly large. This is a challenge for loaders, which may fail to load them at a higher frequency than smaller repositories.

Software Heritage also does not archive any object larger than 300MB, as they are unlikely to be source code, and would put unreasonable load on the archive.

Non-code objects#

Software Heritage collects data indiscriminately from code hosting places. Sometimes, this includes repositories used to host non-code content and/or binary code.