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Maintaining a node

Once your Neurobagel node is running and configured correctly, there are some recurring tasks you may have to do to keep it operating correctly.

Updating the Neurobagel services

Updating the Neurobagel Docker images

We are continuously improving Neurobagel tools and services, so you may want to update your Neurobagel node to the latest version to benefit from new features and bug fixes. We always publish our tools as Docker images on Dockerhub.

Each Docker image has a version tag, and also two rolling tags:

  • latest (the latest stable release). This is the default tag used in the Neurobagel docker-compose.yml file.
  • nightly (the latest build from the main branch). This tag is only used for compatibility testing and should not be used in production.

You can pull the most recent docker images for Neurobagel tools by running:

docker compose --profile full_stack pull

docker compose will only pull the images that are used by the current deployment profile.

If you don't specify a deployment profile, the default profile (local_node) will be used, which only pulls the images for the API, and graph store.

See the deployment profiles section for more information on the available profiles.

Restarting services after an update

Whether you have updated the Docker images, the configuration, or the data of your Neurobagel node, you will need to restart the services to apply the changes.

Restarting the graph backend after an update can introduce problems

If you have updated the data model or the data in your graph, you should not restart the graph backend services without first updating the data in the graph.

This is a current limitation of the deployment profile and we are working to resolve it.

In the meantime, here is how you can restart and update the services in your Neurobagel node without affecting the graph backend:

docker compose down api query_federation federation
docker compose pull && docker compose up -d

To shut down a running Neurobagel node, navigate to the path on your file system where you have stored the docker-compose.yml file from the initial setup and run:

docker compose --profile full_stack down

Then, to start the services again:

docker compose --profile full_stack up -d

Specify the deployment profile

Whenever you use docker compose commands, you also have to specify the deployment profile you want to use with the -p or --profile flag. If you forget this step, docker compose will use the default profile (local_node), and will only shut down, update, or start the services for that profile.

Updating the data in your graph

If you have followed the initial setup and have deployed your Neurobagel node from our Docker Compose recipe, your node now has a dedicated graph database that stores the datasets for your node. By default, the graph database will only contain an example dataset called BIDS synthetic.

Replacing the existing data in your graph database with your own data (or updated data) is a straightforward process. Once you have generated or updated the JSONLD files you want to upload, the process to update the data in your graph is:

  1. Shut down the Neurobagel node

    docker compose --profile full_stack down

(or, replace full_stack with the profile you are using)

  1. Update the data files in the directory specified by the LOCAL_GRAPH_DATA environment variable, or simply change the path to a directory containing your JSONLD files.
  2. Restart the Neurobagel node

    docker compose --profile full_stack up -d

Here are some other common scenarios where you might need to update the data in your graph:

Following a change in my dataset

When using Neurobagel tools on a dataset that is still undergoing data collection, you may need to update the Neurobagel annotations and/or graph-ready data for the dataset when you want to add new subjects or measurements or to correct mistakes in prior data versions.

For any of the below types of changes, you will need to regenerate a graph-ready .jsonld file for the dataset which reflects the change.

If the phenotypic (tabular) data have changed

If new variables have been added to the dataset such that there are new columns in the phenotypic TSV you previously annotated using Neurobagel's annotation tool, you will need to:

  1. Generate an updated data dictionary by annotating the new variables in your TSV following the annotation workflow

  2. Generate a new graph-ready data file for the dataset by re-running the CLI on your updated TSV and data dictionary

If only the imaging data have changed

If the BIDS data for a dataset have changed without changes in the corresponding phenotypic TSV (e.g., if new modalities or scans have been acquired for a subject), you have two options:

  • If you still have access to the dataset's phenotypic JSONLD generated from the pheno command of the bagel-cli (step 1), you may choose to rerun only the bids CLI command on the updated BIDS directory. This will generate a new graph-ready data file with updated imaging metadata of subjects.


When in doubt, rerun both CLI commands.

If only the subjects have changed

If subjects have been added to or removed from the dataset but the phenotypic TSV is otherwise unchanged (i.e., only new or removed rows, without changes to the available variables), you will need to:

  • Generate a new graph-ready data file for the dataset by re-running the CLI (pheno and bids steps) on your updated TSV and existing data dictionary

Following a change in the Neurobagel data model

As Neurobagel continues developing the data model, new tool releases may introduce breaking changes to the data model for subject-level information in a .jsonld graph data file. Breaking changes will be highlighted in the release notes.

If you have already created .jsonld files for a Neurobagel graph database but want to update your graph data to the latest Neurobagel data model following such a change, you can easily do so by rerunning the CLI on the existing data dictionaries and phenotypic TSVs for the dataset(s) in the graph. This will ensure that if you use the latest version of the Neurobagel CLI to process new datasets (i.e., generate new .jsonld files) for your database, the resulting data will not have conflicts with existing data in the graph.

Note that if upgrading to a newer version of the data model, you should regenerate the .jsonld files for all datasets in your existing graph.

Updating the graph database

To allow easy (re-)uploading of the updated .jsonld for your dataset(s) to a graph database, make a copy of it in a central directory on your research data fileserver for storing local Neurobagel jsonld datasets. Then, follow the steps for uploading/updating a dataset in the graph database (needs to be completed by user with database write access).

Updating your graph backend configuration

Updating existing database user permissions

If you want to change database access permissions (e.g., adding or removing access to a database) for an existing user in your GraphDB instance, you must do so manually.

Of note, in GraphDB, there is no straightforward REST API call to update a user's database access permissions without replacing the list of their existing database permissions ("grantedAuthorities") entirely.


You can verify a user's settings at any time with the following:

curl -u "admin:NewAdminPassword" http://localhost:7200/rest/security/users/DBUSER

Example: if user DBUSER was granted read/write access to database my_db1 with the following command (this command is run by default as part of

curl -X PUT --header 'Content-Type: application/json' -d '
{"grantedAuthorities": ["WRITE_REPO_my_db","READ_REPO_my_db"]}' http://localhost:7200/rest/security/users/DBUSER -u "admin:NewAdminPassword"

To grant DBUSER read/write access to a second database my_db2 (while keeping the existing access to my_db1), you would rerun the above curl command with all permissions (existing and new) specified since the existing permissions list will be overwritten:

curl -X PUT --header 'Content-Type: application/json' -d '
{"grantedAuthorities": ["WRITE_REPO_my_db1","READ_REPO_my_db1", "WRITE_REPO_my_db2","READ_REPO_my_db2"]}' http://localhost:7200/rest/security/users/DBUSER -u "admin:NewAdminPassword"

Similarly, to revoke my_db1 access so DBUSER only has access to my_db2:

curl -X PUT --header 'Content-Type: application/json' -d '
{"grantedAuthorities": ["WRITE_REPO_my_db2","READ_REPO_my_db2"]}' http://localhost:7200/rest/security/users/DBUSER -u "admin:NewAdminPassword"
Managing user permissions using the GraphDB Workbench

If you are managing multiple GraphDB databases, the web-based administration interface for a GraphDB instance, the Workbench, might be an easier way to manage user permissions than the REST API. More information on using the GraphDB Workbench can be found here.

Resetting your GraphDB instance

Each Neurobagel node has its own GraphDB instance, which is used to store the graph data for the node. If you want to reset your graph database and start again from scratch, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that your Neurobagel node is not running (i.e., shut down the Docker containers for the node).

    docker compose --profile full_stack down

    If you are not using the full_stack profile, replace full_stack with the name of the profile you are using.

  2. Delete the docker volume that contains the GraphDB data for your node.

    docker volume rm neurobagel_node_graphdb_home

    replace neurobagel_node_graphdb_home with the name of the volume that was created for your node. It is usually named <project_name>_graphdb_home where <project_name> is the name of your docker compose stack as defined in COMPOSE_PROJECT_NAME in the .env file.

  3. Start your Neurobagel node again.

    docker compose --profile full_stack up -d

    If you are not using the full_stack profile, replace full_stack with the name of the profile you are using.

Use docker volume ls to list all volumes on your system

You can use the docker volume ls command to list all volumes on your system. This will help you identify the name of the volume that was created for your Neurobagel node.

Some examples of when you might want to do this:

  • You started but did not complete Neurobagel node setup previously and want to ensure you are using up-to-date instructions and recommended configuration options
  • Your local node has stopped working after a configuration change to your graph database (e.g., your Neurobagel node API no longer starts or responds with an error, but you have confirmed all environment variables you have set should be correct)


This action will wipe any graph databases and users you previously created!