Installation (running your own crawlers)

We recommend using Docker Compose to run your crawlers in production, and we have an example project to help you get started.

  • Make a copy of the memorious/example directory.
  • Add your own crawler YAML configurations into the config directory.
  • Add your Python extensions into the src directory (if applicable).
  • Update with the name of your project and any additional dependencies.
  • If you need to (eg. if your database connection or directory structure is different), update any environment variables in the Dockerfile or docker-compose.yml, although the defaults should work fine.
  • Run docker-compose up -d. This might take a while when it’s building for the first time.

You can access the Memorious CLI through the worker container:

docker-compose run --rm worker /bin/bash

To see the crawlers available to you:

memorious list

And to run a crawler:

memorious run my_crawler

See Usage (or run memorious --help) for the complete list of Memorious commands.

Note: you can use any directory structure you like, src and config are not required, and nor is separation of YAML and Python files. So long as the MEMORIOUS_CONFIG_PATH environment variable points to a directory containing, within any level of directory nesting, your YAML files, Memorious will find them.

Environment variables

Your Memorious instance is configured by a set of environment variables that control database connectivity and general principles of how the sytem operates. You can set all of these in the Dockerfile.

  • MEMORIOUS_ARCHIVE_TYPE, either file or s3
  • ALEPH_HOST, default is, but any instance of Aleph 2.0 or greater should work.
  • ALEPH_API_KEY, a valid API key for use by the upload operation.

Shut it down

To gracefully exit, run docker-compose down.

Files which were downloaded by crawlers you ran, Memorious progress data from the Postgres database, and the RabbitMQ queue, are all persisted in the build directory, and will be reused next time you start it up. (If you need a completely fresh start, you can delete this directory).

Building a crawler

To understand what goes into your config and src directories, check out the examples and reference documentation.

Development mode

When you’re working on your crawlers, it’s not convenient to rebuild your Docker containers all the time. To run without Docker:

  • Copy the environment variables from the Dockerfile to
  • Run source

If you leave MEMORIOUS_DATABASE_URI unset, it will use SQLite. Otherwise you need to set it to match a local Postgres database.

Make sure MEMORIOUS_CONFIG_PATH points to your crawler YAML files, wherever they may be.

Then either:

  • Run pip install memorious. If your crawlers use Python extensions, you’ll need to run pip install in your crawlers directory as well;
  • or clone the Memorious repository and run make install (this will also install your crawlers for you).