Using the Data 8 textbook

This page covers how to connect your course with the Data 8 textbook, either via using the one hosted at or by customizing your own.

The Data 8 Textbook

The online Data 8 textbook is built using a site generation engine called Jekyll, and hosted online with the free GitHub Pages service.

For a short explanation of the structure / relevant files / etc of the Data 8 textbook, see the Data 8 textbook readme.

You have two options for using the Data 8 textbook:

Use the version of the textbook at

The textbook hosted online should be suitable for most courses. The “interact” links at the top of each page point to, a public service that lets users interact with material online. If you wish, you may send students links to this textbook for your course.

To override this textbook’s interact links to point to your JupyterHub you may link to the textbook with an optional REST parameter at the end of the url. Putting ?hub=<your-jupyterhub-url> at the end of a link to will do the following:

  • The interact button will now point to the URL provided.
  • A small message will be displayed telling the user where “interact” points.
  • Internal links on the page will also now contain this URL.

For example, the following URL will over-ride the interact link at to point to the Berkeley DataHub (instead of to

Note: users need to supply this URL parameter each time they visit For example, you might instruct users to only access the online textbook by clicking a link that you distribute in your syllabus that contains the hub= parameter in it.

Customize the textbook for your course

Alternatively, you may wish to customize the textbook for your own course. The most common reason to do so is in order to make “interact” links point to your JupyterHub. This way, students can interact with textbook material in their own JupyterHub sessions, and their work will persist over time.

To do so, follow the steps in the customizing your textbook guide.

Next step

Now that you’ve got your own working version of the textbook, let’s discuss some course logistics