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Behav Res Methods. 2009 May;41(2):472-6. doi: 10.3758/BRM.41.2.472.

CowLog: open-source software for coding behaviors from digital video.

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  • 1University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


We have developed CowLog, which is open-source software for recording behaviors from digital video and is easy to use and modify. CowLog tracks the time code from digital video files. The program is suitable for coding any digital video, but the authors have used it in animal research. The program has two main windows: a coding window, which is a graphical user interface used for choosing video files and defining output files that also has buttons for scoring behaviors, and a video window, which displays the video used for coding. The windows can be used in separate displays. The user types the key codes for the predefined behavioral categories, and CowLog transcribes their timing from the video time code to a data file. CowLog comes with an additional feature, an R package called Animal, for elementary analyses of the data files. With the analysis package, the user can calculate the frequencies, bout durations, and total durations of the coded behaviors and produce summary plots from the data.

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