ViXeN: View eXtract aNnotate media data

ViXeN is a simple tool to facilitate easily viewing, adding, and annotating metadata associated with media. ViXeN has been designed primarily to assist field biologists with managing the large amount of media they collect in a minimally intrusive manner.

One may think of ViXeN as a special, customizable file browser with which one may view and edit metadata associated with media files like videos, images, and audio.

ViXeN is open source and distributed under the liberal BSD license.


  • Works with different types of media, videos, images, audio, text, and PDF.
  • Supports any number of user-defined metadata fields per project.
  • Does not modify the original media but keeps its metadata separately.
  • Powerful searching through metadata.
  • Lightweight and easy to install. No server setup required.
  • Cross-platform: works on Linux, OS X, and Windows.
  • Simple browser-based UI.
  • Support to export metadata to a CSV file and import tags from a CSV file.
  • Ability to add metadata for media through an external program or a Python script.
  • Support to allow user-defined conversions of media to supported versions.
  • Open source.

ViXeN has currently been tested with about 350k files in a single project. It will work fine for larger projects but will be progressively slower the larger the number of files. The speed does not however depend on the nature of the media. ViXeN does not currently support multiple people working on the same project at the same time.


ViXeN was envisaged as a ‘no-fuss’ means to manage videos from 32 camera traps that were set up in the Banni grasslands in north-west India to survey species occurrence and interaction patterns, with a focus on carnivores. The research project began in 2013 and as of 2015 has resulted in 6000+ videos. When confronted with the daunting task of viewing and managing such volumes of media files, we realized that there was a dearth for tools to aid in the processing of such data. There were data managers for images but nothing suitable for video (and to a certain extent, audio) files.


If you have any questions or are having any problems with ViXeN, please email or post your questions on the vixen-users mailing list here:

If you should have specific problems with ViXeN, you may eitiher email us on the list mentioned above or file an issue on github here:

If you do not mind, you can consider sending along the vixen log as discussed in Troubleshooting.

We welcome any contributions to this project. Please submit a pull-request on github and we will be happy to consider any suggestions and improvements.

One useful, and perhaps underutilized feature of github is that if you want to make a change to the software or documentation, you may do so directly on github and submit that as a pull-request for us to consider without having to learn git, forking the project, and manually submitting a pull-request.

Citing ViXeN

You may use the following article to formally cite ViXeN if you wish:


Designed and developed by Prabhu Ramachandran and Kadambari Devarajan.

Many thanks to Kamal Morjal for the CSS layout of the UI and Khushalsingh Rajput who implemented the ViXeN logo based on Kadambari’s concept and design.



  • Release date: September 29, 2019.
  • Update docs on source installation.
  • Add license and fix FF version for tests.
  • Address issues raised in JOSS paper review.
  • Partial fix for freezes when opening dialog for a file/directory.
  • Fix Python version to 3.6.x for now until jigna fully supports 3.6+.
  • Improve CSS for scrolling behavior of side panel.


  • Release date: May 4, 2018.
  • Prepare for release on PyPI.
  • Add pause/stop buttons when processing files and clean up processing UI.
  • Fix bug with saving projects which had tagger processors.
  • Support to copy a project.
  • Awesome new logo for the application and documentation.
  • Improved the rescan functionality to warn users about what it does and remove dead files from the database.
  • Add a new “text” tag type for larger text input.
  • Warn user when they add unsupported tag names (names with spaces or those starting with an _).
  • Add button to re-order the tags.
  • Fix UI slowness when editing a lot of text on firefox.
  • Fix an issue with CSV export with unicode text.
  • Support for Python 3.x.


  • Release date: Mar 17, 2017.
  • Massive performance improvements (> 10x) for handling many files. This makes it possible to comfortably handle many more files than before.
  • Documentation improvements.
  • Small UI improvements for search and navigation.
  • Fix bug when starting vixen for the first time – if one added a project it would not show correctly until vixen was re-launched.
  • Fix issue with notifications on firefox.
  • Add ability to view the application log, to help with reporting issues.
  • Notify users of any unexpected errors so these can be reported.
  • Improved test coverage.


  • Release data: Jan 18, 2017.
  • First public release.
  • Easy to install binaries on Linux, OS X, and Windows.
  • Basic documentation.