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Penn TotalRecall

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An easy-to-use tool for quickly annotating audio files.

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Penn TotalRecall is designed for precise scoring and timing of participant responses during verbal tasks, especially Free Recall. However, it can be used for many kinds of audio annotation. TotalRecall displays an audio recording as a self-scrolling waveform that automatically keeps up with audio playback.

TotalRecall is used on a daily basis by many in the Computational Memory Lab. Support and maintenance will continue indefinitely with new features being added as needed.


Operating System Type
)>> Mac OSX Mac OSX App
)>> Linux Debian Package
)>> Windows Windows Installer
)>> Source Code

Experimental nightly snapshots can be found here.

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Getting started

Download the file for your platform.


  • Mac: double click the .dmg file and drag into the Applications folder.
  • Linux: double click the .deb file and click Install Package.
  • Windows: double click the .exe file and follow the instructions.

Now try running the program:

  • Mac: search for Penn TotalRecall in Spotlight, or double click in Finder by going to the Applications folder.
  • Linux: on Ubuntu you can find Penn TotalRecall in the Applications --> Accessories menu.
  • Windows: you can find Penn TotalRecall in the start menu as usual. There should also be an icon on your desktop.

Try opening the wave file provided in this samples folder.

Check the menu items for actions and keybindings available to the user. Also check Help --> Key Bindings.

Annotation guide

A full guide to annotation provided. It explains proper use of the program along with our internal annotation standards.

System requirements

TotalRecall currently runs on Mac OSX, Linux and Windows. We plan to test and support these configurations, but the program may work on others.

TotalRecall requires a Java Runtime Environment, version 5 or higher. Most computers come with Java pre-installed, so you can probably download and run the program without worrying about system requirements. If it turns out you don't have Java, you can download it free here.

Support, contact, and bug reports

Please feel free to contact us at: memory - software @ psych . upenn . edu (remove all the spaces).

Thank you for taking the time to improve Penn TotalRecall!

Data analysis

We also provide our Behavioral Toolbox, a collection of MATLAB functions useful for analyzing the output of TotalRecall.


Please visit our development page.