Over the past year or so, a group of us at SIMS and elsewhere have been developing a system for visualizing the physical collation of medieval manuscripts. At the moment, this consists of two things:
- Figures that illustrate the make-up of quires: number of leaves, whether leaves are missing or added, etc.
- Using digital images of manuscript pages to give an idea of how a quire would look, were it disbound: showing how folios that are disjunct in a bound manuscript relate to one another when the manuscript is unbound.
Here is a screenshot of what this looks like:
You can create these yourself, for the manuscripts you are working with! You don’t even need a collation formula. You do need to be able to express the collation, or at least have an idea of which folios go in which quire. One of the nice things about this system, even in the current beta form, is that it can enable you to compare different collations for the same item. It could help you figure it out!
Instructions for building collation models and visualizing them are on Github. You won’t need to download any code, although the code is there if you are interested or curious. If you want the bifolia layout view, you will need to be able to provide an Excel spreadsheet associating folio or page numbers with image files.
Does that still sound like a lot of work? Never fear! I’ve made a set of video tutorials to walk you through the entire process. I hope these are helpful. And if you are still unsure about doing this yourself even after the videos, be aware that I’ll be leading a workshop at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, MI, next May. Maybe I’ll see you there! The videos are embedded below. Be sure to click on the “HD” button at the bottom of each video, or else the videos are very blurry.