VisColl is a system for building models of the physical collation of manuscripts, and then visualizing them in various ways. The core of VisColl is the data model, which defines the structure of individual manuscripts and which can be built and visualized by different tools.

The current version of the VisColl Data Model is version 2.0, which launched in Fall 2021.

The VisColl project is led by Dot Porter at the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Alberto Campagnolo at the Université catholique de Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium), in collaboration with the University of Toronto Libraries and the Old Books New Science lab (see below for more information on their project VisCodex). Collaborators include Lynn Ransom, Doug Emery, Patrick Perkins, and Conal Tuohy.

VCEditor is the software that you can use to create models and visualizations based on the VisColl Data Model 2.0. It is free and available for anyone to use – sign up for an account here. Find out more about using VCEditor here. The VCEditor code is hosted by the Kislak Center for Special Collections at the University of Pennsylvania on GitHub.


Developed at the University of Toronto Libraries through the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, VisCodex is a visual collation web application based upon Viscoll’s data model. The tool can be used to produce interactive visualizations of a manuscripts’ quire structure, add leaf-level metadata, present diagrams alongside manuscript images, share visualizations with others and export diagrams as images. Members of the University of Toronto Centre for Medieval Studies used the application to create collation diagrams of all extant manuscript copies of the Canterbury Tales––a corpus whose manuscript collations have been much discussed.

The VisCodex development team includes Rachel Di Cresce, Imran Asghar, Shibo Liu, Alexandra Gillespie, Monica Ung, and Janarthenan Rajakumar.

The code is openly available here as well a downloadable vagrant setup here. A demo of the application can be seen here

The beautiful VisColl logo, used for both VisColl and VisCodex, was created by Monica Ung, who has worked on VisCodex development in her role at the University of Toronto Libraries.