What is a Collation?
In times past, a collations was defined as an enumerated list of differences between a manuscript and a base text. Collations were typically done in lieu of full transcriptions. If a collation was perfect, the text of a witness could be reconstructed from applying a witness collation to the base text against which it was collated. Collations were seldom ever perfect. Collations also did not retain any page layout information.
If one is familiar with the term 'collation' as defined above, the use of the term in digital editions may be confusing. A computerized collation is the result of the computer comparing full transcriptions of multiple witnesses to the same text. Collations in the NTVMR may be executed from the NT Transcripts page. The default display of a collation is a positive apparatus. For example, to view the differences between witnesses of John.3.16, you can try this URL to the "NT Transcripts" page:
Many settings can be adjusted when asking the computer to produce a digital collation. The link above will collate against the NA28 base text, will compare all manuscripts in the system with any content for John.3.16, and will even include users' personal transcriptions of this verse.
These settings, along with others, can be adjusted under the menu in the upper-right corner of where the apparatus is displayed in the lower-left section of the "NT Transcripts" page.
In the screenshot above, you will see the menu expanded and the available Witness List choices available for selecting which witnesses to compare. Witness Lists can be created from the "Favorties" tab of the "Liste Catalog" gadget. Get help for creating Witness Lists from this article: Witness Lists.
Alternative Display Visualizations
The apparatus is the default display for a collation, but there are 2 other types of visualizations which might be more useful for your research. These can be selected from the final 2 choices seen in the menu above.
An alignment table displays as a grid with all witnesses represented as rows and each word represented as a column.
A variant graph is read left to right, word by word, with paths showing which witnesses diverge in reading, one from another. The paths are labeled above lines and show which, and how many, witnesses take that path.
A base text is only pertinent for the apparatus display. An apparatus shows variation against a single base text. The other two display visualizations compare all witnesses to each other and are considered "base-less" collations. For the apparatus, the base text can be chosen from the "Base Text" menu selection and must be one of the manuscripts included in the collation.
Regularization Rules make manuscript comparisons more meaningful in most situations. The INTF has a large set of global regularization rules for normalizing nomen sacrum, expanding other abbreviations, and normalizing spelling in many specific instances. You can choose which rules to use from the "Regularization Rules" menu choice. You can create your own regularization rules both globally or for a specific verse by using the "Collation Workspace" template to add a page on your "My Private Pages" from the "Go to" menu in the upper right of the NTVMR.
This menu choice will let you select which kinds of transcriptions to include. You may wish to include only INTF-published transcriptions, INTF transcriptions plus your own, or all transcriptions from any user in the system.
In the past, "collation" was the tedious work to produce the raw data for research. Today, with full documentary transcriptions for each witness, including corrector hands, computerized collation has become the playground for discovering new aspects of the transmission of the text.