DigitalDonne: the Online Variorum

Collation and Transcription Software

For Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and DOS.

The software described below was originally created for the Donne Variorum by computer support personnel at The University of Southern Mississippi and other consultants.  We here make the programs available without charge under the terms of the GPL Public License (external link), asking only that all who use the programs to produce printed works, whether on paper or electronically, explicitly acknowledge the programs and their origins in the final published product.  Copyright for the programs is held by Gary A. Stringer, Research Professor at Texas A&M University.

Credits and Introduction

DV-COLL is the most recent version of the Donne Variorum textual collation program. A revision of Coll60, the previously existing DOS program originally written in GW-BASIC by Bill Vilberg and Bruce Dinoff and later modified by Raoul Jerome, this Windows version was initially written in VISUAL BASIC by Cameron Purvis, later modified by Johan Bjursell, and then updated again by Cameron Parvis). It runs in all versions from Windows 95 through Windows 7.  Though designed explicitly for the textual work in the Donne Variorum project, DV-COLL will be equally useful in editing the work of other poets whose works exist in multiple copies that need to be compared and analyzed in character-by-character detail. DV-COLL can compare up to 250 transcriptions of a given poem at once, saving the resulting collation as a simple text file (an ASCII file) in columnar format for easy analysis and manipulation with a word processor. Installation of the program is virtually automatic (see below); and--after a brief period of orientation--most people will find use of DV-COLL itself convenient and easy. Indeed, most of the work of running collations consists in the preparation of the poem files to be collated, and we have provided a frame file generator (F-GEN, a Windows update of the original GW-BASIC program written by Jeffrey S. A. Stringer) to aid in this task. The DV-COLL--F-GEN package is distributed with the requisite VISUAL BASIC supporting libraries.

These instructions will walk you through the process of downloading and installing the programs; related documents included in the downloads ("Using DV-COLL" and "Using F-GEN") explain how to use them. A linked document below also specifies which files will be downloaded and where the installation program will locate them on your computer. Coll60 (for DOS) requires 40KB of disk space; Framegen requires 43KB.  The Windows versions of the programs, however, are much larger: the full download of DV-COLL—which includes F-GEN  and complete documentation—requires 1.3 megabytes of disk space.   Note that there are separate installers for Windows 95 through Windows XP and for Windows Vista and Windows 7.

The Programs

DV-CollSetup.exe   --for Windows 95--Windows XP  (most recent version of installer uploaded in January 2003)

DV-CollSetup.exe  --for Windows Vista and Windows 7  (installer uploaded in November 2008)

Coll60.exe   -- The DV Textual Collation Program for MS-DOS

Framegen.exe   -- The DV Frame File Generator for MS-DOS

Downloading the program(s)

  1. Select the program you wish to download from the list above by clicking the appropriate link.
  2. A dialog box, usually a "Save As"  window, will appear.  This dialog box will vary from browser to browser, but all versions feature a Cancel button, a Save or OK button to initiate the download, and some mechanism for navigating among the folders and files on your computer. Typically, the destination folder initially presented is the one to which you most recently saved a file. Windows 7 automatically saves downloads to a "Downloads" folder listed under "Favorites."
  3. Select a target folder in the "Save As" window and click "OK."  It makes little difference where you download the DOS programs to--you'll likely end up moving them or keeping multiple copies on your machine. Unless you have an over-full desktop, however, it's easiest if you select C:\WINDOWS\DESKTOP\ as the target for the Windows versions.
  4. The file transfer will be completed. Depending on the speed of your internet connection, the download will take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes; your browser should put up a bar graph or other means of monitoring the progress of the file transfer.  (In the unlikely event of an error in the download, simply repeat the download process). Netscape/Firefox usually signals the end of a download by clearing the download window; Internet Explorer usually sounds a "ding" or pops up a "Download Complete" message.

Installing the program(s)

The DOS programs

These are self-contained, free-standing programs that require no supporting files to run properly, and they are small enough that you can keep a separate copy in each poem folder if you so desire. Both run correctly under Windows either in a DOS window or in straight DOS mode. Note, however, that use of Coll60 on machines running Windows95 and higher requires addition of the following statement to your config.sys file: FCBS=101

To use either of the DOS programs, simply travel to the folder where the program resides, type the program's name (without the ".exe" extension), and press <Enter>.  It is also easy to create clickable links to either program on your Desktop.

The DV-COLL--F-GEN package for Windows 95 and later

Installation of these programs is automated by use of a separate setup program.

  1. Locate the DV-COLL setup program either on your Desktop or in the folder to which you have saved it.
  2. Double-click on the setup program's icon. This installation program will be named either "DV-COLLSetup.exe" or "DV-COLL Setup Vista.exe," depending on which package you have selected.
  3. The setup program will display a Welcome to the Setup Wizard. (In the unlikely event that the file was damaged in transit, the setup program will display an error message; should this happen, repeat the download procedure.)  This Welcome screen will instruct you to close all other programs before continuing with the installation. When you have done so, click Next to continue.  You will then see the
  4. License Screen.  It contains a copy of the GNU Public License, which you can either read at this point or skip until later.  (Simply stated, the GPL explains that you are free to use and distribute the software so long as you don't try to prevent anyone else from doing the same. For more information, you can read about the GNU Project at To accept the terms of licensure, click Yes.
  5. Location Selection Screen.   Choose the drive on which you wish to install the program.  You may do this by browsing to a drive or typing in the drive name.  It is strongly recommended that you install the program in a primary directory/folder on the drive you select (e.g., C:\DV-Coll or E:\DV-Coll, etc.--not C:\Folder\Subfolder\DV-Coll).
  6. Click the "Install" button on the "Ready to Install" screen and proceed with the installation.   In the installation process, the setup program will copy files to various locations on your computer, as explained below. The process is quick, and you can monitor it on the graph that appears.

What will be installed on your computer

  1. Both the Windows packages will install the DV-COLL and F-GEN program files and the documentation for using them. But these packages also require the presence of certain Visual Basic system files, and those not already present in your computer will also be installed.
  2. The setup program will create the following folders for the installation if they do not already exist:
    • DV-COLL--the main directory/folder for the programs and accompanying files
    • COLLDOC--a level-II subdirectory containing  general documentation for the installation
    • DV-COLL--a level-III subdirectory containing the documentation for DV-COLL
    • F-GEN--a level-III subdirectory containing the documentation for F-GEN
    • ICONS--a level-II subdirectory containing the icons for the program
  3. Start menu links will be created in the Start -> Programs -> DV-COLL group. To access this group, click the Start button, scroll up to Programs, and then click on DV-COLL. The following items will appear:
    • DV-COLL--launches the DV-COLL program
    • F-GEN--launches the F-GEN program
    • DV-COLL--F-GEN Guide--brings up the documentation home page
    • Uninstall DV-COLL--completely uninstalls/deletes the DV-COLL package
  4. The following desktop icons will be placed on the Desktop for convenience in launching the programs:
    • DV-COLL (the "Books" Icon)
    • F-GEN (the "Pens" Icon)
  5. For a complete list of files and where they will be installed, click here. For later reference, this list ("filesins.html") will also be copied to your computer in the installation process.

Completion of the installation

When all files have been copied to your computer, you will receive a brief message telling you where to begin. After reading this, click on Next to continue to the Completion Screen and click on Finish to complete the installation.

 Once you've finished the installation, navigate to the DV-COLL Guide by clicking on "Start" --> "Programs" --> "DV-COLL." The Guide will get you started in using the collation program.

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