The David Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project is delighted to announce the first edition publication of two digital resources:

1.       Livingstone's 1871 Field Diary: A Multispectral Critical Edition(

2.       The Livingstone Spectral Image Archive(

These resources are primary documents created by David Livingstone, the celebrated Victorian abolitionist, missionary, and explorer of Africa. The primary documents published online are of significant contributions to Digital Humanities and Digital Library endeavors, and also are of interest to scholars of Victorian literature, postcolonial studies, and African history.

The beta publication of these resources last fall drew worldwide interest, with full-length articles appearing in The New York Times,The Washington Post, BBC News, and many other outlets. The UCLA Digital Library Program now presents these two resources in revised and expanded versions with enhanced functionality. Collectively the resources make the text of Livingstone's previously illegible diary available for the first time in 140 years. The resources also bring together the 1871 Field Diary with a variety of related manuscripts for the first time since the nineteenth century. Nearly all materials are published and licensed for use under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Livingstone's 1871 Field Diary: A Multispectral Critical Edition( reveals for the first time the words of a unique diary kept by Livingstone in the months prior to his famous meeting with Henry Morton Stanley. The diary also records Livingstone's uncensored, first-hand impressions of a horrific slave trading massacre in the Congo. Thanks to a letter from Livingstone, the massacre would become an iconic rallying point for late-Victorian abolitionists and help spur the British-enforced closure of the notorious Zanzibar slave market. Livingstone composed the diary crosswise over old newspaper pages with ink from the seeds of a local African plant - an expedient that has not stood the test of time. Today large portions of the text are illegible and nearly invisible to the naked eye. However, theDavid Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project( has succeeded in restoring the full text of the diary by using advanced imaging technology and digital scholarship to produce a comprehensive critical edition. The edition also includes an extensive "Project History & Archive" that chronicles the journey of Livingstone’s text from its rediscovery in 2009 to its publication today. This section of the site contains over 60 downloadable documents and files that together provide a detailed account of the production of the critical edition and spectral image archive.

The Livingstone Spectral Image Archive( enables easy and direct access to the images, transcriptions, and metadata of Livingstone's 1870 and 1871 Field Diaries as well as select letters from the period, including the primary materials used forLivingstone's Letter from Bambarre (2010-2011, The archive, which consists of "flat" digital files not dependent on any graphical user interface (GUI), has been created to international library standards, and reflects the archival model established by the Archimedes Palimpsest Project ( The archive includes registered spectral TIFF images with metadata embedded in the header; TXT metadata files; XML TEI P5 transcriptions; MD5 checksum files to ensure data fixity; and extensive documentation. In most cases, the XML transcriptions also include spatial data linking lines of text to corresponding spectral image areas.

The publication of these two resources represents the culmination of a two-year collaborative, international endeavor that brings together scholars, scientists, archives, and educational institutions. The U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities and the British Academy have made the project possible through generous funding. Questions and comments about the project can be sent to project director Adrian S. Wisnicki, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, at <awisnicki(at)<>>.

Best regards,

Elizabeth (Lisa) McAulay
Librarian for Digital Collection Development
UCLA Digital Library Program
Email: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>