McAulay, Elizabeth | 1 May 01:55 2012

David Livingstone 1871 Diary, published in TEI P5

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, the David 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
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