A New Multispectral Edition of Livingstone’s 1870 Field Diary

On 16 November 2016, Livingstone Online released a new multispectral critical edition of Livingstone’s 1870 Field Diary and select 1870-1871 manuscripts.

To mark the occasion, US-based members of the Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project traveled to the UK where, over the span of one week, they joined UK-based collaborators to lecture on the project at the Universities of Edinburgh (14 November 2016) and Oxford (16 November 2016) and Queen’s University Belfast (18 November 2016).

figure-01
Figure 1. An image of Livingstone’s 1870 Field Diary enhanced with spectral image processing to highlight staining on the page. Copyright National Library of Scotland. CC BY-NC 3.0.

Unlike the 1871 Field Diary (the subject of our last spectral imaging project), the 1870 Field Diary is perfectly legible in natural light. What makes the diary interesting are the many different scraps of paper over which Livingstone composed it and the history of these scraps before Livingstone wrote his diary, during his time, and the 145 years since.

Over this time, the diary has circulated through many hands and through many environments. Our project uses spectral imaging — not to reveal faded text (although we do do a little bit of that) — but to study the diary as a material object and to recover the lost hands, voices, and circumstances that shaped the manuscript as it exists today.

Figure-02.jpg
Figure 2. Image of Livingstone’s 1870 Field Diary enhanced with spectral image processing to highlight manuscript topography. Copyright National Library of Scotland CC BY-NC 3.0.

The content of the diary and of the other manuscripts in our edition are also of significant historical value, as we note on the project’s home page: “Because of his immobility [during this time], Livingstone focused his writing on African life to an extent usual both for his final writings (1866-73) and those of contemporaneous British travelers to Africa.

The documents capture Livingstone’s first-hand impressions of the Central African slave trade, record the complex social dynamics among local Central African populations, and set out detailed geographical information gathered through travel and by interviewing Arab and African informants.”

Below, we offer a selection of photos drawn from our trip. Please also feel free to visit our critical edition of the 1870 Field Diary.

Figure-03.jpg
Figure 3. Livingstone Online team members Adrian S. Wisnicki, Megan Ward, and Justin Livingstone outside Queen’s University Belfast. Copyright Adrian S. Wisnicki. CC BY-NC 3.0.
Figure-05.jpg
Figure 4. Hampstead Guest House, where the project team stayed in London. Copyright Keith Knox. CC BY-NC 3.0.
Figure-06.jpg
Figure 5. Imaging scientists Keith Knox and Roger L. Easton, Jr. pose outside the Bow Bar in Edinburgh. Copyright Adrian S. Wisnicki. CC BY-NC 3.0.
Figure-07.jpg
Figure 6. Kate Simpson lectures on the project at Queen’s University Belfast. Copyright Keith Knox. CC BY-NC 3.0.
Figure-08.jpg
Figure 7. Street view from Kenneth Mackenzie Apartments, where the project team stayed in Edinburgh. Copyright Roger L. Easton, Jr. CC BY-NC 3.0.
Figure-09.jpg
Figure 8. Our Canadian collaborators James Cummings and Nigel Banks, both of whom are based in Oxford. Copyright Adrian S. Wisnicki. CC BY-NC 3.0.
Figure-10.jpg
Figure 9. Livingstone Online co-director Megan Ward lectures on the project at the University of Edinburgh. Copyright Roger L. Easton, Jr. CC BY-NC 3.0.
Figure-11.jpg
Figure 10. Livingstone manuscript letter at the Weston Library, University of Oxford. Copyright Keith Knox. CC BY-NC 3.0 and The Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Used with permission.
Figure-12.jpg
Figure 11. Interior of the National Museum of Scotland. Copyright Keith Knox. CC BY-NC 3.0.
Figure-13.jpg
Figure 12. Scientists Keith Knox and Roger L. Easton, Jr. and Livingstone Online directors Megan Ward and Adrian S. Wisnicki look on as project scholar Kate Simpson (not pictured) presents at Queen’s University Belfast. Copyright Justin Livingstone. CC BY-NC 3.0.
Figure-14.jpg
Figure 13. Street scene in Belfast. Copyright Adrian S. Wisnicki. CC BY-NC 3.0.
Figure-15.jpg
Figure 14. Keith Knox lectures on the project at the University of Edinburgh. Copyright Roger L. Easton, Jr. CC BY-NC 3.0.
Figure-16.jpg
Figure 15. View of Liverpool from the ferry that some of the team members used to travel from England to Northern Ireland. Copyright Adrian S. Wisnicki. CC BY-NC 3.0.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s