LEAP team lecture at the National Endowment for the Humanities, 2014. Heather F. Ball presents on the Livingstone Online coding guidelines developed through LEAP.

The End of LEAP

The directors of Livingstone Online (Adrian S. Wisnicki and Megan Ward) are delighted to announce the end of LEAP: the Livingstone Online Enrichment and Access Project (2013-2017) after four years, three months, and eleven days of development.

This project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), led to the full redevelopment of the Livingstone Online website, a major expansion of our digital collection, and the addition of a full-scale critical edition of Livingstone’s Final Manuscripts (1865-73), an edition comprising some 2,000 manuscript pages covering every aspect of David Livingstone’s final travels in Africa.

David Livingstone, Map of Central African Lakes, [1869], detail. Copyright National Library of Scotland. Creative Commons Share-alike 2.5 UK: Scotland. As relevant, copyright Dr. Neil Imray Livingstone Wilson. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. The map shows the fictitious Lake Chibungo or Lake Lincoln, which Livingstone places west of Lubaland (Rua) based on information gathered from Arab and African travelers and traders.
David Livingstone, Map of Central African Lakes, [1869], detail. Copyright National Library of Scotland. Creative Commons Share-alike 2.5 UK: Scotland. As relevant, copyright Dr. Neil Imray Livingstone Wilson. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. The map shows the fictitious Lake Chibungo or Lake Lincoln, which Livingstone places west of Lubaland (Rua) based on information gathered from Arab and African travelers and traders.
LEAP drew on an international array of collaborators and supporting institutions and, ultimately, far exceeded the expectations raised in the original NEH grant application from 2012.

Indeed, the directors of Livingstone Online take great pleasure in marking the end of the LEAP with the release of the second edition of the new Livingstone Online, one full edition more than promised in the grant application.

ATIZ book copying system at the University of Glasgow Photographic Unit, 2015. Copyright Angela Aliff. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. Collaborators at Glasgow, led by Stephen McCann, used this system to create digital images for LEAP of most of the Livingstone final field diaries (1865-73) held by the David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, Scotland.
ATIZ book copying system at the University of Glasgow Photographic Unit, 2015. Copyright Angela Aliff. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. Collaborators at Glasgow, led by Stephen McCann, used this system to create digital images for LEAP of most of the Livingstone final field diaries (1865-73) held by the David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, Scotland.

The new edition of Livingstone Online represents a major overhaul of the first edition (August 2016) and is leaps and bounds beyond the beta edition (June 2015). Some of the highlights include:

  • a full retheming, which has streamlined the site’s appearance and made it much faster and easier to maintain on the back end;
  • the release of the Livingstone Online Instruction Manual — nearly 350 pages with 300 screenshots that document every staff-side workflow needed to maintain the site;
  • a full-scale revision of our metadata records, which now encompass nearly 3000 items;
  • a major expansion of our encoded transcriptions to 780 files, covering every facet of Livingstone’s career;
  • the release of our final batch of manuscript images, bringing the total published by the site to 15,000 images (including 3,200 spectral images), representing 1,300 unique items;
  • the complete integration into the site of our critical edition of Livingstone’s Final Manuscripts (1865-73) and our multispectral critical editions of the 1870 and 1871 Field Diaries plus the Letter from Bambarre;
  • a new peer-reviewed essay on Reading Exploration Through the Digital Library;
  • an experimental Browse by Location page (loads slowly);
  • and much more.

To glimpse the scale of the new Livingstone Online, users are encouraged to start with our site guide, which provides a skeletal outline of the entire site.

Two-page spread from David Livingstone, Analysis of the Language of the Bechuanas, [1858]. Copyright National Library of Scotland. Creative Commons Share-alike 2.5 UK: Scotland. As relevant, copyright Dr. Neil Imray Livingstone Wilson. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. By publishing archival materials such as this, Livingstone Online helps restore ideas and text that might otherwise be lost to history.
Two-page spread from David Livingstone, Analysis of the Language of the Bechuanas, [1858]. Copyright National Library of Scotland. Creative Commons Share-alike 2.5 UK: Scotland. As relevant, copyright Dr. Neil Imray Livingstone Wilson. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. By publishing archival materials such as this, Livingstone Online helps restore ideas and text that might otherwise be lost to history.
Most importantly, through our work for LEAP, we’ve launched a full-scale reassessment of the written and visual legacies of a major figure of British colonialism and opened the door to an array of additional projects in the future.

The directors of the LEAP are grateful to the many individuals and institutions that have made this project possible. We encourage everyone to visit the site at their leisure and explore!

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