Creation of a digital image archive and online scholarly edition of David Livingtone's Nyangwe field diary (1871) by adapting imaging technology originally pioneered with medieval parchment palimpsests.
This project will build on imaging technology pioneered with medieval parchment palimpsests to create a digital image archive and online scholarly edition of the Nyangwe field diary (1871) of the celebrated Victorian explorer David Livingstone. Although in a fragile, nearly illegible state, the paper diary is of immense historical value because it details the circumstances leading up to Livingstone's famous meeting with Henry Stanley in November 1871, and because it records Livingstone's response to a massacre of the local African population by Arab slave traders' an event that would become a rallying point for late-Victorian abolitionists. Our project will seek to develop technology for the preservation of the diary and recovery of its faded text, and create a model for scholar-scientist collaboration. Our work will make Livingstone's diary accessible to scholars and non-specialists worldwide and produce a template for the display of similar records of Victorian travel and exploration.