What is LEAP (2013-2017)?

This page sets out the accomplishments and future objectives of LEAP: The Livingstone Online Enrichment and Access Project, a collaborative four-year initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (USA).


The Livingstone Online Enrichment and Access Project (LEAP) is a four-year initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (USA). The project, which launched on September 1, 2013, brings together an international, interdisciplinary team of experts and two of the largest Livingstone manuscript collections in Scotland: the National Library of Scotland and the David Livingstone Centre. The overarching goal of the project, under the leadership of Adrian S. Wisnicki, is to revise, redesign, and expand the original Livingstone Online website and digital collection (2005-13; Christopher Lawrence, original director and director emeritus of the present site).

Field Diary XVII, 9 April-27 April 1873, by David Livingstone. Copyright David Livingstone Centre, Dr. Neil Imray Livingstone Wilson (as relevant), and University of Glasgow Photographic Unit. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/)
Field Diary XVII, 9 April-27 April 1873, by David Livingstone. The first page of David Livingstone's last field diary. One of the many manuscripts added to Livingstone Online through LEAP. Copyright David Livingstone Centre, Dr. Neil Imray Livingstone Wilson (as relevant), and University of Glasgow Photographic Unit. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported

The first three years of LEAP (1 September 2013 - 31 July 2016) have resulted in:

1) the creation of the present site, released in a beta form on 24 June 2015 and in a formal first edition form on 1 August 2016 (anticipated);

2) the composition of a variety of supporting essays and other materials in the About This Site, Behind the Scenes, and Resources sections of the present site;

3) the update and expansion of all Livingstone Online critical materials;

4) the redevelopment and integration of Livingstone Online's legacy image data (5,000 manuscript images, 500 illustrative images), including the addition of Dublin Core metadata to all image headers;

5) the addition of 1,400 new manuscript and illustrative images from the National Library of Scotland;

6) the digitization of 3,600 manuscripts pages from the David Livingstone Centre and rigorous critical editing and transcription of some 2,200 of these pages;

7) the release of a fully updated version of the Livingstone Online digital collection consisting of over 1,100 items (8,000 images, 500 transcriptions), 3,000 metadata records, and downloadable archival packets for nearly all items in the collection;

8) the development of a robust interface for our digital catalogue and a manuscript viewer that allows for dynamic study of all Livingstone Online core image and transcription data;

9) a comprehensive set of transcription and encoding guidelines for Livingstone manuscripts; and

10) the completion of a pilot outreach program for schools and the production of a collection of digitized teaching resources.

LEAP (2013-2017): A Project History details the work that went into achieving these objectives. Elsewhere on our site, users can also find a list of the project team members and download our original NEH grant application as well as a variety of other documents produced in the course of our project.

David Livingstone - Boat Scene (Painted Magic Lantern Slide), c.1857. Copyright National Library of Scotland. Creative Commons Share-alike 2.5 UK: Scotland license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/scotland/).
David Livingstone - Boat Scene (Painted Magic Lantern Slide), c.1857. One of the many illustrative images added to Livingstone Online through LEAP. Copyright National Library of Scotland. Creative Commons Share-alike 2.5 UK: Scotland license

The final year of the project (1 August 2016 - 31 August 2017) will result in:

1) the integration of the Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project, including the multispectral critical edition of Livingstone’s 1871 Field Diary, into Livingstone Online; and

2) a critical edition of Livingstone's final diaries and journals (1866-73), possibly the most comprehensive surviving collection of manuscript documents related to any single nineteenth-century British expedition to Africa.

During this period or soon thereafter, Livingstone Online will also support the publication of a multispectral critical edition of Livingstone's 1870 Field Diary and select 1871 letters (Adrian S. Wisnicki, director), a critical edition of the Livingstone letters held in South Africa (Jared McDonald and Adrian S. Wisnicki, co-directors), and a critical edition of the manuscript of Missionary Travels (1857), Livingstone's first book (Justin Livingstone, director).

Collectively, these efforts – we hope – will result in the creation of a resource for the study of Livingstone's manuscript legacy, an important part of our shared global heritage, that survives long into the future.

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