RIT professor images David Livingstone diaries

November 10, 2016, Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester Institute of Technology professor Roger Easton digitally recovered content from the 19th century journals kept by British explorer David Livingstone. The images show pages from Livingstone's 1871 diary before (left) and after spectral imaging processing. Credit: Livingstone Spectral Imaging project

Multispectral imaging technology continues to recover new insights from the field diaries of 19th-century explorer David Livingstone. A team of scholars and scientists who worked on the Livingstone Spectral Imaging project will present their research in public talks in the United Kingdom in November.

While stranded in Central Africa, Livingstone composed letters, diaries, maps and sketches on scraps of paper using inks made from local berries. His writings and drawings document the Central African slave trade, social dynamics among local populations and geographical information.

"Because of the poor quality of the ink, the works probably had only been read by Livingstone himself," said Roger Easton, professor in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at Rochester Institute of Technology, who imaged the Livingstone documents.

Easton is a member of a team of scholars and scientists, led by Adrian Wisnicki, assistant professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Megan Ward, assistant professor at Oregon State University, that has assembled a digitally processed archived dedicated to the explorer. Livingstone Online: Illuminating Imperial Exploration archives more than 7,500 digital documents of original material.

To make Livingstone's writings readable, advanced and analysis was conducted by a team that included Easton and Keith Knox, retired scientist from the U.S. Air Force Research Labs.

The team of four scholars and scientists will present the results of the David Livingstone Spectral Imaging project—including both the technical aspects of the imaging and the results of the scholarly studies—in talks at the University of Edinburgh on Nov. 14, the University of Oxford on Nov. 16 and Queen's University in Belfast on Nov. 18.

Explore further: Newly deciphered diary muddles Livingstone legend

Related Stories

Newly deciphered diary muddles Livingstone legend

November 2, 2011

He is one of history's most famous explorers, and his first-person account of a 19th-century massacre in Africa helped lead to the closure of one of the continent's most notorious slave markets.

David Livingstone letter deciphered at last

July 2, 2010

(AP) -- The contents of a long-illegible letter written by famed 19th century explorer David Livingstone have finally been deciphered, a British university said Friday, nearly 140 years after he wrote of his despair at ever ...

Looking at art with a neurobiologist's eye

November 19, 2012

Her enigmatic expression has been the topic of artistic debate for hundreds of years. But the reason the Mona Lisa's mouth—part smile, part pursed lip—is so confounding has to do with the eyes, according to one Harvard ...

Gaming claims don’t add up

April 17, 2012

The level of charitable and community contributions provided by poker machine operators is ‘miniscule’ in comparison to the amount of money lost by poker machine users within local communities, a new study has shown.

Recommended for you

Rare fossil bird deepens mystery of avian extinctions

November 13, 2018

During the late Cretaceous period, more than 65 million years ago, birds belonging to hundreds of different species flitted around the dinosaurs and through the forests as abundantly as they flit about our woods and fields ...

Violent crime rates rise in warmer winters

November 13, 2018

As global temperatures climb, warmer winters in parts of the country may set the scene for higher rates of violent crimes such as assault and robbery, according to a new CIRES study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.