A Conversation about Livingstone Online and the Victorian Record of African Exploration

Kate Simpson, Justin Livingstone, Adrian Wisnicki

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Livingstone Online is a digital museum and library that provides a global audience with public access to the vast written and visual legacies of David Livingstone (1813-73), the British Victorian explorer of Africa. The site’s manuscripts span Livingstone’s adult life, ranging from family correspondence written in the 1830s, to the field diaries of the 1870s composed in the Congo Basin. Additional illustrations, photographs, and other materials encompass nearly two centuries of relevant historical and contemporary sources. Over the course of Livingstone Online’s fifteen-year development, the project has made significant contributions to scholarly conversations and public knowledge about British imperial history and African history, and has become a leader in the field in developing best practices for the digitisation and digital publication of manuscript material and images from the “global south.” In February 2020, three members of the project team gathered online to discuss the site’s latest edition – Livingstone’s Missionary Travels Manuscript (1857) – and the wider development of Livingstone Online as a nineteenth-century digital humanities project over the last decade and a half. Adrian Wisnicki (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) is the director of Livingstone Online; Kate Simpson (University of Glasgow) is an Associate Project Scholar who has contributed to each of the site’s critical editions; and Justin Livingstone (Queen’s University Belfast) is the joint director (with Wisnicki) of Livingstone’s Missionary Travels Manuscript (1857).
Original languageEnglish
Journal19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 05 Aug 2020


  • Exploration
  • Empire
  • Digital Humanities
  • Travel Writing
  • Colonialism
  • Imperialism
  • Africa


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