The Virtual Libraries of the Ignacio Larramendi Foundation are grouped under the denomination Polymath Virtual Library, which brings together about 900 Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American and Brazilian polymaths (among writers on science, exploration, literature, economics and other sciences) and a series of Virtual Thematic and Author Libraries that will increase and in which are grouped polymaths and works related to a theme or an author, as we will explain below.
With the Polymath Virtual Library, the Ignacio Larramendi Foundation evolves the idea of Menéndez Pelayo, who created the term “polymath” in the sense used here, by proposing to facilitate access to the thinking and actions of Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian and Latin American authors, intellectuals, humanists and scientists by digitally bringing together their works. The Virtual Library includes the works of some polymaths from countries that do not belong to these geographical areas but whose studies on topics related to them have been of great importance, such as Humboldt and Löfling.The Polymath Virtual Library is implemented with the collaboration of other institutions, taking advantage of the quality resources available on the internet.
The project was started up by Ignacio Hernando de Larramendi, or Ignacio Larramendi as he was better known, who was always interested in increasing awareness of and spreading the Spanish and Portuguese culture which is created and developed on both sides of the Atlantic. Ignacio Larramendi’s outlook and interest in the project quickly led him to contact Xavier Agenjo Bullón, the present Project Director of the Foundation and a highly-educated librarian in these topics who was at that time managing the Menéndez Pelayo Library, which gives an idea of how right he was to choose him for this job.
The word polymath refers in this context to a multifaceted creator whose work marked a turning point in his or her field. This virtual library currently contains the work of nearly 1000 authors from the various fields of the humanities and sciences. The visitor can find authority files, bibliographical files of the works and the works themselves in a digital format provided that it is available. They are digitalised by this Foundation or by other institutions or sources of information that are considered to be reliable.
Recognition of the Polymath Virtual Library by Europeana and the W3C
It should be pointed out that these recognitions are also due to the fact that this virtual library has become a real test laboratory for the software and digitisation company DIGIBÍS. The Polymath Virtual Library is supported by the DIGIBIB application of the above-mentioned company, and its new versions are always tested here, so that they have already been verified when they are launched to the market.
For those who are unaware, the W3C or World Wide Web Consortium is an international consortium that generates recommendations and standards to ensure the growth of the World Wide Web in the long term. It is currently very involved in LOD (Linked Open Data) technology to ensure the maximum and best circulation of data that is equal for everybody.
This consortium is directed by Tim Berners-Lee, the original creator of URL (Uniform Resource Locator), HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) and HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), the main technologies that the Web is based on.
Europeana is the European cultural heritage portal with free access, whose prototype came into operation on 20 November 2008. It compiles digitalised items from renowned cultural institutions of the 28 member states of the European Union. The collections include books, films, paintings, newspapers, audiovisual archives, maps, manuscripts and other archives in 45 languages. Europeana recommends the EDM Schema to those that wish to add their collections to its repository.