Presentation from the Ignacio Larramendi Foundation

Lourdes Martínez Gutiérrez
Widow of Ignacio Hernando de Larramendi
President of the Ignacio Larramendi Foundation


Toledo en el siglo XVI. Detalle de un mapa de Joris HoefnagelA little more than a year ago on the occasion of the presentation of the Virtual Library of the School of Salamanca I was signingthe introductory lines for the Ignacio Larramendi Foundation, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of its institution by my husband, Ignacio Hernando de Larramendi y Montiano. The fact that the Foundation that I preside over will publish the Virtual Library of the Old Toledo School of Translators another year is cause for double satisfaction

First of all, because it means the continued effort of both those who work at the Foundation and its subsidiary, the DIGIBÍS company, which carries out all the computer developments, digitizations and much of the creation of the catalogue records. Secondly, because the commitment of cooperation is maintained with the MAPFRE Foundation, which means so much to me and which I value so much when I see it linked to the name of the person who was its main promoter for thirty-five years.

Two important projects were carried out during 2012, in addition to the one now being presented in May 2013. One is the Virtual Library of Francisco Sánchez, the Sceptic, which has become no less the case study of the implementation of European legislation for libraries in the large virtual libraryEuropeana, promoted by the European Commission. The other project I was referring to was the Virtual Library of Menéndez Pelayo, in which the procedures and methods of bibliographic description have been perfected and, above all, a step forward has been taken in the preparation of so-called cyberbooks or eBooks that will play such an important role in the future when it comes to facilitating reading. Of course, they will always play a role alongside the traditional paper book, whose life is undoubtedly assured in spite of technological advances. We must bear in mind that the printed book is also constantly being improved and has some features that the electronic book does not yet have, although the latter does have others.

A fundamental role has been played in this Virtual Library of the Old Toledo School of Translators by Patricia Juez, an efficient technique that has contributed so much to the description of bibliographic records and authority records in accordance with international standards.

The Old School of Translators of Toledo is one of Spain's great contributions to universal culture, since in the imperial Christian, Sephardic and Andalusian cities they were able to iron out their differences and under the impulse of great patrons - first Raimundo, bishop of Toledo, and thenAlfonso X, King of Castilla y de León— they were able to reveal to Europe the philosophical and scientific knowledge that  had been accumulated by the Greek classics and by Arab and Muslim civilization, as well as the Hebrew civilization, they were able to transmit at the same time that, through comments, exempt works and magnificent translations, provided their own knowledge. They were also transmitters of much of the Indian culture, from fields as far apart as storytelling and mathematics could be, which were so aptly reconciled on the banks of the Ganges to flow almost magically into those of the Tagus.

It would be very difficult for me not to mention my son Miguel Hernando de Larramendi y Martínezhere, because due to his status as an Arabist and professor at the University of Castilla-La Mancha we can add the fact that once the new Toledo School of Translators was created in 1994, he was its first director in this new journey separated by seven centuries. I am particularly pleased that the University of Castilla-La Mancha has joined as a partner in this stimulating project to make the contributions available to scholars around the world, which were made in the vast translation workshop that Toledo formed during the 12th and 13th centuries.

The experienced reader, the curious person, the specialist, will be able to appreciate how much the data model of this Virtual Library of the Old Toledo School of Translators has been enriched in relation to the previous projects I have mentioned, although at the Foundation we have the pleasure, once a project has been completed, of incorporating all the improvements made in it into the previous ones. But, what will undoubtedly be more important, will materialise in the access to the texts themselves, either digitized by us or collected by us from the Internet, to which we return, but substantially transformed through the enrichment of our descriptions and of the information that accompanies each work and each author. In this way, through Hispana, first and then Europeana and OAIster, readers all over the world will have the opportunity to read and study in detail this key chapter of the Spanish culture,, that of the West and even of the whole world.

Madrid, 26 April 2013