Karina van Dalen-Oskam


Karina van Dalen-Oskam (PhD), head of the department of Literary Studies / Textual Scholarship at Huygens ING, was the leader of  the Textlab work package of Alfalab. One of the aims of Textlab is to enhance the web based edition tool eLaborate, developed at the Huygens ING, and make it available and usable for a wider group of humanities scholars in combination with other tools for humanities research.

Karina studied Dutch Language and Literature at Utrecht University, focussing on Medieval Dutch language and literature, onomastics (name studies) and Old Germanic languages. After graduating, she worked as a lexicographer on the Dictionary of Early Middle Dutch (http://gtb.inl.nl/?owner=VMNW) at the Dutch Institute for Lexicology in Leyden. Next to her full-time job as a lexicographer, she wrote her PhD thesis of literary and linguistic studies about Jecob van Maerlant’s Rijmbijbel (‘Rhyming Bible’) and got her doctoral degree of Leyden University in 1997. In 2002, she transferred to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), first as the head of department of Dutch Language and Literary Studies at the Netherlands Institute of Information Sciences (NIWI). In 2005, she started as a research leader of the department of ICT & Texts at Huygens Instituut – KNAW. SInce 1 July 2011 she is head of the department of Literary Studies / Textual Scholarship at Huygens ING.

She is an active researcher in digital humanities, and widely published. Currently she focusses on two topics. In her research of medieval manuscripts, she tries to develop new methods and techniques to get insight in the way medieval scribes behaved in their copying of texts. Which freedoms did scribes allow themselves, and did these freedoms differ for different text genres, for different audiences, etc.? We know many scribes changed the spelling of their exemplars when copying them, but also that they did more than that. Can we find a way to visualize the amount of divergence in comparing different copies of the same text?

She has named the other topic of her interest ‘comparative literary onomastics’, which is a new and developing subdiscipline of Onomastics. Her aim here is to find methods and techniques which will enable different scholars studying the usage and functions of names in literary texts to compare their results and to get a broader view of how names as a stylistic element are used in texts. This explicitly includes, next to comparisons between genres, oeuvres, and time periods, comparisons between languages. For this research, her own corpus consists of modern Dutch novels.

For both topics, she closely interacts with scholars in other countries working in related topics.

Next to her own research, Karina leads several research and development projects at Huygens ING. The main project she is responsible for is eLaborate in combination with Textlab. She gives presentations and instructions about these tools, and develops the vision behind the new directions to be taken in close collaboration with Ronald Haentjens Dekker, leader of the development team at Huygens Instituut.

Karina’s complete list of publications can be found at http://www.huygens.knaw.nl/vandalen.