Sunday, April 24, 2011
In case you haven’t noticed, our Division 39 web site, http://www.division39.org/ has changed and we are hosted within the APA site, one of the first Divisions selected to be included in the newly refurbished APA.org. Why don’t you click on the link first and then come back to this introduction.
Are you back? Great. I want to review with you what this new site means to our members, our colleagues interested in psychoanalytic psychology, and to the general public. I will also address some of the important reasons for, and implications of, allowing APA to host our web site. I want to emphasize that the web site remains “ours,” under the direction of our Publications Committee and led by our Internet Editor, Barry Cohen. Any additions, corrections, and revisions of the site are under our direction.
As you may know, the Division leadership has been concerned for a number of years about the utility and usefulness of our web site. The original architecture of the site, developed about six years ago, allowed us to do many things we were previously unable to do. Our need for the web site, however, swiftly outpaced its capabilities. During this time, Larry Zelnick performed yeoman’s labor in keeping the site updated (on a yeoman’s budget at that!). He added, for example, capability to register for the Spring Meeting, to download the program booklet, but also to submit panel and paper proposals online to present at the Spring Meeting. This latter addition is a “first,” as no other Division has been offered APA services to accept conference proposals. While we were aware for years that we could not continue on a shoestring budget, it was only in the last year or so that the Division Board requested a complete overhaul of the web site.
The Internet Task Force completed its mission in August 2011 and two important recommendations were adopted 1) to place the web site under the responsibility of the Publications Committee; and 2) to search for an Internet Editor who would oversee the re-development of the site. The general recommendation of the task force was to make the web site another publication of the Division, that is, to contain updated information important to our members, our colleagues, and the public on a regular basis. (During the recent bylaws balloting, our members approved this restructuring by an overwhelming margin.) For members who do not know about web sites, there are two major costs: 1) the design of the site; and 2) the placement of the site on the Internet so that it is easily accessible. Although web sites can be set up quite inexpensively, their usefulness is accordingly limited. The Task Force concluded that an initial investment of $25,000 would be necessary to redo the site, with far more costs to come.
Imagine our surprise when Larry Zelnick, in his new role as member of Committee on Division-APA Relations (CODAPAR), learned of an opportunity for Divisions to join their web sites to the new APA site. Larry quickly got our Division to the “front of the line.” As a result, there will be no cost to the Division for any use of the APA site to host virtually unlimited information about the Division and about psychoanalytic psychology. No cost! There are a few things APA will not do, such as manage a separate directory or allow online financial transactions (such as new member applications); but that’s it.
Excited? There is more to come. In the next few months, APA will be able to offer additional services, spaces on the web site for committees, privately or publicly, for example, to discuss their work and goals. Individual members will also be able to post information. More on that later.
And as the game show host exclaims, “That’s not all, folks!” By hosting our Division on the APA site, we not only have access to tremendous resources of APA, but our site will now be easily accessible to anyone visiting APA’s site. Any APA member, but also any member of the public, as they search for information, will be able to access information about psychoanalytic psychology. You may or may not know that the APA site is heavily used by the public for information about mental illness, emotional problems, and so on. What this means is that when a member of the public types in “depression” on APA Search, we now have the opportunity to get information about psychoanalytic perspectives on depression to the public.
While there are significant advantages in having APA host our site, it is important to note that the Division remains fully independent in terms of content. The information on the site is the responsibility of the Publications Committee under Henry Seiden and will be managed by our Internet Editor, Barry Cohen, both of whom worked tirelessly with Larry Zelnick to get the site up and running for the last few months.
Now, I hope all that is exciting, but it will not be all that exciting if we do not have interesting, informative, and challenging content. This is an opportunity to better communicate with our members, but that depends upon YOU: committee chairs, section representatives, local chapter presidents, and newsletter editors. These Division/Section/Chapter leaders need to get their information onto the site in order to keep the site updated and lively. We also need information about psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy that is relevant and up to date. We need information about our members’ outreach and social responsibility efforts to keep Division 39 “in the news.” So who contributes to the success of the web site: YOU DO.
Our Internet Editor, Barry Cohen, who will work to keep the web site as up to date and interesting as possible. Please contact him with your ideas, suggestions and, if needed, corrections (it’s a big site and errors may creep in from time to time). And finally, make Division 39 your new home page!