Introduction

The Internet Task Force (ITF) was established in April 2010 to address the need for a revised approach to use of our web site and to establish our electronic communications as a core part of the Publications Committee and the Division in general. The charge to the ITF was as follows:

  1. Survey committees and member groups in the Division to determine the Division’s needs for an Internet presence.

  2. Consider how the web site and other Internet options can provide information to our members as well as provide a positive face of psychoanalysis to the public.

  3. Determine whether the Internet Committee should be a sub-committee of the Publications Committee and how it should interface with the various Division publications.

  4. Determine whether the Division needs an Internet Editor to oversee the web site and other Internet activities.

  5. Determine what the budget requirements will be to accomplish the goals above.

Background

The Division web site has been in existence for well over 15 years and in its current iteration it has been almost that long under the direction of Larry Zelnick as chair of the Internet Committee.  It is fair to say that Larry has been a one-man operation in conjunction with a web designer for most of these years, operating with a relatively small budget and working hard to include various components to the site and adding services and new sources of information as requested by board members and others.  Most notably, a recent addition has been the ability to now register for the Spring Meeting and download information about both meetings from the site.

Over the last few years it has become increasingly clear that the web site is assuming greater importance, not only as a source of current information about Division activities and programs, but also as a source of information about psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy for our members to use in developing their own outreach projects.  In addition, there has been an increased perception that the web site also needs to become a way to attract new members to the Division, to attract, or at least inform other professionals concerning the Division and psychoanalysis, and to inform and educate the public concerning the value and efficacy of psychoanalytic theory and practice.

One last background item should be mentioned as a key aspect of why it is important to revise our use of the web site and update its capabilities at this time.  The Division newsletter has been a source for information about the Division, informing our members about the many subgroups of our Division and hopefully exciting members about the work we do and encouraging them to get more involved in our work.  With the shift to an online edition of the newsletter and a print edition of the Review, the division of labor this will entail has posed the question of how to “hold the center” of our communications with our members.  In this respect, the revision of the web site is a key aspect of keeping our members connected and our hope would be that we could devise a site that would justify the slogan, “Make Division 39 Your Home Page.”

Task Force Composition
Members of the ITF are Tanya Brown, Tamara McClintock Greenberg (co-chair), Bill MacGillivray (co-chair), Sean Murphy and Larry Zelnick, with Mary Beth Cresci, Marsha McCary and Henry Seiden as ex officio members.
Survey Findings

The ITF developed a “wish list” and asked for further contributions from board members, committee chairs, and local chapter officers. The following ideas recurred as we communicated with Division leaders:

  • Search Function: The site should have fully searchable capability. While it should have drop down menus that are clear and “clean” it should also have a “search” function that at a minimum is able to access most of the information on the site.

  • Article Search: The site needs to have the contents of the journal prominently displayed, since visitors can purchase journal articles and we make money from that! At the same time, articles form the Review and online newsletter should also be readily available.

  • Fund Raising: The Division has started a Fund for Psychoanalysis and we want to have a way to advertise this, solicit donations, thank donors, and so on.

  • Members only: There should be an improved section for “members only,: where they can access more detailed information about colleagues, including their specialty areas as well as other contacts, including web sites, blogs, Facebook sites, and so on.

  • Archives: There should be a place where reports both recent and past can be stored so that a member searching for information concerning a section or chapter, for example, can easily access this information. Also stored there could be bylaws, committee and officer directories, etc.

  • Research Section: This would provide the “toolkits” for members to address efficacy of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, links to articles, and so on, that would be of value to members as well as nonmembers.

  • Front Page:” A constantly changing front page to have relatively few items but have items “rotate” through as well as “hot” topics, e.g., relevant comment on the news from blogs that would be authored by a rotating group of Division members.  Also we need a simple and visually interesting front page that might make people linger a little longer, say rotating picture from our meetings.

  • E-mail lists and Facebook Information: We have some specialty lists started and we should start more and all this should be easily accessible from the site, perhaps under “members only.”

  • Credit Card Capability: We could consider adding the ability to take credit cards, instead of PayPal.

  • Information about PEP-WEB and other benefits of membership should be prominently displayed if anyone wants information about the Division

  • Online CE Component: Spring Meeting attendees might be able to complete satisfaction and evaluation surveys online and receive certificates that way.

Web Site and the Public
  • Public Component: There should be a way for professionals, policy makers and the general public to access reliable information about psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic research, the outreach programs that many members do, “media watch” information about items in the news of relevance to psychoanalysis, e.g., a “reply to Begley” addressing her recent Newsweek article could be housed there.

  • "Psychoanalysis in the News" A place where we could post articles that we want to comment on, ask for comment, either positive or negative. We could also "house" things there, such as "How to write a letter to the editor" and other media related information, e.g., our PowerPoint on psychoanalysis.

  • "Psychoanalysis in the Streets" Articles on programs and initiatives that take psychoanalytic ideas into the public sector either as forms of intervention or of protest.

  • Google: We need a strategy to keep the web site and its content accessible on Google and other search engines.

Internet Committee and Publications
As may be clear already, we have come to the conclusion that the Internet and web site services offered by the Division need to be seen as only one aspect of our overall communications, with the exception that the Internet will become the primary way we communicate to the general public about the Division and psychoanalysis. It makes sense to shift from having an Internet Committee to placing a new position of Internet Editor (with an editorial board or other term to describe the help the editor will need) under the overall direction of the Publications Committee. We conclude that this will be the best way to coordinate all our communications and to move away from the impossible task of having a one-man underfunded operation as we have at present.
Internet Editor

There would be two immediate tasks for this new position (if approved) of editor: 1) to hire and oversee the redesign of the web site incorporating the ideas listed above; and 2) to develop a group of assistant editors whose task would mainly involve continued oversight of various sections of the site and making sure that contributions continue to update the sections, although certain assistants might choose to take on selected tasks, such as developing and monitoring an e-mail list for early career professionals and making sure that resources for ECPs would be included in relevant sections of the newsletter. The Internet Editor would also be expected to work closely with the other editors as well as APA as APA continues to develop its web site capabilities.

As may be obvious from the example listed above, we believe that the various subgroups of the Division are uniquely qualified to take on the challenge of helping to re-develop the web site and believe that every committee, section and chapter should have a way of collaborating with the web site to keep their messages to members and the public active and relevant.

Cost Estimates
We have contacted a number of web designers to ask them to look over our “wish list,” look at our site, and come up with their own ideas and submit their estimates for working with us in redeveloping the site. We were recently told that the current web site designer, Peter Ginsberg, is not interested in being part of this redesign. He also let us know that the site will likely have to be completely rebuilt as the content management system is outdated. There is one estimate submitted so far from Martin Sarna (thanks to Nina Thomas) and it appears he would need $15,000, although I am not clear how this estimate “translates” into the capabilities we are asking for. The web designer for APsaA site, Johannes Neuer may or may not be able to have a proposal by the board meeting, but he has expressed interest. Several others backed out because the job was too big or simply have not gotten back to us.
Qualifications and Limitations
  • We may not want (or be able to afford) credit card capability.

  • It might be the case that we would need two web sites, one devoted to the ”public” face of psychoanalysis and the other for professionals, with very different capabilities.

  • The current ECP and Graduate Student e-mail lists are not on our site and they may or may not want to connect. Same with a Candidate list, which I assume exists and is for candidates at institutes. Many are not Division members and might not want to connect with our site.

  • Managing Facebook and e-mail lists is an issue that requires someone willing to monitor and ultimately falls under APA “jurisdiction” in the sense that nothing can go on there that jeopardizes APA’s 501(c)3 status and APA is very conservative in these matters.

Conclusion
  • We recommend disbanding the current Internet Committee and placing the oversight of the Internet functions of the Division under Publications Committee.

  • We recommend charging the Publications Committee with finding an Internet Editor who will then develop the ideas listed above, hire a web designer, and develop a budget proposal that will be offered in January 2011.