Chapter 7: Electronic Publications Editor

The electronic publications editor maintains the Society for Psychological Anthropology website. As the web is a rapidly evolving medium, the specific duties of the website manager will vary significantly depending on technological innovations, the manager’s expertise, and the Society’s needs.


The electronic publications editor’s primary duties are to maintain the existing website by posting updates as needed. The website currently maintains a list of officers, descriptions of upcoming meetings, both for SPA and AAA, database of sample course syllabi in psychological anthropology, instructions for listserv subscriptions, links to unpublished manuscripts in progress, and announcements of new publications of interest to psychological anthropologists. All of these have to be updated periodically, and the editor should actively seek out information on relevant changes. Staying in close communication with the SPA president is very helpful. As of this writing the SPA website is maintained on the American Anthropological Association website servers. All updates and new postings should be sent to the AAA Web Coordinator, currently Lorie VanOlst, email: [email protected]. The AAA has allocated only limited server space for the Society at not charge, so future improvements on the website may require funds from the Society.

The SPA website also includes a forum to be moderated by the electronic publications editor. Currently the forum is sponsored free of charge by a commercial company, Bravenet Web Services ( The “Forums” link on the SPA web pages takes one to the SPA forum hosted at the Bravenet website. The website editor, as moderator, has exclusive rights to amend or delete any message posted at the forum. It is the responsibility of the website editor to monitor messages posted there–email notification of any posting is available–and to assure that postings have suitable content related to issues of interest to psychological anthropologist.


Each electronic publications editor will use different tools and techniques in website design. It is important for the webmaster to be aware that SPA subscribers and others will be using a wide range of web browsers. Some of these browsers will be several years old. It is very important to check the appearance of the website by viewing it with a range of browsers–and with different versions of the same browser.

The SPA website should adhere to evolving web content accessibility guidelines for people with disabilities. These guidelines are posted at the following web address:


The website editor should also periodically consult with SPA members for suggestions on what would be the most helpful additions to the SPA site. It is the Society’s goal that over time the website will grow incrementally, that ultimately a wide range of features will be presented. As of this writing, a look at other AAA Society and Program websites shows a variety of features, some of which would be valuable additions to the SPA site:

  • awards: guidelines and recent recipients
  • graduate programs with special resources for students
  • commentary: postings of full text from AN articles
  • full information on upcoming meetings
  • postings from published book reviews
  • descriptions of funding sources for researchers
  • abstracts of recent dissertations
  • graduate student forum
  • links to online maps for use in classes
  • photographs from field areas of books used in classes
  • instructions for joining and dropping a listserv

Some of these features will be implemented as time permits. Others may serve to inspire ideas to future webmasters for future additions. In the near future we hope to implement the following new features on the SPA website:

  • directory of members with links to home pages
  • descriptions of books that have proved effective in pedagogy
  • research projects currently underway
  • descriptions of online technology techniques in teaching