TITLE: American Psychological Association

ACCESS: http://www.apa.org

The American Psychological Association (APA) has 52 divisions, 159,000 members, and claims to be the largest "scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States." The APA web page is crammed with information, not only about its organization, business, programs, and conferences, but also about psychological issues in the form of news, online brochures, journal articles, and other full text content. Dodging the advertising to find the free stuff, however, takes a little work.

There is something for everyone at the APA site. The main page invites psychologists, students, as well as the general public to enter the site via different portals, which market to their varied interests. And market they do. The student page, for instance, highlights the advantages of joining APA while the psychologist link focuses on online services and new products. The public site features hot topics in ten "What you need to know about" categories, providing brief reports and news on each topic. But eventually all paths lead to the sale of APA newsletters, journals, books, products or services.

Plan on spending some time at this site. The pages are cluttered with icons and headings competing for attention and can be distracting to navigate. In addition, each link leads to loads of other pages. A pair of search engines, designed to scan the APA site and related web sites, seems to promise relief, asking simply "What are you looking for?" But searching success can be limited and unpredictable. For those hoping to locate research articles, using these search engines can be frustrating.

A better path for researchers is to start with the "Site Map," discretely located in the header of all pages. Here one can easily find the "Journal Search" and "Book Search" features, which allow retrieval of full text articles and/or abstracts from dozens of APA journals and books. This page also provides a no-nonsense alphabetic display of the rest of the sites offerings. Alternatively, the "Latest News" link from the header of the main page provides a similarly direct route to research, albeit more commercial. More full text content is apparently also available with membership to APA.

This site will appeal to anyone looking for psychology news, professional development opportunities in psychology, and information about the American Psychological Association. With all the content available at this site, one is bound to find something useful.

Barbara Valentine
Linfield College

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