Evaluating Disability Information on the Internet

A quick stroll through The DRM Guide to Disability Resources on the Internet is enough to tell you that there are an incredible number of organizations, companies and individuals that proclaim to offer disability information and support online. While the sites we include in The DRM WebWatcher or mention in Disability Resources Monthly are limited to those which meet our selection criteria, your surfing will undoubtedly take you to many other sites. Some of these will be great resources, while others may be relatively useless, inaccurate or misleading. Some may even be dangerous scams. Here are some things to look for when visiting unfamiliar sites.
What is the site’s attitude towards people with disabilities?
Disability-related sites should respect the individuality of their visitors, and offer information that readers can use to make their own choices. Beware of pity-pot sites designed to help poor handicapped souls, and be equally concerned about extremist advocacy sites that reject all approaches but their own.
Who sponsors or funds the site?
Look for sites that are sponsored by government agencies, reputable academic institutions, or legitimate nonprofit organizations. While commercially funded sites and personal home pages can be excellent resources, beware of potential conflicts of interests. Avoid sites that do not indicate a sponsor or funding source.
Who wrote the information?
Remember, anybody can write anything on the Internet. Find out what the author’s background and qualifications are. Be wary of sites that do not provide this information.
How current is the information? When was it last updated?
Beware of sites with old information – or no dates at all.
If the site contains legal or medical information,*
See if there is an editorial board that includes independent experts. Maintain a healthy level of skepticism, and check with your own doctor or lawyer.
*For additional information: