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On-line Diabetes Resources

By David Mendosa

Last Update: December 7, 2004

The 16 Web pages that comprise the On-line Diabetes Resources are undoubtedly the most comprehensive source of information about what is available about diabetes on the Internet and the other major on-line services. It includes links to more than 1,400 sites, all of which have a paragraph or more describing them.

The World Wide Web tricked me.

No organization does all the work of keeping this massive body of information up-to-date. It's maintained by one individual, a freelance journalist who happens to have diabetes.

I am that individual. Why would anyone keep such a comprehensive directory where people can find information about diabetes?

That's something I ask myself regularly as I update these Web pages. Keeping that directory up-to-date takes almost daily work. And it is work, even though I'm not paid for it. Writing magazine articles is what pays my bills!

Why I Started These Pages
Let me admit it right off. I was fooled. The World Wide Web tricked me. I never dreamed that it would amount to so much. Way back in the early years of the Web—in February 1995—when I started "On-line Resources for Diabetics" (as these pages were then called) the Internet had two mailing lists, two newsgroups, and two other Web sites dealing with diabetes.

The main reason why I started these Web pages was because I could see all the problems that people were having in subscribing and unsubscribing — particularly unsubscribing — to and from the mailing lists. Not everybody kept the message that they got when they subscribed, and they sometimes became frustrated when they were overwhelmed with the volume of the messages and tried in vain to unsubscribe.

They would frequently ask how to unsubscribe, something that can be very difficult without directions, but simple if you know how. That's why I called my first diabetes pages a "FAQ," which stands for frequently asked questions.

Another reason for the FAQ was to let others members of the mailing lists keep up to date with developments elsewhere in cyberspace. I just never thought that there would be so many developments!

What On-line Diabetes Resources Contains
Now, my "On-line Diabetes Resources" site lists, links, and describes about 100 mailing lists, nine newsgroups, 14 Internet Relay Chat networks, three other national services, five local bulletin board services (BBSs)—as well as about 1,400 Web sites.

"On-line Diabetes Resources" was all on one Web page for a long time. But the explosive growth of the Web dictated breaking out the Web sites. It now takes 15 separate pages to describe and link the Web sites alone. For convenience, these Web pages are divided into logical categories.

And these Web sites are just the most important ones dealing with diabetes. All the substantive sites dealing with diabetes are linked. The only ones I purposely exclude are those that have no new information about diabetes on them or are from companies that are pushing products that I remain skeptical about.

Why I Continue to Maintain These Pages
Even though it's a lot of work, keeping these Web pages about diabetes up-to-date has proven rewarding to me in non-financial ways. As a person with type 2 diabetes myself, it has helped me directly to stay in touch with the latest thinking.

Furthermore, the great number of messages people have sent me telling me how useful the site is has been psychologically rewarding. I think of it as playing my part in what Howard Rheingold calls "gift economy" of the Net: people taking what they need and giving back in some measure without expectation of profit.

How to Get There
The 16 pages of "On-line Diabetes Resources" are:

  1. Frequently Asked Questions about Mailing Lists, Usenet Newsgroups, Internet Relay Chat, and non-Internet Diabetes Resources:

  2. General—Web sites not classifiable elsewhere:

  3. Web sites of diabetes-related organizations and charities:

  4. Web sites of universities, hospitals, physicians, and research institutions:

  5. Companies that have Web sites dealing with diabetes:

  6. Publications on the Web, including diabetes-related magazines, articles, and books:

  7. Government Web sites:

  8. Personal Web sites concerned with diabetes:

  9. Web sites in languages other than English:

  10. MEDLINE resources:

  11. Diabetes Medications:

  12. Insulin:

  13. Diabetes Software:

  14. Blood Glucose Meters:

  15. Diabetic Neuropathy:

  16. Diabetic Retinopathy:

This article appeared originally in the Diabetes Digest, but is no longer on-line there.

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