Primer Report

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Status report on the LD SIG Online Primer


LDSIG Primer Report

by Primer Committee Chairperson Bruce Smith September 6, 2006

1. General report on the Primer, including changes to the contents and work in progress.

The most current version of the Primer resides at:

Joe Fugate has migrated the Primer to an experimental wiki format at:

Unfortunately, the address which we were giving out for the primer, no longer works so the long form of the address is needed to get to it.

The original web version has 6 Sections with 49 Chapter titles. Of these, approximately 11 have no content and several more exist in outline form only. About 1/2 of the chapters have been unchanged since they were written in the late 1990s, although about 1/3 have been updated in the past 3 years. In particular, Nick Kalis has done a significant amount of updating and has recently offered to try to complete the unfinished chapters (Thanks Nick!). I haven’t taken Nick up on his offer yet because Joe Fugate has suggested the idea of making the Primer into a wiki. Basically, we (I and the members of the Primer Board) would maintain editorial control, but content would be open to the anyone to post directly. For example, good ideas from the LDSIG list could find their way to the wiki in minutes.

When the Primer was conceived, there were two opposing schools. One thought of the web based Primer as a place to collect articles that would then be published in classical print format. The other thought of the web based Primer as the final product, offering the flexibility of a “living document” and utilizing the non-linear multidimensional approach allowed by the web. Given the costs associated with paper publishing, the ability to reach vast numbers of people via the web and the long-term web presence of the Primer, I think it is time to decide to focus exclusively on the latter, web-based approach and the wiki is one way to do this. Joe and I are working on some details, but I am reasonably enthusiastic about the wiki based approach. This format has not been discussed with the other members of the Primer Board yet, and thus I do not feel comfortable suggesting that the LDSIG Board move to adopt it yet.

New ideas for articles continue to come in. I am working with an author right now who wrote a highly technical paper on vertical curves. It brought to a head the question of the Primer’s audience, which was originally intended to be beginners. I think that the wiki format may allow us to branch out, and create “beginner”, “intermediate” and “expert” spaces.

While I do not have a count of the number of hits on the Primer, the Primer pages are (and have been for years) in the top 10 pages served at the Auburn University's College of Vet Med. indicating that the Primer continues to be a major on-line resource.

The Primer Board currently consists of: Craig Bisgeier Nick Kalis Mike O'Brien Bruce Smith, chair Byron Henderson

2. Joint report with Webmaster Joe Fugate on migrating the Primer to the main web site (not the wiki).

I have not been working directly on this (and I do not believe that Joe has been either). If the wiki format is acceptable, it would seem to be more appropriate to migrate it in that form. The entire current primer is archived on CD and would not be lost in case of a server disaster.

Bruce Smith resigns as Chair of the Primer Committee

After serving for many years, Bruce Smith resigned as Chair of the LDSIG Primer Committee on October 31, 2006. Thanks to Bruce for successfully setting up the Primer and managing it all these years. We are now looking for another volunteer to step up and manage the Primer.

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