How to use the LDSIG Design Primer
Hi! Welcome to the Layout Design Special Interest Group's Primer on layout design.
What is the LDSIG Primer?
The LDSIG Primer is a project of the Layout Design Special Interest Group (LDSIG). Special interest groups are loosely defined organizations usually associated with the National Model Railraod Association (NMRA). This Primer represents a novel publishing effort and is a "Work in Progress". The Layout Design Primer is a document intended to assist the beginning to intermediate railroad modeler become familiar with basic and advanced layout design concepts and practices. The information presented in this document is designed to:
- Help prevent beginners from making the most common mistakes in first layouts,
- Educate them about successful design alternatives for that first or second layout, and
- Present the Layout Design SIG as a primary source of advanced design information through publications and networking.
New chapters are added regularly, so please check back for additions frequently. All opinions are those of the individual authors. All text contained within is the property of the individual author. No text is to be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the author of that text.
The Primer was originaly conceived as a printed publication by a group of LDSIG members participating on an LDSIG organized e-mail list. We realized that the World Wide Web presented an oportunity to produce a document of this type, and perhaps to do so in a way which would transcend mere paper publications. The intent is to allow this document to evolve, and as rapid changes are made in the way we work on the internet, to incorporate those changes quickly - certainly more quickly than any printed document. From time to time, you may encounter errors, or statements you do not agree with. We encourage you to contact the author of that chapter directly, as this "real world" editing is essential to the nature of this document! New chapters, not already listed in the Table of Contents (TOC) may be added at any time. Chapters already in place are constantly being upgraded with new text, and hyperlinks. The next additions to the Primer will include graphics, as they are essential to showing you "how to".
How do I get around in the Primer?
The LDSIG Primer is a collection of LDSIG Wiki documents. It is arranged much like a book, with the exception that the sections and articles need not be considered linear in their arrangement. The first place to go is the Design Primer home page. Here, you will see that the Primer is organized into six sections
- The WHY of building a model railroad layout
- Types and styles of layouts
- General layout planning principles
- Detail considerations for layouts
- Special layout circumstances
- Layout design bibliography and references
Listed under each section are a number of chapters. Each chapter can be accessed directly from the TOC if there is any text in that chapter. Some chapters are "stubs" which means we need someone to author content for them (please volunteer!).
How is the Primer put together?
The LDSIG Primer is a series of documents stored in the LDSIG Wiki and written using wiki markup. Wiki markup is a simplified markup language (not unlike HTML) is easy to master.
You can move around the Primer using hyperlinks like this one linking back to the primer home page. The important thing to remember about hyperlinks is that they are not linear. Traveling between links may take you to any place on the internet. Currently, for the sake of ease of maintainence, the entire LDSIG Primer is at one location in our wiki, however there are many chapters which contain links to other sites in many different places.
The actual body of the Primer has been written by a number of volunteers, who felt like putting their own modeling experiences in writing, in order to help others derive even greater satisfaction from our hobby. Individual chapters have been assigned primarily on the basis of who volunteered to write them. Some chapters are still open and need authors, so if you're interested, please contact me (Bruce Smith email).
Once an author has written a chapter, we will put the chapter into the wiki using wiki markup, and contact the LDSIG online forum that the Primer candidate document is ready for review. Currently, every author has submitted their text electronically, but that is not a requirement. Text may be scanned or typed in if an author is interested, but doesn't have an internet connection. The review process consists of monitoring the comments to the author as written on the LDSIG fourm list, or from direct emails to the author. The author is responsible for making all decisions regarding changes to the text, and then these are incorporated into the wiki page for the online Primer. Thus, each chapter is the work of an individual, but the product of many!