Dita Authoring Plan

Overview

The DITA process and tools that will be implemented will increase output efficiency by making it easier to reuse content in a unified content strategy. The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML-based, end-to-end architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering technical information. It consists of a set of design principles for creating information-based modules at a topic level and for using that content in delivery channels such as online help and product support portals on the Web (Day, Priestley, & Schell, 2005).

With DITA, you can “write information once and use it in other formats and contexts as needed” (Rockley 274-275). The DITA process reduces the time and effort it takes to create, as well as maintain, and update information. It also facilitates faster delivery and lessens irrelevant information that can potentially be presented to customers.

The DITA process standardizes content, which increases its quality and reusability. It streamlines the content creation process by leveraging content into multiple forms, which can be reused, translated, and published to numerous formats (Samuels, 2014).

DITA Concepts

DITA Topics

The topic is the basic building block unit of DITA architecture. The information type (or “infotype”) is the category it belongs to. There are three different “infotypes”: concept, task, or reference (See Fig.1).

tumblr_p7jq27po3j1ry9jeoo1_1280.png

DITA Maps

In addition, DITA maps provide an index to these topics. By accessing the maps, you can change the order and hierarchy of topics in different books, simplifying reuse. The maps function as a “table of contents for a virtual document” where you can point to a topic multiple times in the same document and set it at different levels (e.g. chapter, section, or subsection level) in different books (Rockley 277).
Maps serve as pointers to a set of topics in particular, specifying what topics to include in a deliverable (Benz, 2010).

Maps:

  • Provide navigation
  • Specify order and hierarchy of topics
  • Point to topics, but can also point to other maps

Application for Q1-3 Features

Increased Workflow

Every business aims to increase productivity and reduce expenses. With DITA’s topics, a “clear base of common structures” is possible, so that different departments create specific structures formed from this base (Rockley 275). In turn, this reduces redundant information and promotes effective reuse. By utilizing DITA, you can write and store content in order to manage it like an asset (Day, Priestley, & Schell, 2005).

Types of Content DITA creates:

  • Manuals
  • User guides
  • Books
  • Online help
  • Training and learning documents
  • Marketing, business writing (whitepapers, articles, proposals, reports)

Our Workflow: Topics and Maps

The following diagram depicts the source topics of our DITA plan. These topics will be reused by being inserted into various company materials through differing DITA maps (See Fig.2).

tumblr_p7jq27po3j1ry9jeoo2_540.png

The diagrams depicted below are of DITA maps for three deliverables: Help File, Marketing Website, and Quick Start Guide (See Figs.3-5).

tumblr_p7jq27po3j1ry9jeoo3_1280.pngtumblr_p7jq27po3j1ry9jeoo4_1280.pngtumblr_p7jq27po3j1ry9jeoo5_1280.png

Conclusion

With DITA, you can “write information once and use it in other formats and contexts as needed” (Rockley 274-275).
DITA:

  • Reduces the time and effort it takes to create and maintain/update information
  • Facilitates quicker delivery
  • Lessens irrelevant information presented to customers, improving their satisfaction

By using an architecture such as DITA, less resources will be needlessly squandered.

References

  1. Benz, Chris. What is DITA and Why Should You Care? Learning Solutions. (2010). https://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/524/what-is-dita-and-why-should-you-care
  2. Day, Don., Priestley, Michael., and Schell, David. Introduction to the Darwin Typing Architecture. IBM developerWorks. (2001, updated 2005). https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/x-dita1/
  3. Rockley, Ann. Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy (Second Edition). Pearson. (2012).
  4. Samuels, Jacquie. Darwin Information Typing Architecture. Tech Whirl. (2014). https://techwhirl.com/what-is-dita/
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License