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Subject: OASIS DITA TC Forms to Advance XML Standard for Authoring Reusable Content

OASIS DITA Technical Committee Forms to Advance XML Standard for Authoring
Reusable Content in Documents

Boston, MA, USA; 12 April 2004 -- International standards consortium, OASIS,
announced plans to advance the Darwin Information Typing Architecture
(DITA), a document creation and management specification that builds content
reuse into the authoring process. The XML architecture defined by the new
OASIS DITA Technical Committee will be used to design, write, manage, and
publish technical documentation in print and on the Web. 

"DITA embodies several interesting information architecture concepts related
to XML-based authoring and content management, including a clever
transclusion mechanism that supports document component reuse," said Robin
Cover, editor of the Cover Pages, a reference site for markup languages.
Cover has tracked the progress of DITA through several revisions and views
the decision to bring the specification into an open collaborative forum as
a very positive development. "Given the elusive Holy Grail of semantically
constrained content reuse, DITA represents a unique contribution; the
architecture deserves the attention of a wider group of reviewers and

Focusing on the 'topic' as a conceptual unit of authoring, DITA will extend
existing content markup to represent domains of specialized markup common
across sets of topics, e.g., hardware vs. software. Larger documents can be
created by aggregating topic units. Content referencing combines several
topics into a single document or allows content to be shared among topics.

"With DITA, the distinction between reusable content and reusing content
disappears," said Dave Schell, convener of the OASIS DITA Techncial
Committee. "That's because DITA's strength lies in a unified content reuse
mechanism that enables an element to replace itself with the content of a
like element elsewhere, either in the current topic or in a separate topic
that shares the same content models." 

Don Day of IBM, proposed chair of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee, added,
"DITA goes beyond standard entity reuse to allow reused content to exist in
a valid XML file with a DTD. The net result is that reused content gets
validated at authoring time, rather than at reuse time, catching problems at
their source."

By enabling definitive semantics, DITA will allow more automatable
processes, consistent authoring and better retrievability and applicability
to specific industries. Through the use of a common specification, DITA
content owners will benefit from industry support, interoperability, and
reuse of community contributions. At the same time, through specialization,
content owners will be able to address the specific requirements of their
business or industry.

OASIS DITA Technical Committee members include representatives of Arbortext,
Innodata Isogen, IBM, and others. The group brings together XML tools
vendors, consultants on Information Architectures and Content Management
Systems (CMS), and users of the DITA Document Type Definitions (DTD) and
Schemas. Participation remains open to all organizations and individuals;
OASIS will host a mail list for public comment.

Industry Support for DITA

"DITA presents an innovative solution to several thorny problems of
developing XML applications, especially in the publishing arena, and we at
Arbortext enthusiastically support the new OASIS DITA Technical Committee,"
said Paul Grosso, VP Research for Arbortext.

"DITA establishes a platform for information development that lays the
foundation for content collaboration. DITA is an XML-based architecture with
a modular design and built-in extension mechanisms that usher in a new era
of collaboration for the design, reuse, and processing of content," said
Dave A. Schell, chief strategist for IBM's information development
community, commenting on IBM's recent donation of DITA to OASIS and the
formation of an OASIS Technical Committee for DITA. 

Innodata Isogen
"Innodata Isogen finds that the DITA architecture fits very well with the
technical approaches we've used for many years in addressing our clients'
requirements for managing complex systems of modular information. We see
DITA-based solutions as a key component of robust, large-scale XML-based
information management systems - especially in global enterprises or
vertical industries where interoperability and re-use among different groups
is a requirement," said Eliot Kimber, Senior Systems Analyst, Innodata


OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards)
is a not-for-profit, global consortium that drives the development,
convergence, and adoption of e-business standards. Members themselves set
the OASIS technical agenda, using a lightweight, open process expressly
designed to promote industry consensus and unite disparate efforts. OASIS
produces worldwide standards for security, Web services, conformance,
business transactions, electronic publishing, topic maps and
interoperability within and between marketplaces. Founded in 1993, OASIS has
more than 2,500 participants representing over 600 organizations and
individual members in 100 countries. http://www.oasis-open.org

Additional information:

OASIS DITA Technical Committee

Cover Pages Technology Report:

Press contact:
Carol Geyer
Director of Communications
+1.978.667.5115 x209


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