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Subject: RE: [dita] Topic type versus information type

Do we have user-friendly definitions for these somewhere?
For a dense, highly-technical definition, read the first paragraph after this one. For something lighter, try the second paragraph ...
An information type is a class of representations of information, in which the information represented has common properties. In the case of XML fragments, the rules for membership in the class must be based at least in part on what hierarchies of elements are permitted. In the case of non-XML representations, the rules for membership typically are based upon the operations that can be performed on the representation, such as: for a graphic, rendering; for a multimedia object, play, pause, stop, and adjust volume.
A topic type is an information type consisting of topics or their specializations. In the DITA specification, I originally was thinking of topic as being the structure called topic and its specializations. Erik Hennum has been using topic to mean anything standalone, in which case practically any large-enough fragment would qualify, which blurs the distinction considerably but does not entirely eliminate it.
Best wishes,
-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Priestley [mailto:mpriestl@ca.ibm.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 15, 2006 9:41 AM
To: Paul Prescod
Cc: dita@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: Re: [dita] Topic type versus information type

I believe they are close but not exact. Typically topic types are information types (eg concept, task, reference), and topic-level information types are often the main focus of an information architecture design, but other information types are above or below the topic level (for example, tutorial is an information type that may consist of multiple topic types; and within the task topic type, the context and steps may be regarded as information types).

Hence the decision to use "topic type" throughout the standard, once the relationship between topic types and information types has been established.

Michael Priestley
IBM DITA Architect and Classification Schema PDT Lead

"Paul Prescod" <paul.prescod@xmetal.com>

06/15/2006 08:53 AM

[dita] Topic type versus information type

Are the phrases "topic type" and "information type" synonyms?

Paul Prescod

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