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Subject: RE: [dita] C/T/R Not Universal (was problem with packaging of glossaries)

Thank you for the publishing world specialization examples.

You ones you mention -- article, sub-section, and so on -- are, as you say,
container specializations rather than what I would call semantic
specializations, since they are not intended to model or constrain the type
of subject matter they contain. This is entirely understandable in the
publishing realm, which must find commonalities not in subject matter, which
changes very frequently, but in how that subject matter is packaged: as
articles, as collections of articles, as sidebars, as bylines, and so on.

In the BusDocs SC, we've been focusing on semantic specializations, since we
believe these are the ones of most immediate value to business users, who
are looking for commonalities in subject matter: value propositions,
functional specifications, policies, and so on. As such, the semantics of
the existing concept, task, and reference topic types can be applied more or
less easily to business content.


-----Original Message-----
From: ekimber [mailto:ekimber@reallysi.com] 
Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 12:14 PM
To: dita
Cc: 'Bruce Nevin (bnevin)'; 'Michael Boses'; tgrantham@timgrantham.com;
'Michael Priestley'; 'JoAnn Hackos'; rockley@rockley.com
Subject: Re: [dita] C/T/R Not Universal (was problem with packaging of

On 8/24/09 10:31 AM, "Tim Grantham" <tgrantham@timgrantham.com> wrote:

> You write:
>> Concept, task and reference are not "universal". There are many uses 
>> of
> DITA for which they
>> are completely irrelevant.
> Some examples, please?

In traditional publishing content, such as trade books or novels or
magazines, the distinction between "concept" and other stuff is not one that
is generally recognized or useful.

In addition, the concept topic type is too constrained to use as a base for
new specializations that are specific to publishing applications. In
particular, the requirement in concept that sections cannot be followed by
non-sections is too restrictive for many publishing applications, where
potentially non-sensical structures must be accommodated.

In short, for Publishers, what is needed is a very generic container for
content that can be augmented with more or less sophisticated metadata,
domains, and used in more-or-less specialized map structures. These
containers can of course serve as the base for more-constrained specialized
topic types as appropriate.

In this context, the notion that some content is "conceptual" where other
content is task or reference is not a useful notion and there's no point in
making information architects make the distinction artificially.

Of course, within the publishing context there is information that is
strictly reference (e.g., nature guides) and information that is purely task
(e.g., training and operation publications) but most publications don't make
the distinction that clearly and don't need to. For a nature guide
application I would combine the generic topic types listed below with
specializations of reference developed for a specific reference publication
or type of reference info (e.g., a bird guide reference entry, a city guide
reference entry, etc.).

In addition, Publishing applications have to accommodate a much greater
degree of arbitrary structures where even the constraint imposed by concept
is inappropriate.

So using concept as a base for all topic types that are clearly not task or
reference just doesn't help in this context.

In the DITA for Publishers project, based on work I've done with a number of
publishers and different document types represented using DITA-based markup,
including test prep manuals, financial standards, government-published
reports, trade books, and magazines of various sorts, I've developed these
basic topic types, specialized from topic. In each case, the body content of
these topic types is the same: completely generic and unconstrained (that
is, they all re-use unspecialized topic/body as their body element).

The topic types are:

article: An article in a serial publication
chapter: A chapter in a book-type publication
part:    A part in a book-type publication
sidebar: An out-of-line titled component
subsection: A nestable subdivision within a higher-level division (e.g.,
within a chapter, article, sidebar, etc.

Combined with the more generic and flexible pubmap domain and unspecialized
topics as a fallback, these topic types enable representation of essentially
any publication. You can see examples of this in the samples areas of both
the DITA4Publishers project and the DITA2InDesign project.



Eliot Kimber | Senior Solutions Architect | Really Strategies, Inc.
email:  ekimber@reallysi.com <mailto:ekimber@reallysi.com>
office: 610.631.6770 | cell: 512.554.9368 2570 Boulevard of the Generals |
Suite 213 | Audubon, PA 19403 www.reallysi.com <http://www.reallysi.com>  |
http://blog.reallysi.com <http://blog.reallysi.com> | www.rsuitecms.com

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