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Subject: Referencing and referenced element -- trying to avoid the adjectivessource and target

Hi, Kara.

Thanks for chiming in here. We are trying to avoid using the terms "source" and "target" for the following reasons:
  • They are overloaded terms
  • Two of our primary constituencies -- XML architects and technical communicators -- use the terms in opposing ways. For example, writers familiar with the concept of single sourcing immediately think of the DITA element that contains the content as being the source element, while XML architects consider the element that is addressing the element with the content to be the source element.

    This doesn't mean that we need to completely remove the terms source and target from our vocabulary, but we do need to be very careful with how we use them. This is also further complicated with the advent of conref push in DITA 1.2 ... Primarily, I think we need to avoid ever using source or target adjectivally.
Can you offer us feedback as to the wisdom of using examples? I think my e-mail using examples probably came through on the list after you responded. I've edit your proposal to include examples--see below:

referencing element
An element that targets another DITA element by using an addressing attribute. See also referenced element.
The following <step> element is a referencing element. It uses the @conref attribute to reference a <step> element in the installation-reuse.dita topic.
<step conref="installation-reuse.dita#reuse/run-startcmd-script>
referenced element
An element that is the target of another DITA element. See also referencing element.
The following code sample is from the installation-reuse.dita topic. The <step> element that it contains is a referenced element; other DITA topics reference the <step> element by using the @conref attribute.
<step id="run-startcmd-script">
	<cmd>Run the startcmd script that is applicable to your operating-system environment.</cmd>
addressing attribute
One of the following attributes, which are used by a referencing element to target a referenced element:
  • @ conkeyref
  • @conref
  • @href
  • @keyref


Kristen James Eberlein
Principal consultant, Eberlein Consulting
Secretary, OASIS DITA Technical Committee
Charter member, OASIS DITA Adoption Committee
+1 919 682-2290; keberlein (skype)

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