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Subject: Proposal for <title> element in <topicref>

<topicref> has a number of ways to express title information, but currently all are bound to specific output expressions:
        @navtitle is bound to navigation output; in addition it is an attribute, which makes it hard to process through translation workflows that need to put additional attributes on translatable content elements
        navtitle, linktext, searchtitle are elements, but all bound to specific outputs; in addition, they are all stored inside <topicmeta>, making them less accessible to authors, and more parallel to <topic>'s title alternatives, which are inside the prolog

Add a <title> element as the first, optional child of <topicref> to be parallel to <topic>; allowing easy access to a title element without adding a <topicmeta> container, and allowing a generic title to be stored without associating it with a particular output deliverable.

Potential second proposal:
It might also be useful to add a repeatable <titlealt> element inside both map's topicmeta and topic's <titlealts> element; this would provide the basis for creating output-specific alternate titles. Unfortunately we couldn't easily change the existing alternate titles to be specializations of this base element, but it could be the basis for any new specializations. For example someone could specialize to create a <print-title>, <mobile-title>, <audible-title>, etc. - whatever they find they need.

Michael Priestley, Senior Technical Staff Member (STSM)
Lead IBM DITA Architect

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