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Subject: Re: [dita] The whatever-we-call-it factor

I also like what Bob has begun. It’s a point that I also emphasize when I
teach and talk about DITA. I did so at an STC presentation on Tuesday.
DITA allows one to build a database of content at many levels of
abstraction. That database can profitabilty be manipulated to yield all
sorts of valuable relationships that may affect output opportunities at
the end. 

Great start.

JoAnn T. Hackos, PhD
Comtech Services Inc.
710 Kipling Street, Suite 400
Denver, CO 80215


CIDM will be hosting the Content Management Strategies/DITA North America
2015 conference in Chicago, Illinois April 20-22, 2015. More information

On 3/12/15, 4:36 AM, "Dr. Stanley Doherty" <stan@modularwriting.com> wrote:

>Hi Bob --
>I like your approach very very much. When I teach DITA, I emphasize that
>transformed output is not the "thing" by which we measure the success or
>integrity of a DITA implementation. Your "information network" thingie
>would give me a term for the DITA gestalt prior to it being transformed
>into anything. 
>Hail "thingies"!! (or whatever we call it)
>I have done a preliminary reading of the Linking topic cluster and
>Eliot's email that we discussed last Tuesday. First, I believe that it's
>appropriate to address the facets of DITA linking in a central place. It
>is the linking that transforms a collection of resources into a useful
>DITA whatever-we-call-it. There is enough complexity that a unified
>discussion is needed to furnish context for the normative parts of the
>This "whatever-we-call-it" nomenclature is annoying, and I promise not
>use again. But it emerged because the spec is a headless description of
>DITA. It never really says what a DITA something-or-the-other is. One
>consequence of this shortcoming is that there is no foundation to furnish
>context when explaining DITA structure.
>When I was a technical writer one of the most effective ways I found for
>getting information from people was to just make something up, and then
>ask them to approve it. In that spirit, I offer this attempt give the
>DITA spec its head.
>DITA is an XML vocabulary for creating content and then aggregating it
>and other resources into a structured information network. Information
>networks get created for some purpose. For example, an author could
>create a DITA information network that includes all of the content and
>structure necessary to publish a user guide for some product.
>All relationships among resource entities that contribute to a DITA
>information network are expressed through a combination of XML-element
>containment (native structural relationships) and DITA linking-attribute
>values. An information-network?s native structure is primarily defined
>through the hierarchical arrangement of linking-elements contained within
>DITA maps. Other forms of DITA linking allow a variety of non-structural
>content relationships to be expressed.
>Typically, a DITA information network starts within a specific DITA map.
>A DITA map that serves in this capacity is known as a root map. A DITA
>map that serves as a root map in one information network could also serve
>as an information subnetwork in another information network. However,
>such a DITA map would necessarily lose its status as a root map in that
>subordinate context because it would no longer be the entry point for
>that information network.
>DITA information networks typically contain independent information
>subnetworks. These subnetworks are bound together through the use of
>linking elements within DITA maps. In some cases, these information
>subnetworks express useful relationships that do not contribute to an
>information network?s native structure. The following DITA constructs are
>examples of that: subject scheme, relationship tables, and key
>An information network may be also be constrained through filtering. With
>filtering, one or more ditaval documents specify the filtering-conditions
>to be applied, and selection-attribute values within DITA topics and DITA
>maps bind filtering-conditions to content.
>Best Regards,
>Bob Thomas
>+1 720 201 8260
>Skype: bob.thomas.colorado
>Instant messaging: Gmail chat (bob.thomas@tagsmiths.com) or Skype
>Time zone: Mountain (GMT-7)

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