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Subject: Fwd: Metadata in DITA

Some thoughts from Fabrice at Antidot ...


Kristen James Eberlein
Chair, OASIS DITA Technical Committee
Principal consultant, Eberlein Consulting
+1 919 682-2290; kriseberlein (skype)

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Metadata in DITA
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2016 08:04:57 +0200
From: Fabrice LACROIX <lacroix@antidot.net>
To: kris@eberleinconsulting.com

Hello Kristen,
I hope you had a safe trip back.
Following our rapid conversation in Montreal, here are some notes and personal insights about metadata and DITA.

Real use cases and demands from our clients (even if names used here for examples are fictional):

- As a user, I am reading the book « Installation Manual of DITA-CMS version 4.2 » and I want to switch to the same manual for version 4.3.

- As a user, I am reading the Japanese version of « DITA-CMSバージョン4.2のインストールマニュアル » and I want to switch to the English version of the manual.

Simple question: how does Fluid Topics know with standard DITA that two books (maps) are different variants of the same « conceptual » manual?

We miss in DITA a conceptual model for describing how documents relate with each other. The particular case described above makes me think about FRBR (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_Requirements_for_Bibliographic_Records). We can see here that DITA was design with static publication in mind and that « topics and maps » would not be used otherwise. 
It’s interesting to see that CCMSes like IXIASOFT have this information (particularly with DRM in their case) but don’t export this information in maps because nothing allows to do so. If CCMSes were to export this information, they would all do it in a specific way, each one using a personal set of metadata, which is exactly what we don’t want.

I have also an other remark on the subject:  Why does DITA reinvent its own set of metadata and taxonomy mechanism (namely subject scheme).
It would make more sense to leverage existing standard vocabularies (such as Dublin Core), and SKOS for taxonomies.
It’s not a good sign for a standard to show a « not invented here » syndrome :-)

I hope that the DITA TC will pay attention to this critical subject and we would be happy to help.

Kind regards,

Fabrice Lacroix  |  lacroix@antidot.net |  Cell: +33 607 408 771 
Fluid Topics - Enter the age of limitless technical content delivery | www.fluidtopics.com | @fluidtopics | Linkedin

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