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Subject: OASIS TC Call for Participation: DITA TC

A new OASIS technical committee is being formed. The OASIS Darwin 
Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Technical Committee has been 
proposed by the following members of OASIS: Paul Grosso, Arbortext; Indi 
Liepa, Nokia; Eliot Kimber, Innodata-ISOGEN; Don Day, Michael Priestley, 
and Dave Schell, IBM; and France Baril, JoAnn Hackos, Debbie Aleyne 
Lapeyre, and Paul Antonov, Individual members.

The proposal for a new TC meets the requirements of the OASIS TC Process 
(see http://oasis-open.org/committees/process.shtml), and is appended to 
this message. The TC name, statement of purpose, scope, list of 
deliverables, audience, and language specified in the proposal will 
constitute the TC's charter. The TC Process allows these items to be 
clarified (revised); such clarifications (revisions), as well as 
submissions of technology for consideration by the TC and the beginning 
of technical discussions, may occur no sooner than the TC's first meeting.

As specified by the OASIS TC Process, the requirements for becoming a 
member of the TC at the first meeting are that you must 1) be an 
employee of an OASIS member organization or an Individual member of 
OASIS; 2) notify the TC chair of your intent to participate at least 15 
days prior to the first meeting; and 3) attend the first meeting of the 
TC. For OASIS members, to register for the TC using the OASIS 
collaborative tools, go to the TC's public web page at 
http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/dita and click on the button for 
"Join This TC" at the top of the page. You may add yourself to the 
roster of the TC either as a Prospective Member (if you intend to become 
a member of the TC) or an Observer. A notice will automatically be sent 
to the TC chair, which fulfills requirement #2 above.

OASIS members may also join the TC after the first meeting. Note that 
membership in OASIS TCs is by individual, and not by organization.

Non-OASIS members may read the TC's mail list archive, view the TC's web 
page, and send comments to the TC using a web form available on the TC's 
web page; click the "Send A Comment" button. The archives of the TC's 
mail list and public comments are visible at 

Further information about the topic of this TC may be found on the Cover
Pages under "Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)" at 


Karl F. Best
Vice President, OASIS
office  +1 978.667.5115 x206     mobile +1 978.761.1648
karl.best@oasis-open.org      http://www.oasis-open.org

Name of the Technical Committee

OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Technical Committee

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee (TC) is to define and 
maintain the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) and to 
promote the use of the architecture for creating standard information 
types and domain-specific markup vocabularies.

DITA is specializable, which allows for the introduction of specific 
semantics for specific purposes without increasing the size of other 
DTDs, and which allows the inheritance of shared design and behavior and 
interchangeability with unspecialized content.

More specific semantics allow

* more automatable processes
* more consistent authoring
* better retrievability
* better applicability to specific groups

The work of this TC will differ from similar efforts such as DocBook 
because of

* broader scope, inasmuch as DITA applies to more areas than just 
technical manuals
* more specific scope, inasmuch as DITA applies to topic-oriented 
information rather than all technical manuals

Scope of Work

The TC will create specifications for the Darwin Information Typing 
Architecture suitable for submitting for balloting by OASIS membership 
for OASIS standard status.

DITA is an XML-based specification for modular and extensible 
topic-based information. DITA provides a model for defining and 
processing new information types as specializations of existing types.

DITA populates the model with an extensible hierarchy of standard types. 
DITA encourages reuse by reference either of topics or of fragments of 
topics. DITA topics

* can be assembled in different combinations for many deliverables or 
output formats
* are optimized for navigation and search
* are well suited for concurrent authoring and content management

Through use of a common specification, DITA content owners can benefit 
from industry support, interoperability, and reuse of community 
contributions. At the same time, through specialization, content owners 
can address the specific requirements of their business or industry.

This committee builds upon the foundation established by the work of IBM 
on DITA.

The tasks of the TC include

* To articulate the principles of the DITA architecture through formal 
* To assess the relationship of DITA specialization to emerging XML 
standards (such as the ontology initiatives associated with the Semantic 
* To define appropriate enhancements of the architecture
* To standardize the information types in the DITA type hierarchy
* To encourage cooperation within and between the various topical 
domains of potential DITA users. It is anticipated that, in addition to 
the common information elements provided in the base specification, 
specific communities of users may develop additional, specialized type 
hierarchies of particular relevance to their use cases. The TC may 
choose to recognize new information types or domain specializations 
where a new specialization provides a standard solution for a 
well-established need, has broad support, does not conflict with 
existing types, and serves as a useful base for additional 
specialization. For example, the concept, task, and reference 
information types do so for the user assistance community. The TC 
anticipates maintaining a set of core information types of general 
utility, implemented in schema languages (such as DTD or XML Schema) 
selected by the TC. Recognized types may also be maintained by other 
groups (including other OASIS TCs).
* To design a generic methodology for specialized extensions of the base 
specification by user communities. This methodology may address issues 
such as delivery of a reference implementation, operation of a public 
registry for specializations, suggested guidelines for development of a 
user community’s information types, and so forth. When the above tasks 
are completed, the TC may reconsider further work, which will be defined 
as allowed by the OASIS TC Process.

List of Deliverables

Within three months of the first meeting, the existing DITA 
specification will be contributed to OASIS by its author, will be 
further developed by the TC and approved as a Committee Draft, and then 
submitted to OASIS for consideration as an OASIS Standard. The 
specification consists of

* a formal definition of the rules for creating new information type and 
domain specializations through specialization
* the DTDs and XML Schemas for the initial DITA information type, 
domain, and map specializations
* a processing model description that defines standard usage of the DITA 

Within six months of the first meeting, the TC will seek to encourage 
specific specialized extensions of the DITA specification, as well as 
these deliverables:

* guidelines and methodologies for the development of DITA 
specializations by a user community
* a possible specification of a standards-based public registry or 
repository for such DITA specializations or a method for creating or 
federating such resources

The TC may consider the creation of subcommittees where there is an 
immediate interest in developing specialized extensions, but it is also 
anticipated that such extensions could be adopted locally and informally 
within specific information exchange communities

One year after producing the first DITA Committee Draft, the TC will 
produce a new major revision of DITA including

* evolution of the DITA architecture to address issues such as 
namespaces, type unification, extension by addition, and extensible 
* formal specifications of all aspects of the DITA architecture with 
primers, use cases, and scenarios
* maintenance of the earlier DITA types
* addition to the base specification of those new DITA information types 
that appear from specialized uses to have general utility
* a continuing methodology for the harvesting and incorporation of 
additional, useful types into the base specification

Anticipated Audience

* Writers of other specifications that could benefit from DITAs 
specialization model or other aspects of its architecture;
* Vendors offering XML authoring or development products;
* XML architects and developers who design and write XML applications;
* Information developers and information architects



The following is non-normative text for the purpose of setting up the TC:

Identification of similar or applicable work

DITA is an enabling technology that has potential relationships with 
many other activities. It is compatible with ISO topic maps, although 
DITA’s use of the word “topic” is considerably more constrained than in 
that standard, and DITA maps use structuring principles specifically 
designed to support specialization. It supports semantic web 
initiatives, inasmuch as DITA both enables rich semantic markup and 
provides a taxonomy for semantics through its type and domain 
hierarchies. It is compatible with ontological efforts in general, 
inasmuch as DITA maps are a way of describing the relationships among 
topics, and can be used to describe multiple ontologies across the same 
topic sets.

Because DITA is a constrained architecture dealing specifically with 
topics and relationships among topics, it does not directly impact more 
general activities. However, DITA topics are ideal candidates for 
participation in semantic web relationships, and DITA maps can be 
excellent sources for the description of these relationships.

The work of the OASIS DocBook TC is similar or applicable.

The proposed work is different from DocBook in that DITA is 
topic-oriented, which lends itself to different uses than DocBook. Topic 
orientation allows the separation of content (specific topics) from 
context (including links to other topics, context-specific metadata, 
navigation, and print hierarchies.

The DITA TC will identify liaisons with other committees or groups doing 
related work to investigate points of common interest. Additionally, the 
TC may have some coordinated activities with the DocBook TC focusing on 
interoperability of content in the two formats.

Optionally, a list of contributions of existing technical work

The proposers anticipate that IBM will contribute a starter set of 
information types, formal definitions of four domains, five document 
types, two maps, and several common modules.

See the table below for a list of the current DITA DTDs, schemas, and 
related documentation. Additional information concerning these 
materials, along with some IBM proprietary materials that are not being 
contributed, can be found at 
http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/library/x-dita1/index.html .

Other contributions within the scope of the TC will also be considered.

The date and time of the first meeting

4 May 2004, 11am ET, a teleconference to be hosted by IBM

The projected on-going meeting schedule

11 EST each Tuesday for 1 hour, for the year following formation of the 
TC; hosted by IBM


Paul Grosso <pgrosso@arbortext.com>,  Arbortext
Indi Liepa <indi.liepa@nokia.com>, Nokia
Eliot Kimber <ekimber@innodata-isogen.com>, Innodata-ISOGEN
Don Day <dond@us.ibm.com>, IBM
Michael Priestley <mpriestl@ca.ibm.com>, IBM
France Baril <France.Baril@ixiasoft.com>, individual
JoAnn Hackos <JoAnn.Hackos@Comtech-Serv.com>, individual
Debbie Aleyne Lapeyre <dalapeyre@mulberrytech.com>, individual
Dave Schell <dschell@us.ibm.com>, IBM
Paul Antonov <apg@syntext.com>, individual

TC Convener

Dave Schell

Proposed Chair

Don Day

Attachment: Table of current DITA DTDs, schemas, and related documentation

                    Unit DTDs                Schemas
                    -------------------      ----------------
Information types		
   topic            topic.mod                topic.mod
   concept          concept.mod              concept.mod
   task             task.mod                 task.mod
   reference        reference.mod            reference.mod

   highlighting     highlight-domain.mod     highlight-domain.mod
   programming      programming-domain.mod   programming-domain.mod
   software         software-domain.mod      software-domain.mod
   user interfaces  ui-domain.mod            ui-domain.mod

Document types
(integrate domains and information types)		
   topics           topics.dtd               topic.xsd
   concepts         concept.dtd              concept.xsd
   tasks            tasks.dtd                tasks.xsd
   reference        reference.dtd            reference.xsd
   mixed            ditibase.dtd             ditabase.xsd

   base             map.dtd	
   book-specialized book.dtd	

Common modules		
   metadata         meta_xml.mod             meta_xml.mod
   CALS tables      tbl_xml.mod              tbl_xml.mod
   standard XML attributes                   xml.xsd

Related documentation:

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