Each domain specialization or structural specialization has its own design module. These modules can be combined to create many different document types. The process of creating a new document type from a specific combination of modules is called integration.

Integration is accomplished using a document type shell, which defines the modules to be integrated and how they will be integrated. Integration defines both what topic types and domains will be allowed in the document type, and how the topic types will be allowed to nest.

The module for a specific type should contain only the declarations for elements that are unique to that type, and should not embed any other modules. The shell should contain no markup declarations, and should directly reference all the modules it requires. Nesting shells or nesting modules (having shells that embed other shells, or modules that embed other modules) is discouraged since it adds complexity and may break some tools. Sharing between document types should be accomplished through shared modules, not through direct reference to any other document type. Dependencies between modules should be satisfied by the integrating shell, not through the module itself.

OASIS DITA Architectural Specification v1.0 -- 09 May 2005
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