DITA maps are documents that collect and organize references to DITA topics to indicate the relationships among the topics. They can also serve as outlines or tables of contents for DITA deliverables and as build manifests for DITA projects.
DITA maps represent the architecture of an information set – what topics are needed, in what order or relationships, to support a particular set of user goals or other requirements.
Maps describe the context in which the topics will be read – the audience, platform, relationships, requirements of the information set. In this way, the topics themselves become relatively context-free, and can be more easily used and reused in many different contexts, as defined by maps.
Maps draw on a rich set of existing best practices and standards for defining information models, such as hierarchical task analysis. They also support the definition of non-hierarchical relationships, such as matrices and groups, which provide a set of capabilities that has some similarities to RDF and ISO topic maps.
A map file references one or more DITA topic files using <topicref> elements. The <topicref> elements can be nested or otherwise organized to reflect the desired relationships between the referenced topics. Map files need to have a file extension of .ditamap to be processed properly
OASIS DITA Architectural Specification v1.0 -- 09 May 2005
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