Each DITA glossary topic defines a single sense of one term. Besides identifying the term and providing a definition, the topic can identify related terms.
Defining terminology is helpful to the writer so a team of writers can use the same term for the same thing. The reader can also get an explanation of unfamiliar terminology. More generally, identification of the things described by the content encourages more precise treatment of those subjects. Glossary topics can be assembled by authors or processes to create glossaries for various purposes, including books, Web sites, or development projects.
The <glossentry> element is the top-level element for a DITA glossary topic. Every glossary topic contains a <glossterm> and a <glossdef> element and optional <related-links>.
Where a term has multiple senses, the writer should create multiple topics with the same term in the <glossterm> element but different definitions in the <glossdef> element. A process can collate and group glossary entries by term when generating formatted output. Note that definitions with the same term in one language can have different terms in other languages, so translation can result in different collation and grouping of the same set of glossary entries.
Here is an example of a simple glossary entry:
<glossentry id="ddl"> <glossterm>Data Definition Language</glossterm> <glossdef>A language used for defining database schemas.</glossdef> </glossentry>
To create a glossary, authors can group multiple entries together either by authoring in a single document under a container topic using the ditabase document type (ditabase.dtd/ditabase.xsd), or by referencing the glossary topics in a map, or by using an automated process, for example electing glossary topics from a repository based on the <term> markup in a particular collection of topics.
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OASIS DITA Version 1.1 Architectural Specification -- Committee Specification, 31 May 2007
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