Purpose of DITA maps

DITA maps enable the scalable reuse of content across multiple contexts. They can be used by information architects, writers, and publishers to plan, develop, and deliver content.

DITA maps support the following uses:

Defining an information architecture
Maps can be used to define the topics that are required for a particular audience, even before the topics themselves exist. DITA maps can aggregate multiple topics for a single deliverable.
Defining what topics to build for a particular output
Maps reference topics that are included in output processing. Information architects, authors, and publishers can use maps to specify a set of topics that are processed at the same time, instead of processing each topic individually. In this way, a DITA map can serve as a manifest or bill of materials.
Defining navigation
Maps can define the online navigation or table of contents for a deliverable.
Defining related links
Maps define relationships among the topics they reference. These relationships are defined by the nesting of elements in the DITA map, relationship tables, and the use of elements on which the @collection-type attribute is set. On output, these relationships might be expressed as related links or the hierarchy of a table of contents (TOC).
Defining an authoring context
The DITA map can define the authoring framework, providing a starting point for authoring new topics and integrating existing ones.
Defining keys
Maps can define keys, which provide an indirect addressing mechanism that enhances portability of content. The keys are defined by <topicref> elements or specialization of <topicref> elements, such as <keydef>. The <keydef> element is a convenience element; it is a specialized type of a <topicref> element with the following attributes:
  • A required @keys attribute
  • A @processing-role attribute with a default value of "resource-only".
Maps also are the context for resolving key-based references, such as elements that specify the @keyref or @conkeyref attribute.

Specialized maps can provide additional semantics beyond those of organization, linking, and indirection. For example, the subjectScheme map specialization adds the semantics of taxonomy and ontology definition.

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