The <topicsubject> element identifies the subjects covered by a topic or map.

In order to identify a primary subject, refer to the subject with the <topicsubject> itself, using the keys or The subjects can be identified by keys (if defined in the scheme) or, if the subject definition topic exists, by href (as with ordinary topic references).

Additional secondary subjects can be specified by nested <subjectref> elements.


Note: These models represent only the default document types distributed by OASIS. Actual content models will differ with each new document type.
Doctype Content model
classifyMap ( (topicmeta) (optional) then (data or data-about or subjectref or topicref or (topicsubject or topicapply) or (anchorref or keydef or mapref or topicgroup or topichead or topicset or topicsetref) ) (any number) )

Contained by

Doctype Content model
classifyMap map, topicref, relcolspec, relcell, topichead, topicgroup, anchorref, topicset, topicsetref, keydef, topicsubject, topicapply, topicCell, subjectCell


+ map/topicref classify-d/topicsubject


In the following example, the map is classified as covering Linux as the primary subject; the topic "Developing web applications" also covers the secondary web and development subjects. These subjects (and their keys) are defined externally in a subject scheme map; in order to reference the subject directly without the subject scheme map, the href attribute would be used in place of keyref.

  <title>Working with Linux</title>
  <topicsubject keyref="linux"/>
  <!-- ... -->
  <topicref href="webapp.dita" navtitle="Developing web applications">
      <subjectref keyref="web"/>
      <subjectref keyref="development"/>
    <!-- ... -->
  <!-- ... -->


Name Description Data Type Default Value Required?
navtitle Specifies the title of the topic as it will appear in the navigation or tables of contents that are generated from the map. Beginning with DITA 1.2, the preferred way to specify the navigation title in a map is with the navtitle element, available inside the topicmeta element. CDATA #IMPLIED No
href A pointer to the resource represented by the <topicref>. See The href attribute for detailed information on supported values and processing implications. References to DITA content cannot be below the topic level: that is, you cannot reference individual elements inside a topic. References to content other than DITA topics should use the format attribute to identify the kind of resource being referenced. CDATA #IMPLIED No
keys Introduces one or more global identifiers for a resource referenced from a map. See The keys attribute for details on how to use the keys attribute. NMTOKEN #IMPLIED No
keyref Keyref provides a redirectable reference based on a key defined within a map. See The keyref attribute for information on using this attribute. CDATA #IMPLIED No
query This attribute is deprecated. It may be removed in the future. CDATA #IMPLIED No
type Describes the target of a reference. See The type attribute for detailed information on supported values and processing implications. CDATA #IMPLIED No
processing-role Describes the processing role of the referenced topic. The default for this attribute on this element is "resource-only". If the value is not specified locally, but is specified on an ancestor, the value will cascade from the closest ancestor.
Normal topic that is a readable part of the information.
The topic is used as a resource for processing purposes, but is not a readable unit of information on its own. This topic should not be included in a rendered table of contents, and the topic should not be rendered on its own.
See Using the -dita-use-conref-target value for more information.
(normal | resource-only | -dita-use-​conref-​target) resource-only No
scope The scope attribute identifies the closeness of the relationship between the current document and the target resource. See The scope attribute for more information on values. (local | peer | external | -dita-use-​conref-​target) #IMPLIED No
format The format attribute identifies the format of the resource being referenced. See The format attribute for details on supported values. CDATA #IMPLIED No
toc Specifies whether a topic appears in the table of contents (toc); on this element the default is no. This value defaults to no for elements such as reltable, which typically cannot appear in the toc, and for elements such as glossref that generally are not desired in the toc. (yes | no | -dita-use-​conref-​target) "no" No
univ-atts attribute group (includes select-atts, id-atts, and localization-atts groups) A set of related attributes, described in univ-atts attribute group      
global-atts attribute group (xtrf, xtrc) A set of related attributes, described in global-atts attribute group      
class, outputclass Common attributes described in Other common DITA attributes      

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